Complementary and Alternative Medicine as It Applies Today

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With alternative, natural treatments used throughout history, and still used in many cultures today, the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are present, and utilization of such treatments is on the rise in today’s society. Educators have already begun to expand curricula to include education on such treatments, and some treatments, although the number is still very limited, are covered at least in part, by health insurance.

I propose we reexamine the roles of everyone involved in the application of healthcare and work towards the common goal of providing the treatment preferred by the patient in a reasonably affordable and accessible way. In the meantime, there are things that can be done without the assistance of a medical professional to improve health and wellness. One of the things everyone can do on a daily basis to improve physical and mental health, for example, would be changing the way food it looked. What it does, and can do, for overall health is an excellent first step to getting healthier.

So much of what is eaten now is processed and preserved, with the nutritional value is close to nothing. Adopting an exercise routine that fits a person’s individual physical abilities is also important, but when it comes down to medical intervention and treatment, patients should have multiple safe, proven, affordable options available, not just a dependency on pharmaceuticals and conventional medicine. Any type of lifestyle change should be discussed with a physician to be sure it safe to undertake depending on an individual’s health.

It is always important to speak with a physician about treatment. If a person is considering trying alternative medicine, they should definitely discuss it with their physician. Hopefully the physician will be willing to work with that person on their treatment choices and be educated enough to help find the treatment right for them. The goal of medical practice is to maintain and improve health, and the goal of medical education is to train practitioners for the benefit of patients.

To better meet the needs and expectations of patients, the concept of health care has evolved in recent years to include the concepts of physical health and emotional health, as well as spiritual health. (Park, 2002) The possibility of CAM practitioners becoming involved in educating physician and patients about CAM is not an unheard of idea. Holding a monthly workshop highlighting what CAM is and resources to further educate one’s self about complementary and alternative medicine could help get the word out about the benefits of these therapies.

Discussing CAM during meetings at wellness centers is another idea. Just having some kind of literature available in a physician’s offices could go a long way towards letting people know there are alternatives to conventional medicine, while giving them resources to follow up on themselves if they are interested. Physicians and office staff being at least semi-knowledgeable about CAM therapies can greatly increase awareness. On that not, just finding a practitioner that has experienced and well trained staff is beneficial to everyone.

Successful clinical practice involves not only skilled interpretation and application of medicine but also the ability to care about and care for individual patients as unique, total people in social and cultural contexts. Patient education and the incorporation of the patient’s values and preferences into medical decisions are all part of the work. Medical school curricula now present the practice of medicine as a complex activity drawing on emotional and interpersonal processes which require a broad range of knowledge bases, including cultural, economic, and ethical.

The views expressed are fundamental to the integrative medicine movement, and are widely prevalent in CAM, as well as conventional medicine, communities. It serves no purpose to overlook this commonality. Instead, we should develop educational plans in which the contributions of each group are recognized and combined to further the quality of care given. Ideally, this collaborative effort would include CAM practitioners familiar with patient- centered medicine and public health as well as conventional medical practitioners aware of what can be learned from healing traditions.

Scientific investigation into the relevance and benefits of CAM can only help in this process. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), the Federal Government’s leading agency for scientific research on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicines (NIH, 2012) mission is to define, through scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and alternative medicine interventions and their roles in improving health and health care.

As more proven evidence becomes available, the possibility of CAM therapies being covered by health insurance, as that is part of the criteria required for coverage becomes greater. Private health insurance plans may offer coverage of certain complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies; however, coverage of CAM therapies is relatively limited compared with coverage of conventional medicinal therapies. One reason for this is the lack of scientific evidence regarding the cost-effectiveness of CAM therapies.

As patient interest in complementary and alternative medicine grows, more insurance companies may consider offering coverage of CAM therapies shown to be safe and effective. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), adults in the United States spent an estimated $33. 9 billion out-of-pocket on complementary and alternative medicine treatments during a 12 month period. Of the $33. 9 billion, adults spent an estimated $22. 0 billion on self-care costs (i. e. , CAM products, classes, and materials), while they spent the remaining $11. 9 billion on visits to complementary and alternative medicine practitioners.

(NIH, 2012) Out-of-pocket expenditures on CAM treatments accounted for approximately 1. 5 percent of total health care expenditures and 11. 2 percent of the total out-of-pocket health care expenditures in the United States. (NIH, 2012) Making the decision for ourselves as to how we want to treat our ailments should not be this expensive to the consumer. Insurance companies may find that offering better coverage’s for CAM therapies in the future may be beneficial to business. If people are already willing to pay the mentioned amounts out-of-pocket, it won’t be long before some may decide to break from their insurance coverage’s all together.

Also, considering the amount of people using CAM therapies, it would probably be of the insurance companies benefit to reevaluate their position on coverage. Around 38 percent of adults aged 18 years and older and nearly 12 percent of children under the age of 18 in the U. S. use some form of CAM therapy, according to a 2007 nationwide survey. The survey was conducted as part of the National Health Interview Survey, an annual study in which tens of thousands of Americans are interviewed about their health and illness-related experiences.

The survey included questions about 36 types of CAM therapies commonly used in the U. S. , 10 types of provider-based therapies, such as acupuncture and chiropractic, and 26 other therapies, such as herbal supplements and meditation. The 2007 survey results are based on data from more than 23,300 interviews with adults and more than 9,400 interviews with adults on behalf a child. (Natural Standard, 2008) “The 2007 NHIS provides the most current, comprehensive, and reliable source of information on Americans’ use of CAM,” said Josephine P. Briggs, M. D. , director of NCCAM.

“These statistics confirm that CAM practices are a frequently used component of Americans’ healthcare regimens and reinforce the need for rigorous research to study the safety and effectiveness of these therapies. The data also point out the need for patients and healthcare providers to openly discuss CAM use to ensure safe and coordinated care. ” (NIH,NCCAM, 2008) The most commonly used CAM therapies among U. S. adults were: non-vitamin, non-mineral, natural products at 17. 7 percent, deep breathing exercises at 12. 7 percent, meditation at 9. 4 percent, chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation at 8.

6 percent, massage at 8. 3 percent, and yoga at 6. 1 percent. (Natural Standard, 2008) Adults used CAM most often to treat pain, including back pain, neck pain, joint pain or other joint conditions, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Overall, CAM use among children is nearly 12 percent, or about one in nine children. According to the report, children are five times more likely to use CAM if a parent or other relative uses CAM. The most commonly used CAM therapies among children were; non-vitamin, non-mineral, natural products at 3. 9 percent, chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation at 2.

8 percent, deep breathing exercises at 2. 2 percent, and yoga at 2. 1 percent. (Natural Standard, 2008) “The survey results provide information on trends and a rich set of data for investigating who in America is using CAM, the practices they use, and why,” said Richard L. Nahin, Ph. D. , MPH, acting director of NCCAM’s Division of Extramural Research and co-author of the National Health Statistics Report. “Future analyses of these data may help explain some of the observed variation in the use of individual CAM therapies and provide greater insights into CAM use patterns among Americans.

” (NIH,NCCAM, 2008) All in all, health care of any kind needs to be an affordable, collaborative effort, with all involved taking a responsible position aimed toward the betterment of the human condition. There should not be any reason why anyone in this country should be without medical treatment, whether they chose conventional medicine, alternative medicine, or any other treatment of their choosing, due to prohibitive cost, nor should anyone ever feel like they cannot discuss alternative medical options with their physicians for fear of having “traditional” medical views forced upon them. References BMC.

(n. d. ). Complementary and alternative medicine . Retrieved from http://www. biomedcentral. com/bmccomplementalternmed Dalzell, M. D. (1999, April). Hmos and alternative medicine. Retrieved from http://www. managedcaremag. com/archives/9904/9904. alternative. html The Mayo Clinic. (2011, October 20). Complementary and alternative medicine . Retrieved from http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/alternative-medicine/PN00001 Natural Standard. (2008). New cam statistics released. Retrieved from http://www. naturalstandard. com/news/news200812023. asp NIH.

(2012, January 13). About nccam. Retrieved from http://nccam.nih. gov/about NIH. (2012, January 11). Paying for cam treatment. Retrieved from http://nccahttp://nccam. nih. gov/health/financial NIH. (n. d. ). What is complementary and alternative medicine?. Retrieved from http://nccam. nih. gov/health/whatiscam NIH,NCCAM. (2008, December 10). According to a new government survey, 38 percent of adults and 12 percent of children use complementary and alternative medicine. Retrieved from http://nccam. nih. gov/news/2008/121008. htm NIH,NCCAM. (2012, April 24). The use of complementary and alternative medicine in the united states: Cost data.

Retrieved from http://nccam.nih. gov/news/camstats/costs/costdatafs. htm Park, C. M. (n. d. ). Diversity, the individual, and proof of efficacy: Complementary and alternative medicine in medical education. (2002). American Journal of Public Health. , 92(10), 1568-1572. Retrieved from http://ehis. ebscohost. com. lib. kaplan. edu/eds/detail? vid=2&[email protected]&hid=17&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU Dear Congressman So- and So, In recent years there has been a rise in public interest and awareness regarding complementary and alternative medicine, yet physicians seem to be none the wiser about the subject.

Do you not think if a patient wishes to explore multiple treatment options for an ailment they should be able to ask a healthcare professional for information on said options? Should it not be our right, not only as the patient but also as consumers, to have our questions answered in a professional and knowledgeable way? The potential benefits of complementary and alternative medicine have been proven and documented over the course of human existence. One of our most valuable antibiotics, Penicillin, was being used in its true form, mold, for many, many years to treat infections before being recognized for what it actually was and modernized.

With 38 percent of adults and nearly 12 percent of children in the U. S. using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, and spending $33. 9 billion out of pocket on said therapies in 2007, I am suggesting that educators, physicians, and insurance companies consider that this may be a prevalent area of healthcare that needs to be examined and educated upon, as to be able to give patients in our country the best healthcare possible, regardless of the monetary prospectus. Sincerely, Stephanie Batton As a writer, I learned the same thing I did at the end of my Comp 1 class, I do not enjoy writing.

As a thinker, I believe I have some strong ideas and could possible get action to be taken of them, if I can express my ideas adequately. What I learned about the writing process is that it can be long and frustrating. I prefer to get it all written and do revisions and get feedback quickly. Taking 9 weeks to write a paper has been arduous for me at best. What I took from the feedback of my peers was that I needed to include more information in my paper. There were several comments on the structure of my paper as well. I tried to make it “flow” better between paragraphs, which was also another frequent comment made.

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