Alternative Medicine PDF – Perceptions Uses and Benefits and Clinical Implications

Alternative Medicine PDF



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Preface

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) today attracts significant attention through online health and consumer forums, professional CAM-practitioner associations and conferences, the recent growth in integrative biomedicine, and through the influence of advertisements and documentary presentations in mass media. A majority or large minority of consumers in developed countries regularly resort to professional CAM for supportive treatment for sickness in the form of chiropractic, osteopathic, prescribed dietary changes, acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, naturopathy and herbal medicine, and also use numerous associated lifestyle practices such as vegetarianism, nutritional supplementation, yoga and tai chi for selftreatment and to maintain general wellbeing. Many leading health insurance funds now provide generous rebates against out-of-pocket fees paid by consumers for private-sector CAM consultations. Furthermore, populations of developing countries continue to depend heavily on traditional herbal medicine and psycho-spiritual practices for their healing, on account of pharmaceutical treatments being often unaffordable or unavailable to them.
Despite CAM’s prevalence, however, it continues to remain at the periphery of developed health systems, and usually attracts little government support and few subsidies. CAM is poorly defined in policy statements in many countries, although the NCCAM in USA and NHS in England are exceptions. Biomedical interests frequently cite a lack of scientific research evidence demonstrating CAM effectiveness as a primary reason for its general absence from policy and funding domains.
Nevertheless, contemporary research in CAM now represents an extremely broad and rapidly expanding field, with studies ranging from random controlled trials and demographic consumer studies, to anthropological representations of “traditional medicine” and explanations of the distinctive holistic CAM healing paradigms. This volume provides a helpful synthesis of recent research by diverse international contributors from several sub-fields of the health and research endeavor.
Chapters of the book include literature reviews (such as study findings about the benefits of CAM for elderly persons and of laughter therapy, from the USA, and herbal treatments for pain, in Mauritius), and original studies (poor CAM consumers in Australia, the location of naturopaths’ practice in Canada, and the use of mindfulness meditation among nursing students in Scotland). Study findings presented here are enjoyable in their diversity, and add to contemporary literature both by presenting common perceptions about CAM, by engaging in discussion of its prevalence and popularity in diverse contexts, and the contentious topic of placebo effect and questions as to how to prove effectiveness for alternative healing methods, further reviewing some potential clinical benefits.


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