Join Now!      Login

Whole Person Wellness Program
 
healthy.net Wellness Model
Skip Navigation Links
 
 
FREE NEWSLETTER
   
   
   
 
Health Centers
Key Services
 
Walking?
Which of the following in NOT a direct benefit of a regular walking regimen?
Reduce Stress
Improved immune function
Achieving ideal weight.
Improved sugar metabolism

 
 

 Consumer Literature on Alternative Medicine: - Addressing Consumer Confusion 
 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Chinese Medicine News Desk by . View all columns in series
Consumer futurist Faith Popcorn in her 1991 book, The Popcorn Report, describes a trend of "Staying Alive," which predicts that Americans will continue in the direction of seeking self-healing and self-care. According to Popcorn, "Medical knowledge and alternatives will cross cultures in a way we have never seen before...[moving] to the mainstream of medicine, ... [being] incorporated into traditional treatments, or stand[ing] on their own as preferred courses of action." (Popcorn, 1991)

Over the past 25 years, The American Journal of Chinese Medicine has witnessed and participated in the dramatic rise in the use of alternative medicine in the U.S. The Journal looks forward to helping this movement attain the next level, providing the communication needed to increase understanding and acceptance among medical practitioners and researchers, and to instigate increased education of consumers. It is such communication that will enable the true integration of alternative medicine into the daily lives of health practitioners, and, ultimately, consumers.

In order for the alternative medicine community to realize the "future" of alternative medicine, as Faith Popcorn and others so optimistically foresee it, we must start by taking stock of this industry, where it has been, where it is today, and where it is going. Borrowing a technique used from the consumer products industry, we might start by creating a kind of industry map from a consumer perspective. To do this, we must first understand:

  • The continued growth potential for alternative medicine in the U.S.
  • How consumers perceive alternative medicine today
  • Factors influencing these perceptions
  • Means of addressing their major concerns in adapting alternative medicine
  • Let us examine each factor in turn.
  • The Continued Growth Potential for Alternative Medicine in the U.S.

    Advocates of alternative medicine can celebrate the fact that 34% of the U.S. population uses some form of alternative medicine, and that interest and demand continue to climb (Eisssenberg et al., 1993)

    In the U.S., this $50 billion dollar alternative medicine industry continues to strive for further growth (The New York Times, 1996): Over 50% of the top 250 pharmaceutical companies are currently conducting research to develop new active materials from plants (Cosmetics-and-Toiletries, 1994) Retailers such as Thrifty PayLess have worked to capitalize on trends in alternative medicine by devoting more space to herbal remedies and homeopathic products (Chain-Drug-Review, 1994) From 1992-1993, the number of HMOs offering chiropractic coverage rose to almost 50% from about 25%, according to the Group Health Association of America. (Caraton, 1995) Over 50% of conventional physicians use or refer patients for complementary and alternative medical treatments in the U.S. (Office of Alternative Medicine, 1996) Despite these benchmarks, the potential for growth is still great. Indeed, according to the World Health Organization, 65-80% of the world's population relies on traditional medicine as its primary form of medicine (Complementary Alternative Medicine at the NIH, 1997). The U.S. still has a long way to go in realizing the value associated with the increased use of alternative medicine.

    How Consumers Perceive Alternative Medicine Today
    While interest is strong, consumers have not responded fully to the vast array of products and services currently on the market. This puzzle was aptly captured in a feature article in Time Magazine on the topic in May, 1997: "No matter how many times consumers have been shown this shopping list of cures before...only a comparatively small percentage of them have expressed any interest." (Kluger, 1997).

  •    CONTINUED    1  2  3  4  Next   
     Comments Add your comment 

     About The Author
    Laurel Skurko Kao is Managing Director of Linc International, founded in 1992. Ms. Kao has an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University...moreLaurel Kao
     
     From Our Friends
     
     
     
    Popular & Related Products
     
    Popular & Featured Events
    2019 National Wellness Conference
         October 1-3, 2019
         Kissimmee, FL USA
     
    Additional Calendar Links
     
    Dimensions of Wellness
    Wellness, Eating, dimension!

    Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Wellness Inventory       Wellness Center
    Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
    Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us
    Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
    Are you ready to embark on a personal wellness journey with our whole person approach?
    Learn More/Subscribe
    Are you looking to create or enhance a culture of wellness in your organization?
    Learn More
    Do you want to become a wellness coach?
    Learn More
    Free Webinar