Join Now!      Login

Whole Person Wellness Program Wellness Model
Skip Navigation Links
Health Centers
Key Services
Medicial Mistakes?
How many people each year suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death after a hospital visit?
from 46,000 to 78,000
from 78,000 to 132,000
from 132,000 to 210,000
from 210,000 to 440,000


 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

3.Encyclopedias of Alternative Medicine
While the Office for Alternative Medicine (OAM) lists seven broad categories of complementary and alternative medical practices, they also recognize 12 conceptually independent health care systems developed worldwide, falling into at least 27 major categories of practice, which involve over 200 methods. They divide their list yet another way into "major health care systems," such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and "modern systems," including chiropractic and homeopathy. The OAM continues to refine its classification of the systems of alternative medicine (Office of Alternative Medicine Clearing House, 1997).

Helping consumers and professionals alike classify our options is a popular topic in the literature. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide (1995), provides a 1000-page volume, segmenting by both 43 types of therapies, as well as by health conditions to be treated. Similarly, Time Life, in its The Alternative Advisor (1997), offers explanations of 24 different alternative treatments. In Dr. Rosenfeld's Guide to Alternative Medicine, Isadore Rosenfeld (1996) provides the current medical justification of 26 alternative therapies. It Works For Me: Celebrity Stories of Alternative Health by Heidi Banks (1996) lets celebrities offer their personal case histories, with 18 different therapies.

There are more than 100 reported varieties of massage techniques alone. How can the consumer decide which one to use? In the encyclopedia-genre of literature, we spotted anywhere from 18 to 43 types of therapies from which the consumer could chose, not including the different methods used within each of those categories. While various encyclopedia-type works attempt to help organize information for the consumer, one may often be left wondering how to steer methodically toward the most suitable therapy.

Means of Addressing Consumer Concerns in Adapting Alternative Medicine Why is there still a disproportionately small percentage of consumers able to access the proliferating options available to them in alternative medicine? Examining the body of consumer literature may provide part of the answer. There appears to be lack of a unified message. While most books are consistent in providing a positive view of the genre of alternative medicine, there is still a great deal of diversity regarding "What is alternative medicine?" On the one hand, encyclopedias like The Alternative Medicine Advisor provide a detailed list of methodologies that risk confusing the uninitiated. On the other hand, individual healer-spokespeople risk promoting a single methodology as superior to other systems or methods of practice.

In order to insure effective growth of the alternative medicine industry in the U.S., the consumer needs to gain more confidence with an increasing knowledge of the genre itself. Consumers require a clear contextual framework to understand this new world of options available to them. The AJCM look forward to continuing to add to this body of knowledge, and to otherwise participating in further efforts at clarifying and implementing alternative medicine.

1.Baldwin, Fred. D. and Suzanne Mclnerney. Infomedicine: A Consumer's Guide to the Latest Medical Research. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1996.

2.Banks, Heidi. It Works for me! Celebrity Stories of Alternative Healing. Boston: Journey Editions, 1996.

   CONTINUED      Previous   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, Transcending, 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