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| ||From Alternative Medicine a Definitive Guide to the Wellness Inventory - An Interview with Pioneering Entrepreneur Jim Strohecker||
Strohecker: When we started working on the book in 1991, the
public as a whole was still very skeptical of “alternative medicine”, the
medical establishment was overly hostile and actively targeting “alternative”
practitioners, and the media tended to belittle, ridicule, and marginalize
anything outside of mainstream medicine. In short, it was a very challenging
time and environment for those practitioners who had the courage to follow their
convictions as to what constituted “best practices”.
Our intent in creating the book was fourfold: to
define, clarify, and legitimize alternative medicine by synthesizing, in one
volume, knowledge from nearly 400 experts, dozens of professional associations,
and the leading available research; to provide consumers with direct access to
this knowledge as well as referral to practitioners; to create a bridge for
health professionals to be introduced to the field; and to provide a
substantive resource for policy makers who could no longer dismiss alternative
medicine as a fringe phenomenon.
Nearly 400 practitioners and organizations contributed
creation of the book was a passionate, collaborative journey with the
participating health practitioners and associations, to promote medical freedom
and to give the various systems of medicine and modalities comprising
alternative medicine a seat at the healthcare table. Practitioners were
grateful and happy to participate in a project that sought to give them a voice
in a potentially historic project. And, it was an adventure with plenty of
drama with many participating practitioners being harassed by their state
medical boards and even losing their licenses during the book’s creation. Some
doctors chose to speak off the record as they didn’t want to be on the radar
screen of the FDA or state medical boards.
Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide
600,000 copies of the 1100 page book sold
"It was an adventure with plenty of drama
with many participating practitioners being
harassed by their state medical boards and
even losing their licenses during
the book’s creation."
The most famous raid, the FDA raid of Dr.
Jonathan Wright’s clinic in Kent, Washington, on May 6, 1992, when FDA agents
and 10 police officers, broke down the clinic’s door and entered with
flak jackets and guns drawn, to the horror of the staff and patients, futher
galvanized our mission. The opening chapter, “Medical Freeom and the Politics
of Health Care” profiled Dr. Wright’s case, and other abuses by the FDA, and
ended with an open letter to President Clinton and the First Lady about
including forms of effective, low-cost alternative medicine and promoting
medical freedom in their health reform package.
By the time the book was completed it had grown
to nearly 1100 pages, and with the challenges of its’ interactive layout, it
was clear that it wouldn’t possible to go through a conventional publisher, so
created our own publishing company, Future Medicine Publishing. The last major
hurdle was creating the book’s title. This was my first experience with the
challenges of attempting to name this great collection of traditional systems
of medicine and therapies and self-care practices, both ancient and modern.
After considering Holistic Medicine, Complementary Medicine (this term was
really only being used in the UK in the early 1990s), and other names, we chose
“Alternative Medicine”, as is the title best represented its relation to
prevailing mainstream medicine, and how to best position it with the public –
as an alternative. The Office of Alternative Medicine had also named its first
director the previous year.