Sixty-nine percent of Americans recently surveyed reported having used alternative medicine during the past year. Dr. Wes Alles, of Stanford University, California, presented his group's findings at the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Conference held last week at Stanford.
In a nationwide, random telephone survey of 1,000 men and women over the age of 18, 18% of respondents said that they had used massage therapy, 17% had used chiropractic therapy and 14% had used folk medicine during the past year. In addition, 36% had self-administered vitamin therapy and more than 30% had used herbal medicine.
What we see from this current survey and many other indicators is that people generally want to take control of their own health, using those services they find most effective. This places responsibility on both traditional care providers and health educators to ensure that responsible information and advice are available to patients.
COMMENT: I firmly believe people are not stupid. They appreciate having traditional medicine available for acute emergencies, but they intuitively understand that using chemicals (drugs) and surgery for a chronic disease is generally a prescription for disaster. This survey was done by traditional medicine physicians who are relatively clueless as to what types of natural medicine strategies are available. They did not ask about the most important type of treatment which is modification of one’s diet with someone who understands nutrition. That is NOT a dietician. My experience suggests that certified clinical nutritionists (CCN for short) provide the best approach to diet counseling.