Friday, March 02, 2007

Alternatives To Traditional Medicine

Alternatives To Traditional Medicine

Dear Savvy Senior:

My wife recently battled breast cancer and the doctors have her on Tamoxifen to help prevent any recurrence. She’s taking the medicine but lately she has been exploring a host of what I consider to be offbeat therapies that one of her friends (also a cancer survivor) recommended.

All of this alternative health stuff seems a little strange for a traditionalist like me. Maybe I’m just too old-fashioned, but I was wondering if you know of any place I can turn to learn more.

Conventional Codger

Dear Conventional:

Don’t be too quick to dismiss alternative medicines, some of which have been practiced for thousands of years in many cultures. In fact, it’s estimated that in the United States today, between 36 and 62 percent of adults are using some form of complementary or alternative medicine.

Alternative health

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a varied assortment of medical practices and products that are not considered conventional medicine. In other words, they don’t teach this stuff in medical schools. Some are strictly alternative, which means they are practiced in place of conventional medicine, but others are complementary, meaning they are practiced in addition to traditional therapies and treatments.

The list of complementary and alternative medicines is long, and includes things like acupuncture, chiropractic care, hypnosis, massage, herbs and vitamins, and yoga, just to name a few. It also includes such techniques as biofeedback and energy healing. Even prayer is considered a form of alternative and complementary medicine.