Well­ness Arti­cles

Alter­na­tive Health­care

In the Novem­ber 11th, 1998 issue of the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion, (JAMA), David Eisen­berg, M.D. pub­lished his long awaited fol­low up study on the use of “Alter­na­tive Med­i­cine” in the United States. Sev­eral years ear­lier, Dr. Eisen­berg pub­lished his ini­tial study that rocked the med­ical com­mu­nity with his find­ings of how many peo­ple were actu­ally going to what he termed “Alter­na­tive Providers”.

From inside the med­ical pro­fes­sion, any other health care pro­fes­sion was known as an alter­na­tive. How­ever, the num­bers from the Eisen­berg study quickly showed that chi­ro­prac­tic and other non-​medical forms of health care are not “alter­na­tive” in the public’s eye.

This new study, con­ducted in 1997, illus­trated some astound­ing facts and figures.

  • Amer­i­cans spent $27 bil­lion out-​of-​pocket for alter­na­tive ther­a­pies in 1997.
  • Four out of 10 peo­ple used alter­na­tive health­care in 1997.
  • Vis­its to alter­na­tive health care providers (mostly chi­ro­prac­tors) increased by almost 50% from 1990.
  • The num­ber of vis­its to alter­na­tive health care providers (629 mil­lion) exceeded vis­its to med­ical providers (only 386 mil­lion) vis­its in 1997 alone.
  • Less than 40% of patients tell their med­ical doc­tors that they seek alter­na­tive therapies.

Researchers also found that 42% of the alter­na­tive care was for exist­ing ill­ness while 58% was used for pre­ven­tion and well­ness. These num­bers look good for the chi­ro­prac­tic pro­fes­sion, which has built its health care deliv­ery future on well­ness. “Many peo­ple ini­tially enter the chiropractor’s office for a health prob­lem. But many then stay there for the well­ness ben­e­fits chi­ro­prac­tic has to offer”, says Robert Braile, D.C. Pres­i­dent of the Inter­na­tional Chi­ro­prac­tor Association.

Study shows more peo­ple using “alter­na­tive” health care.

Accord­ing to an arti­cle in the May 20 issue of The Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion (JAMA), more peo­ple are turn­ing toward what JAMA terms “Alter­na­tive Med­i­cine”. Tra­di­tion­ally, chi­ro­prac­tors do not use the term “Alter­na­tive Med­i­cine” when refer­ring to the pro­fes­sion of chi­ro­prac­tic, since chi­ro­prac­tic is a drug­less nat­ural approach to health. But it is inter­est­ing to note how the med­ical pro­fes­sion views chi­ro­prac­tic and other health approaches they term “alternative”.

The arti­cle says, “Research both in the United States and abroad sug­gests that sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of peo­ple are involved with var­i­ous forms of alter­na­tive med­i­cine. How­ever, the rea­sons for such use are, at present, poorly under­stood. Along with being more edu­cated and report­ing poorer health sta­tus, the major­ity of alter­na­tive med­i­cine users appear to be doing so not so much as a result of being dis­sat­is­fied with con­ven­tional med­i­cine but largely because they find these health care alter­na­tives to be more con­gru­ent with their own val­ues, beliefs, and philo­soph­i­cal ori­en­ta­tions toward health and life.” Accord­ing to John A. Astin, Ph.D., a researcher at Stan­ford University’s School of Med­i­cine in Palo Alto, Cal­i­for­nia who sur­veyed 1,035 ran­domly selected peo­ple, “Alter­na­tive med­i­cine users tend to hold a philo­soph­i­cal ori­en­ta­tion toward health that can be described as holis­tic and are more likely to have had some type of trans­for­ma­tional expe­ri­ence that changed their world view in a sig­nif­i­cant way.”

Ran­dom Article

The above head­line comes from the May 17, 2007 issue of Med­scape and is the result of a study pub­lished in the May 16,

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