Americans Use Less Alternative Medicine Than Other Countries
World-wide the amount of people who use some form of complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, is estimated to be 65% to 80%. This translates roughly into 3 billion individuals who use systems of medicine other than the model we are most familiar with here in the United States. In our country the use of alternative medicine is estimated to be about 36%. The typical American person will use these therapies in addition to our westernized system of medicine.
To change the balance of how much CAM and regular medicine we have to change certain aspects of both our culture and system of care. In the past our doctors were trained around treating symptoms and disease in a reactionary model. Certain conditions indicated specific intervention. Then our doctors started to focus more preventative care. This was reinforced by research that showed that perhaps we could take a slightly longer view on medical care. At this point there was still a large reliance on intervention with medicines or procedures.
Western Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine
This system of medicine has made some wonderful strides. During the process it evolved into an institution where often the most humble and human qualities were ignored. This is in contrast to many alternative systems of medicine. Much of the philosophy behind these systems strive to seek a balance in all of life. Physical, mental, and spiritual factors must be addressed to have complete wellness in life.
Alternative Medicine Acceptance Grows
Our growth as a society has begun to really change both individual acceptance of alternative medicine and that of the medical community. Approximately one-third of all American schools of medicine offer classes in alternative medicine. Some of the schools that are included in this list are Harvard, Yale, John’s Hopkins, and Georgetown University.
This new found acceptance has spread to encourage some alternative medicine coverage by insurance companies. A recent comment from insurance carrier Mutual of Omaha said that it saves about $6.50 in covering alternative medicine.
While alternative medicine in our society is less prolific than in other parts of the world it is growing. Support for this has come from a new trend being considered by our institutions that are charged with overseeing and paying for medical care. This consideration is called “Evidence Based Medicine”. Simply if the research shows that something works, use it. This is true even if it may not come from your tool chest. With continued research into the efficacy of alternative medicine the percent of Americans that use it will grow quickly.