By Dr. Mercola
Alternative medicine is no longer so "alternative" for health care workers, the majority of whom use a variety of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for themselves.
In fact, 76 percent of health care workers use CAM, compared to 63 percent of the general population, according to research in the journal
Health Services Research. Even more revealing, health care providers, including doctors and nurses, were more than twice as likely to have used practitioner-based CAM, and nearly three times as likely to use self-treatment with CAM, during the prior year than support workers.
It seems health care workers are poignantly aware of many of the pitfalls of modern medicine and as such are embracing more holistic modalities. As psychiatrist Joya Lynn-Schoen, M.D., who practices alternative medicine, told Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health:
"As insiders, health care workers understand what's missing in our medical system. They're more educated than others about orthodox and alternative medicine … Mainstream medicine will say, 'Here's a pill' or 'Have an operation" or 'There's nothing wrong with you. You're just tired.'"
With holistic therapies, attention is directed to finding the rootcause of disease so you can heal on a deep, instead of surface, level. In simpler terms, holistic medicine focuses on health, whereas conventional medicine focuses on disease.
Holistic Medicine Increasing in Popularity
The trend of CAM use among health care workers is mirrored by that of the general population. Increasing numbers of people are looking for treatments that fall outside of the realm of conventional medical care, often because conventional medicine has failed them or even made their conditions worse.
In 2007, more than 38 percent of U.S. adults used complementary and alternative medicine, along with 12 percent of children -- a rate that's been increasing since 2002. This amounts to 4 in 10 adults, and 1 in 9 children, embracing CAM. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, while CAM is used by people of all backgrounds, use is greatest among women and those with higher levels of education and income
CAM practices are very diverse and include, but are not limited to:
|Nutritional medicine||Holistic Nutritionist|
|Herbalism, homeopathy, and nutritional-based therapies||Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture|
|Ayurveda||Meditation and hypnosis|
Are You Fed Up with Prescription Drugs and Surgery?
Taking medications and having surgery is clearly not the route to optimal health that the modern medical system would have you believe it is. Dr. Null and colleagues published an oft-cited report in 2003 about the death toll caused by drugs and conventional medical treatments, which included the following statistics.
- Adverse drug reactions -- 106,000 deaths/year
- Medical errors -- 98,000 deaths/year
- Unnecessary procedures -- 37,136 deaths/year
- Surgery -- 32,000 deaths/year
Additionally, a June 2010 report in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, which analyzed 62 million death certificates from 1979 to 2006 (the most recent year available), found that almost a quarter-million of those deaths were coded as having occurred in a hospital setting due to medication errors. In an AMA article discussing the study, one co-author was quoted as stating that "medication errors are the second-leading cause of accidental death, and the only kind of accidental death that is increasing over time."
An estimated 450,000 preventable medication-related adverse events occur in the U.S. every year, and adverse drug reactions cause injuries or death in 1 of 5 hospital patients. The costs of adverse drug reactions to society are more than $136 billion annually -- greater than the total cost of cardiovascular or diabetic care.
Further, an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010 found that 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care(some repeatedly) and over 63 percent of the injuries could have been prevented. In nearly 2.5 percent of these cases, the problems caused or contributed to a person's death. In another 3 percent, patients suffered from permanent injury, while over 8 percent experienced life-threatening issues, such as severe bleeding during surgery.
In all there were over 25 injuries per 100 admissions! In other words you have a one in four chance of getting injured if you are admitted to the hospital, not very good odds by any stretch. So it is easy to understand why some people are abandoning conventional medicine like rats leaving a sinking ship! Alternative medicine typically offers a more positive treatment experience and typically produces better results, and Americans are also increasingly distrustful of prescription medicines, and rightfully so!
Holistic Medicine Helps You Take Control of Your Health
The more you take responsibility for your own health -- in the form of nurturing your body to prevent disease -- the less you need to rely on the "disease care" that passes for health care in the United States.
If you carefully follow some basic health principles -- simple things like exercising, eating whole foods, sleeping enough, getting sun exposure, reducing stress in your life, and nurturing personal relationships -- you will drastically reduce your need for conventional medical care, which in and of itself will reduce your chances of suffering ill side effects.
But in the event you do need medical care, seek a health care practitioner who will help you move toward complete wellness by helping you discover and understand the hidden causes of your health challenges ... and create a customized and comprehensive -- i.e. holistic-- treatment plan for you. You and your family CAN take control of your health, and you can typically do so using lifestyle choices and other natural, holistic strategies.