An increasing number of prestigious medical schools are teaching integrative practices which include CAM, reports the Chicago Tribune. Since 1999, the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, a group that includes Duke University, Harvard and Northwestern, has grown from 8 to 43 members.
"With more traditional medical schools focusing on health care that addresses the mental, emotional and physical aspects of healing," says the Tribune, "the use of CAM by the nation's future physicians is expected to grow."
Almost 40 percent of Americans use alternatives to mainstream medicine, called complimentary and alternative medicine, or CAM, according to a recent survey of 32,000 Americans. Now their doctors appear to be following suit.
Faced with soaring medical costs, many patients and experts also are looking for more cost-effective treatments of intractable diseases.
"Studies show that $2.5 trillion is being spent in a system that is not improving the overall health of our citizens," according to the Institute of Medicine, reports the Tribune. "Incidents of chronic disease are on a sharp rise and by 2023 will cost our nation $4.3 trillion."
What does this mean for Wellness Professionals?
Learn the basics of alternative medicine, which includes four categories:
Find out which of these is covered by your current insurance policy.
- Natural products (vitamins and supplements)
- Energy medicine (acupuncture)
- Manipulative practices (chiropractic work)
- Mind-body medicine (meditation or deep breathing)
You can also determine employee interest in these topics, and schedule workplace seminars on alternative and integrative medicine. You may want to include alternative practitioners in health fairs too.
Of course, some alternative treatments and practitioners are better than others--and some products sold as vitamins and supplements haven't been proven effective. For solid evidence-based discussions of CAM, check out the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.