More and more healthcare workers are embracing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
as the surge of holistic practices makes it not so “alternative” anymore. In fact, research described in the journal Health Services Research
shows that 76 percent of healthcare workers opt for holistic modalities, compared to only 63 percent in the general population.
Basically, your doctor is more aware of holistic practices than YOU are. Why is that?Why the switch?
Health care workers are all too aware of the pitfalls of conventional medicine. According to research, doctors and nurses are more than two times more likely to turn to practitioner-based CAM, and as much as three times as likely to treat themselves with CAM.
According to one alternative medicine practitioner, psychiatrist Joya Lynn-Schoen, M.D., "As insiders, healthcare 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 alternative medicine, the focus is on finding the core cause of disease, which enables more than surface healing. Holistic medicine goes deeper and centers on health
, whereas mainstream medicine is all about disease
Alternative medicine increasing in popularity.
Because conventional medicine has failed so many in the general population, increasing numbers are searching for treatments outside the realm of mainstream medical care. This trend is mirrored among health care workers as well.
In 2007, more than 38 percent of American adults opted for complementary and alternative practices and the rate has been increasing since 2002. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine tells us that women and those with higher levels of income and education are more likely to use CAM, though overall it is used by people with diverse backgrounds.
These practices include nutritional medicine, naturopathy, energy medicine, chiropractic, herbalism, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
, meditation, and hypnosis.
While some will argue that the American medical system is the finest in the world, the numbers show a sad success rate when it comes to treating and preventing chronic disease. Research published in Health Affairs showed that the U.S. ranks only 48th for life expectancy globally. This is particularly alarming when you consider the ranking was fifth place as recent as 1950. Life expectancy is plummeting at faster rates than several other industrialized nations, yet per capita health spending continues to rise.
CAM helps you take control of your health
Doctors and nurses know the more you take ownership of your own health by nurturing your body to prevent disease – the less likely you are to need treatment for chronic illness. That should be obvious, yet healthcare workers have traditionally remained loyal to the “disease care” that passes for health care in our society. If basic health principles like exercise, whole foods, adequate sleep, safe sun exposure, stress reduction, and nurturing relationships were pushed the way pharmaceutical companies push pills
, we'd be a much healthier nation.
As increasing numbers of healthcare workers have come to realize, YOU can take control of your health as well. Lifestyle choices and other natural, holistic strategies could largely determine not only the quality of your health, but your quality of life as well.