Western Views of Non-Traditional Medicines

2552 Words11 Pages
If you walk into any pharmacy, grocery store, or natural foods store, you cannot avoid the shelves and displays of "alternative" remedies and treatments. Promises of fewer aches and pains, clearer skin, slower aging, better digestion, and more "harmonious" body functions are plastered on store walls and across bottle labels with many, often green, pills and liquids. Ginseng, Echinacea, acupuncture, reflexology, antioxidants, Vitamin A, B, C, E... have all become a familiar part of our culture's vocabulary, and for many, a part of their health regime. The allure of treatments that are as simple as a collection of plants or are based on a well-loved substance like garlic are obvious, particularly in an cultural environment where not only medical labels but most food labels seem to be written in a different language, and where people are taught that "science [and medicine] know more about them than they could ever know or understand about themselves"(Beinfield, 24). A full-page advertisement in the New York Times for the Oxford HMO is an insightful illustration of both public demand of alternative treatments and its current misgivings about Western medical care. In the first paragraph, Oxford says it has redesigned its program to take on a more "physician-responsive, patient-centered approach." Another section begins with the heading, "Alternative Medicine. The Choice is Yours." It goes on to state, "A third of the people we serve already use alternative therapies. Now they have access to the first credentialed network of alternative care practitioners. It includes acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists and nutritionists, to name a few... In traditional health care, specialty care has been focused more on isolated treatmen... ... middle of paper ... ... New York Times. Tuesday, April 1, 1997. * Website on Chinese Medicine: www.hanwei.com/culture/medic.htm * Stix, Gary. "Probing Medicine's Outer Reaches." Scientific American. October 1996. * Website on Alternative Medicine: www.chinaplus.com * Marshall, Eliot. "The Politics of Alternative Medicine." Science. Vol. 265. Sept. 30, 1994. * Website on Chinese Medicine: www.europa.com * Finkelstein, Katherine Eban. "Insuring Children: Health Care Reform Writ Small." The Nation. March 3, 1997. * Eisenberg, M.D., David, with Thomas Lee Wright. Encounters with Qi: Exploring Chinese Medicine. 1985, New York, W.W. Norton and Company. * Caudill, M.D., Ph.D., Margaret A.. Foreward, The Web that has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine. Ted Kaptchuk, O.M.D.. 1983, New York, Congdon and Weed. * Website on Chinese Medicine:www.ccchome.com
Open Document