Alternative Medicine

IMG_0052Complementary and alternative medicine, often abbreviated as CAM, refers to therapies that are not used in mainstream or conventional Western medicine.

Nation-wide, it has become well accepted that slightly less than 50 percent of households use some form of CAM. The for of CAM most commonly used is herbal medicine but many used homeopathic remedies and nutritional supplements.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) acts as an adviser to the federal government on controversial issues of medical research and health of the American people. In 2005, the IOM issued a special report on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the United States. The 300-page report evaluated CAM usage, CAM research methods, CAM health delivery, and CAM medical education and issued recommendations. Perhaps the report’s most far-reaching recommendation is that all health profession schools include CAM information in medical, dental, and nursing curricula.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NCCAM recommends that scientifically proven CAM modalities be integrated into conventional medicine. You can learn which forms of CAM have been subjected to medical research studies by NCCAM and what the results were at www.nccam.nih.gov

There may be hundreds of complementary and alternative therapies, but Dr. Feingold believes that there are only three essential natural alternative practices.

What are these three essential natural alternative practices?

They are homeopathy, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements. These are the health care practices that Dr. Feingold uses with her patients in her office, The Homeopathy Center of Delaware, where she has been practicing since 1998. Before then, she practiced a combination of pediatrics, adolescent medicine, and public health along with alternative medicine for more than thirty years, in both New York and Jerusalem, Israel.

Dr. Feingold considers these three health care practices, homeopathy, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements, to be “essential” because these are the treatments that will likely help you to treat or prevent most of the ailments that beset you and your family members. Her book, The Complete Self-Care Guide to Homeopathy, Herbal Remedies and Nutritional Supplements, teaches you to combine all three for most ailments.

Many, but not all, of Dr. Feingold’s recommendations for homeopathy, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements are based on sound medical research evidence. As you read her book you will find that she tells you which ones have been proven safe and effective and which ones have not.

Self-care with the essential natural alternatives that she recommends in her book may help to keep you and your family members out of harm’s way. Keeping away from hospitals and the invasive procedures that are often done there may actually save your life! This is because there are so many “medical mistakes” caused every year in our hospitals. A recent article* published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association reported on 250,000 deaths from errors and mistakes every year in the US. These deaths include 12,000 from unnecessary surgery, 7,000 from medication errors in hospitals, 20,000 from other fatal errors in hospitals, 80,000 from infections in hospitals, and 106,000 from side effects of pharmaceuticals.

Her book will not teach you to use many other health care practices which have been proven safe and effective, such as acupuncture, massage, guided imagery, meditation, and many other techniques. You may wish to incorporate some of these health care practices into your program for self-care by investigating them using reliable online websites and books. However, Dr. Feingold has not found the addition of any other modality or technique to be necessary to achieve and sustain good health under most circumstances.

Dr. Feingold’s book will give you the tools to select those essential health care options from a wide array of homeopathic remedies, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements to design a program of self-care for yourself and your family. Her book will also help you to recognize when self-care is not appropriate. Every chapter has a section, Guidelines for Consulting Your Health Care Practitioner. Please pay strict attention to that section when making your selections and designing your self-care program.

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* Starfield B, Is US Health Really the Best in the World?, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2000 Jul. 26;284(4):483-5.