Final Post

This class has allowed me to learn about many different types of alternative medicine from my peers. From what I have learned, I feel like all of these CAM simply looks at an illness or injury from a different perspective then conventional western medicine and tackles the problem from a different direction. For example, in TCM, we are trying to maintain the balance of our chi by using herbs, regulating our food, and acupuncture. This idea of maintaining balance is very similar to the western idea of maintaining homeostasis by using drugs to regulate the ions in our body, to control cell growth, or to regulate our blood’s pH and oxygen saturation level. An other example is performing meditation for healing. In psychology, we learn that our brain can be tricked and sometimes our brain can create symptoms in our body that are not caused by any illness. In psychology, medication is prescribed to try to control this while in meditation, we learn to reach into our self and try to have our brain tell the rest of the body what it is feeling.

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I believe that there is a place for integrating CAM into conventional western medicine. In many areas of China, TCM and western medicine are being integrated together for a more well-rounded treatment for patients. Although CAM are being integrated in many other countries, I feel like there are obstacles to integrating CAM into western cultures. Many people, doctors included, have trouble seeing past the superstitious sounding initial explanations to understand how they are just explaining things using a different method. I believe that with more advertising and more people willing to try CAM, more people will begin to understand and see the benefits of CAM.

As an effort to help integrate CAM into mainstream medicine, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has changed its name into National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. By changing the name, the agency recognizes that using alternative medicine as the sole treatment is rare, but using alternative medicine as an aide alongside conventional medicine is more common. It is more accurate to name it integrative health rather than alternative medicine. Part of the center’s mission is to conduct more scientific studies on the effectiveness of complementary medicines, allowing those methods to become more common place thus improving health and health care. To read more about why the name was changed, click here.

One thought on “Final Post”

  1. Regarding your comment about our minds being able to create symptoms, this is the opposite of the placebo effect, called the nocebo effect. It is an interesting observation that we tend to use medications to control this, but we also talk about controlling for the placebo effect in research studies. There are some researchers out there who, instead of trying to control this mind-body connection, are more interested in studying it and measuring it, which I find a fascinating concept!

    Thank you for your participation in this course!

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