Date of Defense
Dr. Karen Horneffer
Dr. Joseph Reish
In 1997, a landmark study revealed that four out of ten Americans had used at least one alternative therapy during the previous year, spending $27 billion out-of-pocket. This brought attention to the growing field of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is a broad term that includes a variety of different modalities and is most commonly defined as therapies not offered by conventional allopathic medicine. Currently, some of the most popular CAM modalities are: Acupuncture/Acupressure, Ayurveda, Biofeedback/Mind-Body Therapy, Chelation Therapy, Chiropractic, Herbal Medicine/Nutritional Supplements, Homeopathy, Massage Therapy, and Naturopathy. Americans are choosing CAM for several reasons: first, because conventional medicine is not helping them; second, because CAM offers a holistic approach, uses natural, noninvasive treatments and views the patient as a partner in healing; and third, because combining conventional medicine and CAM allows many people to choose the treatments that are most effective for their needs, improving their overall health care. As CAM becomes increasingly popular, more studies are being done on the efficacies of various modalities and insurance companies are beginning to over coverage options that include CAM services. In the future, it is likely that the line between what is "conventional" and what is "alternative" will be blurred and a whole new type of medicine, called integrative medicine, will be formed to combine the best of both healing approaches.
Liebler, Katherine A., "A Whole New Approach: The Emergence of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Mainstream American Society" (2002). Honors Theses. 1115.
Honors Thesis-Campus Only