The American Medical Association states in it's Code of Ethics that:
"The patient has the right to receive information from physicians and to discuss the benefits, risks, and costs of appropriate treatment alternatives." It also states: "The patient has the right to make decisions regarding the health care that is recommended by his or her physician. Accordingly, patients may accept or refuse any recommended medical treatment."
How many times has your physician actually discussed alternative or complementary therapy with you?
The findings of the National Health Interview Survey in 2007 found that 38% of adults are using some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). That number is up from 36% in 2002.
According to the study, the most common forms of CAM are:
Those of us who regularly use alternative medicine do so because conventional medical treatments are dangerous, unpleasant, painful, or do not give us the desired results. Stephen Novella, in his article "Why Do People Turn To Alternative Medicine?" states that "The evidence that we have, however, simply does not support this narrative. Studies show that satisfaction with mainstream medicine is not an important factor in deciding to use CAM, that CAM users are generally satisfied with their mainstream care, and they use CAM because it aligns with their philosophy, and they simply want to expand their options."
This survey's results could be skewed in one important way: the sample that was surveyed obviously consisted of those who are already using conventional treatment and were satisfied with it. Where did they go to find these survey volunteers? If they went to conventional medical clinics to find these participants, then of course the sample is going to be skewed in their favor. What they should have done is stood outside some alternative practitioners' clinics and interview the people going in. They would have gotten a little bit different result in that case, because that sample would have included a much larger percentage of people that are dissatisfied with their conventional care.
Also, Stephen Faris shows his disdain for Alternative and Complementary medicine with the comment that we should not be "discarding science and reason to embrace fantasy as an alternative." However, the NIH (National Institute of Health) states on their website that there ARE alternative treatments that have had scientific testing and published results, that do have a factual basis to their results. The NIH has a National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health which studies alternative treatments, and that not all but many of these treatments do have value.
Then there is the issue of the Placebo Effect. Many people do not accept healing that happens because of the Placebo Effect as "real" healing. And yet, a large percentage of people who BELIEVE they are being healed have, in study after study, shown real, actual healing as measured by test results. I would say that if the healing is verified by lab tests, one can hardly dispute whether or not it is "real". For that reason, on this website, we will discuss not only using nutrition, vitamins, minerals, herbs, massage, Reiki, yoga, chiropractic and other physical techniques for healing, but we will also discuss changing your thoughts and beliefs as a method of healing because the placebo effect has showed us that what you believe about your healing DOES effect the outcome. See The Biology of Belief.
Above all, the point is that you have a right to choose an alternative treatment over a traditional treatment, if that is your desire. You also have a right to have your insurance pay for it, although which services are covered by insurance vary from company to company. Most insurance policies now cover some form of chiropractic, including Medicare. Some policies cover acupuncture, and stress reduction classes that include meditation are often covered as well. Nutritional advice is often covered but only by registered dieticians. I would not recommend going to a registered dietician because they are only trained in conventional medicine, not in advanced clinical nutrition or orthomolecular medicine, which center around using nutrition for healing clinical conditions. I would recommend a Naturopath or a certified clinical nutritionist if you feel you need the help of a practitioner. Really though, honestly, all the information you need is available to YOU and you can do your own research and find out on your own exactly what you need. The only time you really need a practitioner is for chiropractic, acupuncture, and any other physical manipulation.
Also the above list does not include a very powerful and effective healing technique which has been studied extensively in clinical settings, EFT (or the Emotional Freedom Technique). Our version of EFT is the Accu-Balancing Technique, which you can read about HERE.
Your right to choose an alternative treatment should never be squelched by any institution of modern medicine or any governmental agency. That is why it is included as part of the social justice section of our website. The "distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society" definitely applies to the opportunity to avail yourself of any treatment you desire.