Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Wha' huh? AAP addresses CAM

Interesting article floated my way (thanks Jack!) about how the American Academy of Pediatrics have seen a rise in patients who utilize some forms of Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) and felt compelled to address the issue. For the uninitiated, CAM, as defined by The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional Western medicine.

Complementary Medicine means that any of these diverse modalities, such as massage therapy, biofeedback, acupuncture, or guided imagery is used in conjunction with Western medicine.

Alternative Medicine proscribes to exclusivity, meaning that a modality is used in place of Western medicine, like using herbs to treat an infection rather than using antibiotics.

I find this whole issue of CAM and Western medicine holding hands together an intriguing idea, and became the foundation behind my book, Donovan's Paradigm. My character of Kim Donovan is trying to rewrite the medical books, starting with the surgical ward of her new hospital and runs into all kinds of heat.

What I find interesting about this article is its revelation of how some previously wiggy types of treatment wended their way into Western medicine. Things that were thought inane have now gained respectability with the majority of medical personnel. Modalities like the aforementioned acupuncture, massage therapy, biofeedback, hypnotherapy have been tested and integrated into doctors' verbiage and treatment plans.

So much so, that the language of medicine is changing. What used to be CAM has morphed into integrative medicine and holistic medicine, which is a nice way of saying "stuff we're willing to accept because we've tested it enough to prove its efficacy" and "no effing way." It's like a plus and minus column, and those columns shift depending upon the medical community's ability to test it for viable results. I'm hopeful that one day Reiki will move to the plus column.

The article is all quite science-y, but the end result is that the medical community realizes this CAM/Integrative/holistic stuff isn't going to disappear anytime soon, and they're studying it so they can provide better information to their patients.

Damn. Kim would be so proud.

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