(HealthNewsDigest.com) – Because health care can become a life or death matter, there never seems to be a shortage of crises. For example, the launching pad for approval of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was the insurance coverage crisis. Tens of millions of Americans did not have health insurance, and the sheer numbers involved, combined with potential financial devastation, pushed this crisis to the forefront.
Although it is not normally called a “crisis,” the widespread use of so-called Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) does not reflect well on mainstream medicine in the US. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, approximately 38 percent of adults and 12 percent of children are using some form of CAM. Let’s be precise with our definitions (also taken from NCCAM).
The agency views CAM as “[A] group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine.” For the sake of argument, we will go with NCCAM’s rather monolithic definition of “conventional” as “Medicine as practiced by holders of M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) degrees and by their allied health professionals such as physical therapists, psychologists, and registered nurses.”