Alternative Medicine's Next Phase

February 14, 1997 • Volume 7, Issue 6
Are unconventional treatments joining the mainstream?
By Richard L. Worsnop

Introduction

Once considered exotic in the United States, acupuncture is now almost mainstream. (Photo Credit: American Association of Oriental Medicine)
Once considered exotic in the United States, acupuncture is now almost mainstream. (Photo Credit: American Association of Oriental Medicine)

Many Americans prefer non-traditional medicine to “intrusive” modern treatments based on drugs and surgery. Others dismiss alternative approaches as dubious, if not outright quackery. But a nationwide study found that a surprising 34 percent of all Americans have tried such alternative treatments as homeopathy and chiropractic. Indeed, many physicians foresee a growing convergence of mainstream and alternative healing practices. Medical schools increasingly offer courses in alternative therapies, some of which are now covered by health insurance. Meanwhile, efforts are under way at the state level to sanction the use of marijuana for certain medical purposes. The federal government opposes the idea, but it has agreed to an 18-month, $1 million study of whether marijuana has therapeutic value.

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