For many of us choosing natural methods of healing and health, treatments referred to as “alternative” are the first choice when we feel unwell, or as a preventative measure. For mainstream doctors, however, those same treatments are seen as a last resort. But, the good news is that they are prescribing such treatments at a higher rate than ever before.
According to a study from Harvard Medical School, medical providers are referring patients to mind-body therapies (like meditation and yoga) when conventional approaches have failed. When they’ve tried everything else, they are throwing natural medicine a bone, so to speak.
Researchers surveyed 23,000 households and found that 38 percent use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). About 3 percent of these were a result of a referral from a physician. Those who were referred by their doctor rather than self-referred were more frequent consumers of mainstream medicine and tended to be “sicker”.
Interestingly, when compared with another recent study, the information indicates doctors may be more willing to use CAM themselves than to recommend it to their patients.
Three-fourths of healthcare workers were found to utilize CAM compared with only 63 percent of the general population. Why this is, we don’t know.
Could it be that doctors don’t want to suggest complementary medicine to consumers of mainstream medicine—that they believe this is what their patients want? This could be. After all, those who frequent a medical doctor usually want medicine—they are usually “sold” on the prescription drug system. That could be the reason, or it could be many other possibilities.
Big Pharma makes the medical industry go ‘round, so perhaps doctors must contribute to their bottom line in order to remain “competitive”. There is profit to be made when handing out prescriptions, after all.
The Harvard study indicates that many Americans still don’t know the benefits of alternative medicine. If they seek out their physician’s mainstream advice and only seek CAM after all else has failed, we still have some work to do.
Needless to say, it’s our job to educate everyone on what natural medicine has to offer!