Pi Attitude Zone: Flexibility

Alternative Medicine Gets The Treatment

Americans have been spending something like $35 billion a year on alternative medicines and treatments such as acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy, homeopathy and herbal supplements… or so the US government has estimated.

The attitudinal basis for a small but steady migration away from conventional mainstream medicine to these alternative forms of healthcare is complex. Not all the people switching their allegiance to non-mainstream treatments seem to be much bothered by the fact that there is little hard evidence that they work; or indeed that that those offering alternative medicine services know anything much about curing what ails them.  But hey…

Some healthcare experts have been suggesting that the shift is an expression of disappointment and disillusionment with conventional medicine and its practitioners. Many sufferers have lost faith in orthodox medicine, and have been turning instead to ad-hoc advice from family, friends and natural remedy information sources.  The trend has grown with internet access.

Most “treatment migrants” seem to know at some level that there is little official oversight of alternative treatments and prescriptions. Yet around half of all adult Americans will have resorted to at least one alternative or complementary therapy or nostrum in a given year.

Aside from some people’s waning faith in the mainstream healthcare system in general, and doctors in particular, there is also “a powerful element of nostalgia… for home remedies… combined with an idealized vision of what is natural and wholesome and good”, as Dr. Linda Barnes, an anthropologist at Boston University’s medical school, has pointed out.

Such ‘medical nostalgia’ harks back to the words of Hippocrates, (he of the Hippocratic oath), who said around 2,400 years ago that “wherever the art of medicine is loved, there also is love of humanity”.

Listen up, pharmaceutical companies, medics and healthcare insurance companies:  these days there are plenty of people who are not at all convinced that “love of humanity” is the chief driving force behind your business plan. 

That’s one reason people go looking for alternatives.

Zone: Flexibility Country: USA / North America Product – Services