CAM Therapies Make Newsweek

January 6, 2003

2 Min Read
CAM Therapies Make Newsweek

CAM Therapies Make Newsweek Cover

NEW YORK--The mainstream Newsweek has done something nopopular magazine has done in recent memory--featured a positive, if not glowing,cover story on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). In the Dec. 2story, Senior Editor Geoffrey Cowley wrote that CAM encompasses a number ofpractices ranging from the credible (acupuncture) to the absurd (coffee enemas).

Be that as it may, he wrote that more Americans visit nonconventional healers(approximately 600 million visits per year) than M.D.s. "So afterdismissing CAM therapies as quackery for the better part of a century, themedical establishment now finds itself racing to evaluate them," Cowleywrote. "[CAM's] larger mission is to spawn a new kind of medicine--anintegrative medicine that employs the rigor of modern science without beingconstrained by it. If the dream is realized, the terms 'complementary' and'alternative' will become meaningless, proponents say."

CAM use has been on the rise since 1990, when results from a Harvard studyshowed 34 percent of U.S. adults reported using at least one unconventionaltherapy. Between then and 1997, the number rose to 59 percent.

The article notes the credence behind CAM therapies has grown proportionallywith the rise of government-sponsored research--from $2 million per year to $100million--and the creation of the National Center for Complementary andAlternative Medicine (NCCAM) in 1998. Studies currently underway include the $16million study comparing the effects of five regimens on arthritis: glucosamine,chondroitin sulfate, a combination of the two, the prescription arthritis drugCelebrex (from Pfizer) or a placebo.

The article also reported there is a hope that traditional and conventionalpractices can one day merge, and that insurance plans--from Medicare to thesmallest private health plan--will cover CAM therapies.

"It's good to find a major consumer news magazine give recognition tothe growing importance of CAM practices to the American public," said DavidSeckman, executive director of the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA),a supporter of increased funding to NCCAM. "We agree with [Cowley's]assertion that there's no substitute for knowledge ... and how alterativemedicine and Western medicine can work well together."

In stories that accompanied the feature, Anne Underwood discussed the basicsof Chinese medicine, David Noonan spoke of CAM therapies for children andClaudia Kalb reported on natural alternatives for depression.

These articles can be found at

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