David Eisenberg at Harvard may have started the trend toward studying the phenomenon but others have followed. He looked at alternative medicine in general.
Stanford, Columbia (NY) and many other facilities have looked at the use by cancer patients. They have surveyed their own patients to find out what percentage of patients and what modalities are being used.
You know from your own practice that a number of patients will ask about alternative medicine. You are probably aware that a larger group are already doing something without consulting you. Like you we want better communications between patients and their providers.
We have separated out five main areas that patients are concerned with as follows:
1) Nutrition-this can include but is not limited to macrobiotic or raw food diets, juicing and the use of (organic) fruits and vegetables.
2) Dietary supplements-nearly everyone takes some vitamins. Cancer patients tend to take antioxidants (Vitamins E, C, A, Selenium) Vitamin D, CoQ10, garlic pills, other antioxidants like pycnogenol, alpha lipoic acid, etc. Herbs are probably also part of this regimen.
3) Detoxification techniques-like coffee enemas (see the Gerson therapy section for a complete explanation of a patient's stay there), skin brushing, trampoline-jumping, liver flushes, colonics, etc.
4) Exercise-physical exercise at whatever level of capability the patient is at. Maybe it is walking around the room, around the house, around the block or around.
5) Mental/spiritual/emotional relaxation-this is a big area that consists of things like massage, yoga, prayer, meditation, visualization, and lots more.
Combining the above is most likely what your patients are doing. In fact we very strongly believe that combination natural therapy is the best possible method.
There is also a subset of patients who have chosen very specific therapies to try. Many of these are herbal. You can find out about them by looking over the section entitled "Treatment:Consumer's View of Alt Medicine".
LINK to organization offering
information on 'cultural competence,
conferences, email, and more
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