Want to know what's new in holistic health care? You don't have to look far these days. Seems every newspaper, magazine, radio & news show has a program on what's new in alternative health. The real news, alternative/holistic medicine has moved one step higher on the ladder of health care reform. According to the most recent studies, Americans are using more and more alternatives -- to the tune of several billion dollars a year. Alternative medicine has another new name this year as well, actually two new names, CAM for complimentary/alternative medicine and integrative/blended medicine. Wouldn't I be amiss if I left anyone out?! Anyway, whatever suits the powers that be.

The real story is not in the struggle over a name, although some would disagree. We're trying to make it more palatable, but a bowl of oatmeal is still just a bowl of oatmeal. It's good for you; the fiber and all that, but it just doesn't have the same flash, the same intense heroic story line that goes with high tech medicine. It's like a Star Wars flick where the villain is left dead with a flash from a laser light beam. Who wouldn't prefer using a light saber in healing versus a bag of herbs and a bowl of oatmeal.

The facts remain, Americans are going for the oatmeal, more every day, with millions of visits to practitioners of naturopathy, herbalists, acupuncturists, massage therapists and others. Insurance companies are beginning to recognize their value as well by paying for visits to licensed, trained professionals. This year the state of Washington passed a law requiring insurance companies to pay for massage therapy. Let's make them national heroes!

Study results released this year showed that adult onset diabetes could be controlled in many cases with exercise alone. In fact the blurb I read started off saying something like if exercise could be prescribed in a pill it would be the most written prescription in America. Now wouldn't we like that. Another pill to fix me.

The American Pharmacopoeia has finished its evidenced-based studies (another new term this year) showing that the herb Saw Palmetto does have benefit in treating benign enlargement of the prostate. This actually means it goes into the ''real'' books that the doctors use to prescribe. No wonder the drug companies are getting nervous!

The Lyme Disease vaccine is under fire with a class action suit. The complaint filed against SmithKline Beecham,manufacturers of the widely touted LYMErix vaccine, failed to warn doctors and the general public that nearly 30 percent of the population was predisposed to a degenerative autoimmune syndrome which the lawsuit says is triggered by contents of the inoculation. Prevention and education are still the best tools in the fight against this dread disease.

Locally, Galesburg has a new pain clinic. The director, Dr. J. Remillard is trained in acupuncture. I understand he is quite busy and his patients have very positive things to say. He also has the nerve to send us clients in the hopes of combining therapies -- pretty radical for the burg!

Illinois will soon have legislation in place that will require massage therapists to be licensed. This is good news for the therapist as well as the client. No more fly-by-night self-proclaimed massage experts!

The news from our office, there are more and more of you who find our services of massage, nutritional counseling, herbal and supplement therapy a valuable resource. We try to keep pace with new therapies as well as supplements that are beneficial. We're the bowl of oatmeal, we think we'll keep it that way.

The news from my column, I continue to look for other syndications since my luck with the California paper. It's nice to have a larger audience, not that you haven't been attentive. Of course some of that attention I'd just as soon not have, but it helps me grow.

The Zephyr turns twelve this week; Galesburg's alternative to the sometimes watered-down news that we are otherwise forced to endure. Norm, maybe you should consider that word alternative. What about Galesburg's complementary paper, or integrative/blended newspaper? Happy birthday! Don't change a thing.

Till next time, Rebecca.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online May 31, 2000

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