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Should more medical schools offer degrees in complementary and alternative medicine?

  • The placebo effect is not the only positive outcome from holistic therapy

    Degrees in complementary and/or alternative medicine should be offered at more medical schools. This would serve the purpose of giving the opportunity for more doctors to learn, not only complementary therapies, but also possible interactions, of alternative therapies and mainstream medical procedures. It would also introduce the possibility of complementary and/or alternative therapies (please read: less invasive) may be offered more often if the doctor is more comfortable in how it works.

  • Medicine is Medicine

    The medical community has added labels to types of therapeutic treatments that are confusing for the public; ‘alternative’ and ‘complementary’ medicines are still medical practices and as viable as any westernized form of therapy. In a nation where the majority of illnesses and deaths are resulting from complications due to slow-onset disease (heart disease, diabetes, stroke, pulmonary disease, and stress), then the obvious counter-measure would be one that prevents the onset. Since the onset is slow, this should be relatively easy, but without a proper number of ‘preventative health care’ measures in place this is alarmingly under-treated and under-appreciated by the medical community. Almost every doctor will advise their patient to eat a more healthy diet, but not have the training or means to clearly define what a healthy diet is; practically every physician I know advises their patients to reduce their stress and exercise more, but again does not clearly define how best to go about reducing stress or look at what exercise regimen would be right for their patient. Dietary therapy (which is essentially training in nutrition and lifestyle), stress-reduction therapies (which range from patient-oriented breathing or imagery techniques to more complex massage and aromatherapy modalities), and even exercise are all considered ‘alternative’ medicines. The truth is they are as much medicine as anything else, but have not been treated that way by schools or professionals not studying them. Nutrition is part of basic life, you cannot survive without nutrients; stress handling is also a basic part of life and one that is seriously underplayed; and exercise is just as basic as nutrition, but does not have enough of a positive following to make it a legitimate study for doctors who themselves do practice some form of personal exercise. Moreover the forms of medicine being called ‘alternative’ have been the practices of ancient cultures whose death tolls rose because of plague and natural disaster, not diabetes and sudden heart attack from stress and poor diet. When a therapeutic method has been proven for centuries has an opportunity to be studied and given certified placement alongside the prestigious modern MD studies and specializations, then medicine as a whole will truly benefit mankind.

  • Medical schools should maintain their current degree programs.

    Those alternative programs and methods that spread beyond the typical medicine should not be taught in medical schools as full programs. Their merit may entitle them to make some classes available that instruct the safe use of these methods. This way the alternatives can still be identified as not harmful to the patient if someone asks for a specific kind of treatment, it can be provided safely. Alternative medicine is often labeled alternative due to the impracticality or lack of intellectual support for the methods, and thus cannot be taught with any standards or conditions that apply universally.

  • No, of course not.

    The reason that medicals schools--real medical schools, that is--do not offer degrees in complementary and alternative medicine is because they are not medicine. Medicine is medicine, and if an "alternative" treatment actually works, it is recognized by science and, therefore, not alternative. So no, medical schools should not even consider this.


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