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Dr. Berman quoted in "A Physician's Guide to CAM" article

January 25, 2011

A Physician's Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Here's what you need to know about CAM and the role it can play in your practice

By Keith L. Martin | January 25, 2011

"Savior or Quack?" That was the caption under the photo of internist John C. Pittman in a 1991 North Carolina newspaper article. Pittman became the focus of the article after beginning to integrate oxidative therapies with conventional medicine as part of his clinical practice to treat HIV patients.

Pittman, currently the medical director of the Carolina Center for Integrative Medicine in Raleigh, N.C., says things have definitely changed in the last two decades when it comes to how patients and his fellow physicians view the use of everything from yoga to herbal remedies in healthcare.

"Back then, the viewpoint was extreme — if you were doing something outside convention, you were either walking on water or the devil incarnate — there was nothing in between," he notes. "Now, there is more moderate thinking and acceptance that people doing this kind of thing are a little bit ahead of their time … There is much more supporting the approaches and you can point to an enormous amount of published data."

Both the reception to and the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by patients has evolved in the United States.

In a 1998 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the use of at least one of 16 alternative therapies — including massage and homeopathy — increased from 34 percent in 1990 to 42 percent in 1997. More recent data shows consistent, ongoing use of CAM by patients.

According to a 2007 National Health Interview Survey, a federal data collector, 38 percent of adults were using some form of CAM to promote wellness or to treat various diseases or conditions. In 2009, a subsequent study found that Americans spent $34 billion out-of-pocket for CAM services.

That level of patient use and personal spending has brought CAM to the forefront of physician attentions, but it still suffers from negative perceptions by much of the medical community. Should it? Or could CAM offer you more options for successfully treating your patients? Could it have a role in your practice? Let's find out...

To read more, go to:  http://www.physicianspractice.com/practice-models/content/article/1462168/1783807

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