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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 38% of Americans reported using some form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Of the patients that routinely visit physicians for conventional (Western-based) treatment as compared to those who do not do so, the rate of CAM use is nearly twice as high.

Perhaps you are an alternative health practitioner with an interest in building your CAM skills. Or perhaps you are a Western medicine-based provider with no such knowledge, but have encountered a patient that requested a CAM treatment—or referral—from you or asked your opinion about a particularly CAM intervention. How did you respond? Six out of 10 physicians report being asked about CAM treatments, although few express that they are comfortable discussing those treatments.

If you are a physician interested in alternative therapies or a complementary healthcare practitioner, perhaps you are increasingly being consulted regarding complex and difficult cases without a clear-cut conventional treatment plan. Or perhaps you feel expected to provide expert treatment where no Western-based intervention has been successful. Then, you are not alone in your interest in acquiring more knowledge about CAM. Over 80% of primary care physicians believe they need to learn more about CAM in order to adequately address their patients’ concerns.

Given the longstanding, successful implementation of many CAM therapeutic interventions, why is CAM still considered by physicians to be “unconventional”? The answer is complex. However, one reason is that there are few large clinical trials involving CAM. Fortunately, the National Center on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (within the National Institute of Health [NIH]), is funding some research to address this disparity. It is hoped that the results of these research initiatives will provide new evidence regarding CAM effectiveness and new insights, and eventually be published in this Journal.

Currently, there are few repositories of peer-reviewed information on CAM. The Journal of Restorative Medicine seeks to fill this gap by applying rigorous standards in peer-reviewed research, and seeks article submissions that demonstrate high-quality presentations of CAM investigations. The Journal of Restorative Medicine especially aims to present research findings on CAM interventions that actually “restore health”, as opposed to providing merely a palliative effect. In particular, articles are sought that describe viable CAM treatments that repair tissue damage and restore organ function, and/or demonstrate that such treatments are capable of slowing or preventing disease manifestations. We believe health restoration to be the ultimate goal of medical intervention and the healthcare provider “high road”.

The Journal of Restorative Medicine will offer concise information and guidance that you can implement in providing patient care. The Editors call upon leading experts in various fields to evaluate the information described in it. We strive to bring you the most relevant information and concepts regarding CAM so that you can become an even better clinician and healer. We wish to thank all of the authors, physicians, editors, and reviewers who have contributed to the Journal of Restorative Medicine and helped bring it to life. It is through the involvement of health practitioners such as yourself that the understanding, knowledge, and implementation of CAM will be a viable option in the medical treatment compendium. The fact that you are reading this page already shows your interest in increasing your knowledge of therapeutic interventions for your patients and yourself.

Joy to you,

Michaël Friedman, ND

REFERENCES

  1. Eisenberg DM, Kessler RC, Van Rompay MI, et al. Perceptions about complementary therapies relative to conventional therapies among adults who use both: results from a national survey. Annals of Internal Medicine. Sep 4 2001; 135(5):344–51.
  2. Corbin Winslow L, Shapiro H. Physicians want education about complementary and alternative medicine to enhance communication with their patients. Archives of Internal Medicine. May 27 2002; 162(10):1176–81.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14200/jrm.2012.1.1014

You can also access full issues of the Journal of Restorative Medicine here.