Alternative Medicine Gains Funding and Popularity





Alternative Medicine Gains Funding and Popularity
by Carrie Elizabeth Sklar

The National Institute of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) was awarded a budget of $117.7 million for 2004, marking a budget increase of over $67 million from when it was founded in 1999.

NCCAM is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices. There is strong evidence that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 42 percent of all Americans are using complimentary therapies, spending more than $34 billion annually.

More specifically, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine states that one out of every 10 adults in the United States has tried acupuncture, which has been cited by the World Health Organization to treat over 43 conditions. Massage is also a popular form of health care: According to the American Massage Therapy Association, 28 percent of adults reports having a massage from a massage therapist in the past five years, spending a total of between $4 and $6 billion on 114 million visits each year.

One of the reasons acupuncture and massage are so popular is because they provide health benefits that are also free of side effects when performed by a licensed professional. According to Chinese medical practitioners, qi is conducted between the surface of the body and internal organs along pathways called meridians. It is qi that regulates spiritual, emotional, mental and physical balance. When the flow of qi is disrupted through poor health habits or other circumstances, disease can result. Acupuncture and massage keep the flow of this energy unblocked and release endorphins in the brain, thus preventing and alleviating pain.

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine is one of the oldest and largest accredited institutions training professionals in the areas of Oriental medicine, acupuncture, massage and Chinese herbal medicine. At its community clinic, Pacific College provides discounted CAM therapies to the public. For more information, please call 800-729-0941

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