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The Best Alternative Medicine [Paperback]

By Kenneth R. Pelletier & Andrew Weil (Introduction by)
Our Price $ 22.94  
Retail Value $ 26.99  
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Item Number 150261  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   449
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.5" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   1.25 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 12, 2002
Publisher   Fireside
ISBN  0743200276  
EAN  9780743200271  

Availability  89 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 06:50.
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Item Description...
A comprehensive reference source on alternative treatments explores therapies that have been shown effective, including Ayurvedic medicine, herbs, and acupuncture, and discusses specific conditions and provides recommendations.

Publishers Description
"The Best Alternative Medicine" is the only book available today that both evaluates the major areas of alternative medicine and addresses how they can be used to treat specific conditions. Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier explains such popular therapies as mind/body medicine, herbal and homeopathic remedies, spiritual healing, and traditional Chinese systems, discussing their effectiveness, the ailments each is most appropriate for, and how they can help prevent illness. In the second part of the book, which is organized alphabetically, he draws on the latest National Institute of Health (NIH)-sponsored research to present clear recommendations for the prevention and treatment of health concerns ranging from acne to menopause to ulcers.
Combining valuable guidance about alternative treatments with definitive health advice, "The Best Alternative Medicine" will be the standard reference for the increasing number of people integrating alternative medicine into their personal and organizational heath-care programs.

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More About Kenneth R. Pelletier & Andrew Weil

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier is clinical professor of medicine, Department of Medicine, and a senior research scholar at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine. He is also a vice president with Healthtrac, one of the largest providers of disease-management programs to corporations. Dr. Pelletier is director of the NIH-funded Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program at Stanford (CAMPS), and director of the Stanford Corporate Health Program, a collaborative effort between Stanford and twenty major corporations including AT&T, American Airlines, Merck, Blue Shield, Bank of America, IBM, Medstat, Levi-Strauss, Motorola, Rite Aid/PCS, United Behavioral Health, and Xerox.

Dr. Pelletier has served as president of the American Health Association since 1990; is a member of the Board of Directors with Health Net of Foundation Health Systems, which is the fourth-largest integrated health provider system in the United States; and, in 1997, was appointed a founding board member of the Foundation for Integrative Medicine. He is the author of more than 225 professional journal articles and seven books, which have been translated into fifteen languages, including the classic bestseller "Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer, " first published in 1977 and revised in an updated edition in 1992. At sea, Dr. Pelletier is an avid open-ocean sailor. On land, he is an equestrian and lives on a farm in Alamo, California, with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two thoroughbred horses, Qolcha and Tir Nan Og.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A must-buy!  Nov 10, 2007
This excellent book is written in three parts. Part I is a thoughtful introduction to complementary and alternative medicine (or "CAM"). It looks at the history of medicines, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, chiropractic, and much, much more. Part II is an examination of the complementary and alternative treatments for many illnesses and ailments including: Aids, allergies, high blood pressure, and much more.

I just can't say enough about this book. It has a wealth of information, both general and specific, and it is very easy to read. If you are interested in alternative medicine, then you must get this book. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.
Alternative medicine: a guide to sorting evidence and myth  Jul 31, 2003
If you consider yourself open-minded about medical therapies, but are bewildered by, if not downright sceptical of, popular claims regarding alternative medicine, this book may be one of the best guides to help you sort actual scientific evidence from hearsay.

Dr. Kenneth Pelletier, a clinical professor of medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine, provides a lucid, superbly documented, and well organized volume on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) broadly defined as "those medical systems, interventions, applications, theories, or claims that are currently not part of the dominant (conventional) biomedical system."

This book should appeal both to those with a policy interest in this subject as well as a practical interest in understanding what the state of scientific evidence is across a wide range of alternative medical practices. Even while looking at these issues primarily from the perspective of policy and practice in the United States, the book sources its medical evidence globally and compares policy and practice from different parts of the world.

The book is organized in a straightforward two-part structure. Part One catalgoues avaiable scientific evidence relevant to major categories and sub-categories of alternative medical practices such as mind-body control (inclduing biofeedback, mediatation, arometherapy, etc.,); diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes (inclduing herbal medicine); alternative systems such as acupucnture, ayurveda, homeopathy, Chinese medicine, and others; and manual healing,incdluing acupressure, massage therapy, chiropractic, and others.

Part Two organizes and evaluates evidence relating to CAM therapies by dozens of specific major meduical conditions such as acne, alcoholism, arthrities, depression, diabetes, epilespy, ulcers, and vertigo, just to name a few.

The politics of conventional and alternative medicine ensure that no treatment of this subject is easily free of, or seen to be free of, advocacy. This book is no exception, with clear bias for openly considering alternative medicine based on available evidence. It recognizes the polemical atmosphere in which the debate is currently framed and favors a middle ground approach of "integrative medicine." There is an interesting discussion situating the debate on these issues in the United States relative to other, mainly European, countries.

While it can hardly be the last word on this difficult subject, this book appears to be one of the most thoughtful and transparent comparisons of conventional and alternative medicine in the United States.

Engaging, Encouraging and Authoritative  Aug 4, 2002
This is an engaging and encouraging survey of evidenced-based, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) from the perspective of a leading medical researcher well-experienced with the many scientific and public policy issues involved in CAM. It provides a delightful educational experience and deserves a prominent spot on the health reference shelf for many reasons.

First, most of the major CAM disciplines and methods are covered, including Mind-Body Medicine, Dietary Supplements, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Western Herbal Medicine, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Chiropractic, Ayurveda & Yoga, and Spirituality & Healing. This provides a basic introductory understanding of the therapies themselves and the science behind the evaluation. All assessments of therapies are well documented, which is one of the major strengths of this work.

Second, there is an alphabetical list of many specific medical conditions and an assessment of a variety of CAM therapies for treatment. This is a valuable feature of the book and the reason it may be of immediate help for some and a good reference manual for others. Of course, the science is rapidly expanding in this area due to popular interest and NIH funding, so the evaluations in this book will increasingly lag behind current thought.

In addition, there is a good discussion of CAM insurance and related public policy matters. (Unfortunately, at least in my view, this otherwise very helpful discussion does not address the fundamental impact Medical Savings Accounts might have on making CAM more accessible by providing consumers more treatment and economic choices in their own health care decisions.)

A good complementary to this book is Health and Healing by Andrew Weil. The policy minded will wish to review the recent report (March 2002) from the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Policy (WHCCAMP), available on the web.

Must be read carefully  Feb 20, 2001
Like most people I am aware of the scientific limitations of some complementary and alternative medical practices and approaches (CAMs). I am also aware that there are some ailments that are most effectively treated by conventional methods. As Dr. Pelletier points out, "conventional medicine excels in the treatment of acute trauma, childbirth emergencies, treating broken bones, performing corrective surgery, and treating acute, life-threatening illnesses" (p. 183). Nonetheless I am a staunch supporter of alternative approaches taken selectively, in particular those based on a long history of practice, such as acupuncture, Chinese medicine and some aspects of Ayurvedic medicine. I am also aware that the theory behind these practices is sometimes flawed in a scientific sense, and that the reason for the effectiveness of some of the treatments is not fully understood. Additionally, it is sometimes impossible to separate the effectiveness of a therapy from the placebo effect. The fact is, however, the art and science of medicine is still in its adolescence at best, and we have a lot to learn. I think in particular the American Medical Association and its members have a lot to learn. The main thing they should understand is that a strictly scientific approach to the healing arts is of limited effectiveness because an essential part of the healing process is treating the whole person, physically, mentally, and emotionally. This is particularly true of the chronic diseases that plague modern societies.

However I cannot give a ringing endorsement to this book, mainly because it is primarily a carefully constructed, painstakingly written, legally considered endorsement of the alternative medical industry. As such it is a book taking a political position, clearly motivated by a desire to convince the insurance industry of the wisdom of allowing its clients to chose CAMs instead of, or in addition to, conventional treatments. Again and again Dr. Pelletier tells the reader that this or that alternative approach is more cost effective than the conventional approach (e.g., see p. 149). While I wish Dr. Pelletier success in getting the HMOs to fork out cash for CAMs, I would prefer a book that concentrates on helping the lay person evaluate the effectiveness of the various approaches. Dr. Pelletier has too many people to please for him to be candid about the relative merits of the various methods. Again and again we are told that the evidence is "suggestive" or "intriguing" (p. 147) or that some recent findings are "so new that they...have not yet been published and subjected to peer review" (p. 203). If one does not read carefully, one might get the impression, for example, that homeopathic medicine is the equal of say, Chinese medicine. Homeopathic medicine is based on a rather limited tradition and a highly suspect theory, while its principle technique is to give patients astronomically-diluted solutions of curative agents that are not necessarily curative. The explanation for how such a medicine works is that the water in the solution somehow "remembers" the form of the curative agent! However I must add that it is to the infinite credit of homeopathy that it follows the first and most important rule of medicine--a rule that conventional medicine does not always adhere to--which is, to do no harm. Having seen the horrendous harm that chemotherapy and radiation treatment can do, I say, thank you, dilute solutions! Chinese medicine, in contradistinction, is based on the use of thousands of medicines and practices honed over thousands of years of practice. This is an enormous difference not emphasized in the text.

The real reason these alternative practices work (when they do work) is that the body heals itself, but it heals itself best when the patient has confidence in the therapy and is treated with respect, kindness, consideration and intelligence. The conventional medical establishment still hasn't gotten this very important message. The AMA has spent many decades decrying the "false" medical practices of, for example, chiropractic, but hasn't seen that a bigger problem lies with itself and the medical practices of far too many of its members, practices that neglect and ignore the whole-body, mind and emotional needs of patients while astronomically increasing the cost of their treatments. What has happened is CAMs have rushed in to fill the real needs of patients, and if their approach is not as scientifically "valid" as that of mainstream medicine, in many cases it doesn't matter, since the body itself is really the healer. What often matters most is how the patient feels during treatment.

The "best" alternatives that Dr. Pelletier presents include, in addition to those mentioned above, "MindBody," "Western Herbal Medicine," "Naturopathy," and "Spirituality." He has a chapter devoted to each with an introduction to the particular approach, a brief history, and a statement of principles. He follows this with a "What Works" section, a "What Doesn't Work," and a "What's in the Works" section." Again the text must be read carefully. For example, on page 199 he writes, "Homeopathy's underlying theoretical principles appear to contravene the principles of modern scientific medicine...However...the principle of like cures like was the basis for the development of vaccines and allergy desensitization treatments. This analogy, though, is not really accurate...," etc., leaving the reader in a position of clear uncertainty!

What is not uncertain is that some conventional doctors are becoming better educated and are reaching out into the fields of alternative medicine for ideas on how to improve their practice. But not all. Some are still the willing dupes of medical insurance companies; indeed there are mainstream doctors whose primary source of income is derived from making diagnoses that please HMOs and protect them from patients with chronic illnesses. The growth of alternative approaches may have the effect of forcing the practitioners of conventional medicine to become more responsive to the public welfare. At least one hopes so. This book should help.

Best medicine or just wishful thinking?  Oct 27, 2000
Recommended to those who are intersted but also skeptical of alternative medicine claims. The scientific evidence compiled by Ken Pelletier shows that efficacy of homeopathy, acupunture, chiropractic, Chinese medicine, and ayurveda is often weak and questionable. Yet the author curiously seems to gloss over these obvious shortcomings.

Having personally been a patient/client of many alternative/comlimentary/integrative health practioners of the kind mentioned above,I have come to the conclusion that a lot of wishful thinking perpetuates the exaggerated and often ridiculous claims of alternative medical practioners and people who, very much like myself, derive some benefit from spiritual and metaphysical beliefs.

While conventional medicine is not without its controversy and shortcomings - take a careful look at psychiatry/antipsychiatry, for instance - scientific medicine, with some good old love and compassion, not dogma, still remains the "best medicine". I also highly recommend: "A consumers guide to alternative medicine" by Kurt Butler. "Inside chiropractic: a patient's guide" by Samuel Homola. "The Faith Healers" by James Randi. And especially Martin Gardner's books on psuedoscience, religion, and philosophy


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