CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

MSNBC profiles complementary and alternative medicine

MSNBC profiles alternative therapies in a piece provocatively entitled, "Alternative medicine -- cure or crock?" Actually the conversation is a bit more understated the above title and subtitle and subsequent header, "Find out...Dr. Steven Lamm on which unconventional medicines and therapies work."

In muted tones the articles goes through some of the pros and cons of various well-known CAM therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, and chiropractic. All this is old news, really, and the layperson can easily access evidence-based websites now that provide a truckload of information anyone can understand. Plus there are sufficient resources by government agencies, nonprofits, and private institutions on the Web that give far more detail than in the MSNBC summary.

Here is their bottom line on CAM therapies:
Alternative medicine is not the right word; we should call them complementary treatments as it should complement a medical diagnosis. The mission for doctors should be to use any modality that improves the quality of life of patients. The medical profession has been limiting themselves...because there is a huge body of experience with complementary treatments.

The problem is when people diagnose themselves -- they don't get a medical diagnosis for their ailment. When people are using a lot of alternative therapy, they are trying to treat a symptom, without a diagnosis. They say "Oh I'm going to get acupuncture for my headaches", when they really have a sinus problem that can be treated medically."
True enough and maybe helpful for some, but a real yawn for those in the field long enough to see folks beat the swords into ploughshares, or turn their pruning forks into GNC lines, or some such metaphor for the inevitable wheel of change. Paradigm shift captures it, but I think the shift has already come and gone in most quarters, so I'd put paradigm shift now in the first column of what Wired magazine elegantly labels, Expired, Tired, Wired.
The Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on holistic, alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies. The law firm represents medical doctors, allied health professionals (from psychologists to nurses and dentists) and other clinicians (from chiropractors to naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, and acupuncturists), entrepreneurs, hospitals, and educational organizations, health care institutions, and individuals and corporations.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of a nonprofit organization exploring legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, massage therapy, energy healing, and herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. Michael H. Cohen is author of books on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy dealing with complementary, alternative and integrative medicine, including Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).
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Health care and corporate lawyer Michael H. Cohen has been admitted to the Bar of California, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington D.C. In addition to qualifying as a U.S. attorney, he has been admitted and to the Bar of England and Wales as a Solicitor (non-practicing). For more information regarding the law practice of attorney Michael H. Cohen, see the FAQs for the Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen. Thank you for visiting the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog.
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