New England Journal of Medicine Study on Alternative Medicine

Barbara Ruth Campbell (CAMPBELL@ZODIAC.BITNET)
Sun, 24 Jul 1994 15:10:17 -0400

Dear Anthro-L Colleagues,

Several of you have written personal notes to me of encouragement
along with more questions to ponder and references to look at. I
thank all of you!

I must point out that although I have been referring to 22,000+
references - not all are unique and I've only just begun parsing
them and can only work with 50 pages (about 100 references) at a
time due to "out of spreadsheet" restriction - I have not been drawing
material from them.

What I've been relying on up until now are the works I've been reading and
collecting for background reading in the hopes of defining what I'm talking
about when I refer to medical models. Please forgive me if I've
given any of you the impression that I've read all the titles -
yet. I will be putting into a file and printing them so I can
hand code before putting them into TACT. I will also be putting
all the abstracts into a file and printing them as well so please
bear with me.

For those of you who have asked for some references, I will post
a few at a time so as not to hog the floor.

The article that gets cited in every television news broadcast and
primetime documentary is:

Eisenberg, D.M., Kessler, R. C., Foster, C., Norlock, F. E., Calkins, D.
R., & Delbanco, T. L. (1992). Unconventional medicine in the United
States. New England Journal of Medicine. 328(4), 246-252.

This is the telephone survey on alternative medicine what quite a few
authors are calling complementary medicine but not necessarily holistic
medicine. The only non-Western treatments listed is acupuncture.
The researchers did not try to define "folk remedies", "faith healing"
or "herbal medicine" all of which could fall into regional categories.

The other therapies include: homeopathy, relaxation techniques,
chiropractic, massage, imagery, spiritual healing, commercial weight-loss
programs, lifestyle diets (macrobiotics), megavitamin therapy, self-help
groups, energy healing, biofeedback, hypnosis, exercise, and prayer.

One thing I think you will all agree is: homeopathy is not a non-Western
system. For those of you who haven't read much about it, homeopathy
was conceived and developed by Samuel Hanemann, a German physician who
wrote Organon der rationellen Heilkunde in 1810:

see Cowen, D. L., & Helfand, W. H. (1990) Pharmacy: An Illustrated
History. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

What the respondents meant when they said "energy healing" or "massage" or
"spiritual healing" is not known. Learning to move one's Qi could be
considered "energy healing" and Shiatsu is a form of "massage". I
assume that "spiritual healing" refers to New Age therapies but then
again a Native American who goes to a sweat lodge with a spiritual
leader may fall into this category.

Eisenberg et al. stress that their respondents were English speaking only
and most of the ones who reported using unconventional therapies were
of the better educated yuppie category. They include ask Native
Americans, first generation immigrants or too many inner city peoples.

End of Part 1.

Barbara Ruth Campbell
Dissertation in progress