Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and alternative medicine is still a topical issue. Mischoulon (n.d.) claims that many people resort to alternative medicine when traditional therapies have failed. At that, Barnes and Bloom (2008) note that different ethnic groups have different views on alternative therapies. For instance, 50.3% of Alaska Native adults, 43.1% of white adults, 39.9% of Asian adults and 25.5% of Black adults used complementary medicine in 2007 (Barnes & Bloom, 2008). It is also necessary to add that there is no sufficient evidence that particular therapy is effective and researchers sometimes have different views on certain therapies though they all agree that further research is necessary. It is possible to consider the use of valerian and acupuncture to have a glimpse at the way alternative medicine is used and researched.

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The use of valerian is still discussed by researchers. Mischoulon (n.d.) notes that the plant has been used for more than 1,000 years and is now popular globally as sedative. Mischoulon (n.d.) claims that there have been a number of researches and it is found that the therapy has proved to be effective (in most cases) and it is especially beneficial for children. Admittedly, the researcher stresses that it is crucial to have the necessary qualification and knowledge to prescribe this type of treatment. On the contrary, Taibi et al. (2009) note that the use of valerian did not prove to be effective in elderly women. The researchers note that side effects were not identified but the participants of the research did not show the sign of improvement and the reaction to valerian and placebo was similar (Taibi et al., 2009). Nonetheless, it is important to stress that the research involved only 16 participants and it cannot be regarded as extensive or sufficient. Therefore, it is still unclear whether valerian therapy is effective.

Another therapy used in alternative medicine is acupuncture. Mischoulon (n.d.) states that this type of therapy is spread worldwide but there is insufficient research on the matter. The researcher adds that few works are translated from Chinese though there are lots of works in this language devoted to acupuncture. Hence, it is quite unclear whether the therapy is effective as research provides mixed results. It is noteworthy that there are no side effects when qualified services are provided to patients. Barnes and Bloom (2008) support this viewpoint and stress that there is little evidence that this therapy is effective though the cases when this therapy proved to be ineffective are also insufficient. At the same time, the researchers add that acupuncture is used in a variety of cases to treat such disorders as back and knee pain, nausea, insomnia and other illnesses. They also note that the therapy can be applied in many cases but all of them should be studied thoroughly.

In conclusion, it is possible to note that alternative medicine has gained significant attention though there is still little evidence that it is effective. Researchers may have different views on effectiveness of this or that type of therapy but they all agree that further research is necessary. They also agree that complementary and alternative medicine can be used if the healthcare staff has the necessary qualification, skills and knowledge. It is also essential to properly communicate with patients and tell them about benefits and hazards of the use of alternative medicine.

Reference List

Barnes, P.M., & Bloom, B. (2008). Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults and children: United States, 2007. National Health Statistics Reports, 12(10), 1-24.

Mischoulon, D. (n.d.). Complementary and alternative medicine: Applications in psychiatry. Web. 

Taibi, D.M., Vitiello, M.V., Barsness, S., Elmer, G.W., Anderson, G.D., & Landis, C.A. (2009). A randomized clinical trial of valerian fails to improve self-reported, polysomnographic, and actigraphic sleep in older women with insomnia. Sleep Medicine, 10(1), 319-328.

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