Alternative Medicine

Course Outline

Emergency Nursing

Expanding Medical Horizons

Today almost 33 million Americans are functionally limited in their daily activities due to chronic, debilitating conditions such as arthritis, allergies, pain, hypertension, cancer, depression, cardiovascular disease, and digestive problems. The country as a whole spends over $1 trillion on health care each year.

While the "conventional medicine," or biomedicine is extremely effective for treating infectious diseases and traumatic injuries, it is often ill equipped to handle complex chronic conditions.

In the last few years, as our health care system strived to strike a balance between costs and benefits, one inevitable conclusion emerged; it is far less expensive to prevent chronic conditions from occurring in the first place than to attempt to treat the symptoms and consequences with surgery and expensive drugs, which often offer only short-term solutions.

For example, coronary artery disease affects approximately 7 million Americans and causes about 1.5 million heart attacks and 500,000 deaths a year. Approximately 300,000 coronary artery bypass graft operations are performed in the United States each year at a cost of about $30,000 each, or $9 billion total. Yet the surgery prevents premature death in only a few patients with most serious main coronary or multiple-vessel heart disease. On the other hand, heart disease is almost entirely attributable to poor diet (i.e., high fat intake) and unhealthy lifestyle decisions (lack of exercise, alcohol consumption and smoking), and thus can be avoided,

So we have to come to grip with the idea that disease prevention must be the ultimate focus of the primary health care system rather than disease treatment.

Health education programs are teaching people that they are far better off staying healthy than relying on high technology to rescue them from a lifetime of unhealthy living. The term alternative has been chosen to describe the medical systems and therapies that advocate this approach.

This exceptional research report examines six fields of alternative medicine: mind-body interventions bioelectromagnetics applications in medicine, alternative systems of medical practice, manual healing methods, pharmacological and biological treatments, herbal medicine, and diet nutrition in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease.

Learning Objectives

1. Define biomedicine.
2. Discuss the development of the biomedical system in the United States.
3. State 3 reasons why a nurse needs to be familiar with alternative medical practices in the United States.
4. State the scope of utilization of alternative medical resources in America in the 1990s.
5. List 5 unifying threads common to most alternative medical systems.
6. List 4 concepts important to the rationale behind alternative medical treatments.
7. List and discuss 4 types of barriers to a fair, unbiased scientific evaluation of alternative therapies.
8. Discuss the role of the Office of Alternative Medicine.
9. Discuss Western and non-Western perspectives on mind-body separation.
10. Define “mind-body.”
11. Discuss the relationship between healing and curing.
12. Discuss the relevance of perceived meaning to health and illness.
13. Define the placebo response.
14. Define spirituality.
15. State one connection between spirituality and health.
16. State the connection between psychological stances and cancer survival.
17. Define psychotherapy, and list 2 clinical applications.
18. Define meditation and list 4 possible effects on health.
19. Define imagery, and list 3 categories of usage.
20. Define hypnosis, and list 5 health care applications.
21. Define biofeedback, and list 2 conditions for which biofeedback is utilized therapeutically.
22. Define yoga.
23. List 4 benefits of yoga.
24. Define dance/movement therapy [DMT].
25. List 4 possible goals for dance/movement therapy.
26. Discuss the underlying assumption in DMT.
27. Define music therapy, and list 4 clinical applications.
28. Define art therapy, and list 2 clinical applications.
29. Discuss the relationship between spirituality and healing.
30. Discuss the concept of nonlocality.
31. Define bioelectromagnetics (BEM).
32. Differentiate between endogenous and exogenous fields.
33. List 4 applications of BEM.
34. Define TENS.
35. Discuss the “hierarchy of resort.”
36. List 6 characteristics of the major formal systems of medical practice.
37. Define 3 major types of illnesses.
38. Discuss the conceptual basis for traditional Oriental medicine.
39. Define “qi.”
40. List 4 treatment modalities associated with traditional Oriental medicine, and give a clinical application of each.
41. Define acupuncture and state how it restores health.
42. Define Ayurvedic medicine.
43. Define the following terms:
  1. dosha
  2. nadi vigyan
  3. panchakarma
44. Define homeopathy, and discuss its development in the United States.
45. State the major use of homeopathic medicine in the U.S.
46. List 3 underlying movements of anthroposophical medicine.
47. Discuss the threefold model of the human mind-body processes.
48. List 8 primary principles of naturopathic medicine.
49. Discuss the relevance of naturopathic medicine to women.
50. Define environmental medicine.
51. Discuss 4 clinical conditions addressed by environmental medicine.
52. Discuss the concept of adaptation as pertaining to environmental medicine.
53. State 4 features common to community based health care systems.
54. Define the following terms:
  1. shaman
  2. powwower
  3. medicine wheel
55. Discuss the role of the “sing” in Dineh healing practices.
56. Define curanderismo.
57. List 4 Mexican-American folk illnesses and a treatment associated with each.
58. State one example of an urban community-based health care system.
59. State the underlying concept of the physical healing methods.
60. State 4 major principles of osteopathy.
61. List 4 manual medical methods taught in osteopathic colleges.
62. State the underlying concern of chiropractic science.
63. List 4 major points of chiropractic philosophy.
64. State 3 areas in which chiropractic manipulation has demonstrated effectiveness.
65. Define massage therapy.
66. List 4 major types of massage practice.
67. Discuss 3 clinical applications for massage therapy.
68. Define pressure point therapy, and list 3 examples of pressure point therapy.
69. State the underlying principle of postural reeducation therapies, and list 3 examples.
70. Describe the basic practice involved in “rolling.”
71. Describe the scope of biofield therapeutics as a healing practice.
72. List 4 forms of biofield therapy taught in medical establishments.
73. List 3 major hypotheses about the biofield.
74. Give 4 examples of clinical results of biofield therapy.
75. Define the following:
  1. applied kinesiology
  2. polarity therapy
  3. qiqong longevity exercises
  4. craniosacral therapy
76. Discuss the relationship of physical therapy to alternative medicine.
77. List 3 themes common to alternative pharmacological approaches.
78. Define and state one clinical application of each of the following:
  1. antinioplastons
  2. cartilage products
  3. EDTA chelation therapy
  4. Ozone
  5. Immunoaugmentative therapy
  6. 714-X
  7. Hoxsey method
  8. Essiac
  9. Coley’s toxins
  10. MTH-68
  11. Neural therapy;
  12. Apitherapy
  13. Iscador
  14. Revici’s guided chemotherapy
79. Discuss the scope of herbal medicine usage in the 20th century.
80. State a clinical application for each of the following:
  1. echinacea
  2. ginkgo biloba
  3. ginseng root
  4. dryopteris root
  5. trikatu
81. List 3 sources of information on herbal medicines.
82. Summarize the difference in attitudes towards herbal medicine between Europe and the United States.
83. State the connection between affluent diet and disease.
84. State the shift in focus of nutrition research in recent decades.
85. Define RDA.
86. Differentiate between RDAs and the Food Guide Pyramid.
87. Discuss the safety of vitamin and mineral supplementation.
88. Define orthomolecular medicine and give one example.
89. State one nutritional approach to treating each of the following conditions:
  1. AIDS
  2. asthma
  3. cancer
  4. arteriosclerosis
90. Give 3 examples of modification diets as a method for treating cancer.
91. Describe the Pritikin and Ornish diets.
92. Discuss the role of food elimination diets.
93. List 3 alternative dietary lifestyles common in the United States.
94. Discuss health risks associated with strict vegetarian diets.
95. Define cultural diet.
96. Give an example of one connection between nutrition and disease prevention in each of the following diets:
  1. Asian diet
  2. Mediterranean diet
  3. Native American diet
97. Discuss 3 challenges in educating clients in nutritional practices.

Course Contents

Executive Summary
Major Contributors
Part I: Fields of Practice
  Mind-Body Interventions
  Bioelectromagnetics Applications in Medicine
  Alternative Systems of Medical Practice
  Manual Healing Methods
  Pharmacological and Biological Treatments
  Herbal Medicine
  Diet and Nutrition in the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease
Part II: Conclusion, Appendixes, Glossary, and Index
  Appendix A: Plant Sources of Modern Drugs
  Abbreviations and Glossary





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