Cancer is a disease that strikes senior citizens more than any other age group. A debate has been waged for a number of years now about whether complementary and alternative medicine has a place in the treatment of cancer. Traditional medical treatment has stuck with the position that any recognized and approved treatments must have solid research to support their efficacy.
That is now beginning to happen, and the results are pretty amazing.
The Federal Government 's lead agency for scientific research on complementary and alternative medicine is one of the 27 institutes in the National Institutes of Health. Their stated mission is to explore complementary and alternative healing practices within the contexts of rigorous scientific research. They also train researchers and provide the public with the information provided from research. The Complementary and Alternative Medicine agency studies treatments that include acupuncture, diet, herbs, massage, Reiki (a form of massage), St. John's Wort and yoga.
Many seniors believe in the benefits of ancient Chinese medicine, herbal remedies and Ayurvedic medicine (healing system of India). To make a place in modern health care for alternative medical care is clearly a step forward for seniors. Neither system is replacing the other; there is room for both in our world today. The global criticism of ancient and herbal medicines is that they lack rigorous scientific studies to either prove or disprove their effectiveness. As a result, medical science has succeeded in pooh-poohing claims of treatment and even cure. However, that is now beginning to change. With studies on the effectiveness of many complementary/alternative treatments, medical science will have better information on which to base treatment recommendations that may include CAM.
With more studies being done on alternative and complementary treatment for cancer and other catastrophic illness, seniors everywhere can look forward to improved options for treatment that include taking advantage of the wisdom of ancient cultures.