THE BEST ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier
Simon & Schuster
New York, 2007
Written by the former director of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program at the Stanford University School of Medicine, this book focuses on remedies supported by substantial clinical research and how to use them safely and effectively. It also addresses the mind–body connection, homeopathy, and spirituality, again with a focus on what has been proven to work and what has not — and what is still unknown. The book describes how alternative medicine is viewed in the medical profession and how it may be used in the future, and also has a section devoted to remedies for specific conditions (including diabetes).
TRICK OR TREATMENT
Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst, MD
W.W. Norton & Co.
New York, 2009
This book takes a skeptical approach to alternative medicine, examining the scientific evidence — if any — behind acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic treatment, and herbal medicine. It concludes that most — but not all — alternative treatments are of little value, and that those with a proven effect must be used carefully. A short guide to therapies is also included.
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE? A HISTORY
Oxford University Press
New York, 2008
More a frame of reference than a practical guide, this book traces the history of natural and folk remedies as Western medicine developed and became what we now know as conventional medicine. The author concludes that what is nowadays considered to be alternative medicine has, in many cases, been unwisely excluded from modern medicine.
This magazine, formerly called Alternative Medicine, discusses healthy eating, herbs and supplements, physical activity, and mental balance. The Web site features a variety of articles, recipes, and fact sheets on maladies and treatments, as well as a blog of personal anecdotes and insights from several authors. The site also lets visitors sign up for a free weekly e-newsletter. A yearly magazine subscription costs $19.95 for eight issues.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), founded in 1998, is a division of the National Institutes of Health that is charged with investigating alternative remedies and making information on the subject available to policymakers and the public. It operates a phone clearinghouse with both English- and Spanish-speaking representatives, weekdays 8:30 AM–5:00 PM ET. Callers can get information on studies in the agency’s database, ask questions about alternative medicine topics, or order pamphlets and publications (which are also available for download from the Web site).
The NCCAM Web site has a large body of information on alternative medicine and the latest research behind it. The main health information sections of the site discuss the basics of alternative therapies and being an informed consumer, and also include alphabetical listings of both health concerns and herbal remedies. There is also a section of the site in Spanish.
Two of the most useful pages on the site can be found in the “D” section of “Health Topics A–Z.” “Diabetes and CAM: A Focus on Dietary Supplements” (under “Diabetes”) discusses the risks and benefits of specific supplements often used by people with diabetes for blood glucose control and other health goals. “Using Dietary Supplements Wisely” (under “Dietary Supplements”) discusses the legal requirements of manufacturers of supplements, what the FDA does and does not monitor, and the general risks of taking supplements. It also covers what to look for on a supplement label and what to discuss with your doctor before taking a supplement.