Media Coverage Raises Patients’ Awareness of Alternative Therapies

Your patients have probably read numerous articles and advertisements about natural treatments for ailments ranging from allergies to migraine to PMS, anxiety, and depression. Here’s what popular magazines are saying:

To reduce stress and possibly lower blood pressure, the September 1998 issue of Self suggests that a circling movement derived from Tai Chi, the ancient Chinese martial arts form, may help minimize or alleviate these problems. The magazine also devotes a page in every issue to discuss alternative approaches to a particular health care topic, and the issue includes recommendations for treating recurrent yeast infections.

Vegetarian Times frequently covers alternative medicine, and the July 1998 issue included the article "Female Problems," which describes how natural medicine and a vegetarian diet can prevent and treat common women’s problems, such as vaginal infections, cystitis, and urinary infections.

An article in the September 1998 issue of American Health for Women cautions consumers to be careful when buying herbal products because there is no organization to ensure their quality and safety. The article mentions specific brand-name supplements that have been proven safe and effective in clinical trials, including Efamol (evening primrose oil) for PMS symptoms, Remifemin (black cohosh) to relieve certain menopausal symptoms, and Kira’s St. John’s wort for mild-to-moderate depression.

McCall’s includes an article in the September 1998 issue that suggests deep breathing, yoga, aromatherapy, and herbal remedies are safe alternatives for treating backaches, headaches, PMS, and more. In addition to describing how these remedies can help treat everyday aches and stresses, the magazine includes a glossary of natural treatment terms.

As evidence that acupuncture is becoming a more mainstream treatment, the August 16, 1998 issue of Parade reported an NIH panel’s findings that acupuncture is effective in alleviating some types of pain and nausea, and that some insurance companies will pay for treatments.

A May-June 1998 Health article suggests that patients using alternative therapies without consulting their doctors risk potential conflicts with pharmaceuticals.