Author(s): Barrie R. Cassileth
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Hardcover: 340 pages
Order From: Amazon.com
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From Booklist , 02/01/98:
An estimated 60 million Americans use alternative therapies each year. Cassileth, affiliated with the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine, the American Cancer Society, and two medical schools, offers a survey of 54 therapies from a decidedly conservative, mainstream medical point of view. Though claiming that her book neither promotes nor opposes any therapy, she clearly has not made the paradigm shift necessary to understand the bases of much of this vast array of approaches, particularly alternative anticancer therapies or those originating in other cultures. The author often steers the reader away from the particular therapy by recommending that he or she first contact a medical doctor or mainstream organization, such as the Arthritis Foundation. Therapies here are organized into such groups as diet and herbs, bodywork, and mind-body. In chapters of 5 to 10 pages, each approach is treated as follows: what it is, what practitioners say it does, beliefs on which it is based, research evidence to date, what it can do for the patient, and where to get it. Factual errors in several entries were noted; missing in this work are considerations of medical politics or economics. Purchase it to balance more favorable views of alternative treatments. Copyright© 1998, American Library Association. All rights reserved
An expert in alternative medicine gives readers the complete low-down on what works, what doesn’t, what can help, and what can harm. In clear, nontechnical language, Dr. Cassileth describes the origin of each alternative therapy, the reasons practitioners say it works, the scientific evidence, and the places to go for treatment. Photos & illustrations National media publicity. Targeted print ads.
Be educated not mindless about alternative medicine. People are finally taking control of their health. But that means using as discerning an eye about alternative therapy as about mainstream medicine. Cassileth has studied what does–and what doesn’t–work. I find the Booklist review inaccurate and dangerous. There are no anti-cancer therapies outside of mainstream medicine that have cured people yet. I do believe that if an alternative therapy for cancer is found that works–look at tamoxifen from yew trees–doctors will use it. In the meantime, mainstream medicine has prolonged the lives of some of my friends who have cancer–and given them the hope of a cure. Cassileth is, indeed, open to other cultures. She finds yoga, acupuncture, and some other types of Chinese medicine do enhance well being, and lists almost 40 conditions in a brief chart that can be alleviated through alternative/complementary medicine. She admits that some therapies seem to work despite no firm scientific evidence. She tries to remind people that whether what you take is made by a pharmacy or by nature, it can still have powerful–and sometimes dangerous–effects. This book is a good way of learning about the myriad therapies and finding ones that will help you.
from Truro, MA , 01/12/98, rating=9:
Great Basic Resource for Alternative Medicine Users This is a believable, well–researched book about the growing field of alternative medicine. Its a great book to have as a second opinion when one is considering going outside of traditional medicine to seek treatment or cure for medical and heaslth problems.