The Best Alternative Medecine


What are the most effective therapies in complementary and alternative medicine? How can they be used to prevent illness and enhance the quality of life? What is the scientific evidence of their safety and effectiveness? And finally, for which medical conditions do they work best? Faced with an overwhelming availability of treatments and an even more bewildering array of claims and counterclaims, every American health consumer and practitioner needs guidelines he or she can ...
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What are the most effective therapies in complementary and alternative medicine? How can they be used to prevent illness and enhance the quality of life? What is the scientific evidence of their safety and effectiveness? And finally, for which medical conditions do they work best? Faced with an overwhelming availability of treatments and an even more bewildering array of claims and counterclaims, every American health consumer and practitioner needs guidelines he or she can trust.

Based on an enormous body of research, including new research funded by the National Institutes of Health, The Best Alternative Medicine is the first book to provide authoritative, scientifically based answers to these questions. Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier, Director of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program at the Stanford University School of Medicine, rigorously evaluates the most common forms of alternative medicine and delivers research-based evidence about hundreds of individual treatments, organized both by therapeutic discipline and specific illness and disease. Easy to understand and free of jargon, The Best Alternative Medicine offers definitions, background, and examples of specific treatments from a multitude of therapies, including Mind/Body Medicine, European Herbs, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Spiritual Healing, Acupuncture, Dietary and Nutritional Supplements, and Ayurvedic -- East Indian -- Medicine.

Dr. Pelletier's assessment of a particular approach is threefold, beginning with "What Works," progressing to "What Does Not Work," and concluding with "What's in the Works," where he cites the most promising unpublished and ongoing research in that field.

For readers who wish to address a specific medical illness or condition, but have no idea what remedies they can rely on, The Best Alternative Medicine also includes a major section organized by condition, with bulleted points of brief, clear, researched information. Alphabetically arranged, this section provides recommendations for prevention and treatment, as well as references to further resources for everything from acne to ear infections, bronchitis to heart disease, and headaches to Parkinson's disease.

Now, more than ever, as alternative medicine moves to the forefront of medical advances, people need the facts to inform their health decisions. Whether you are interested in prevention or are considering treatment for yourself, your patients, or your family, The Best Alternative Medicine will help you make the best choices about complementary and alternative medicine based on the latest researched, essential information.

"...offers definitions, background, and examples of specific treatments for a multitude of therapies, including mind/body medicine, European herbs, traditional Chinese medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, and more."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Verma Noel Jones Chicago Tribune The Best Alternative Medicine...separates myth from reality. A comprehensive, research-based guide to alternative treatments.

Tricia O'Brien Country Living An invaluable resource.

Publishers Weekly This forward-looking book will be useful to those seeking to address all aspects of their well-being.

Marilyn Linton The Toronto Sun This guidebook comes at the right time given both the confusion and conflicting studies surrounding alternative therapies....[Pelletier] helps us sort out fact from fiction and fantasy.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pelletier (Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer) examines the most popular alternative therapies being used today--from homeopathy and Western herbal medicine to traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda--with an eye toward integrating them with traditional medicine. A clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and director of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program, Pelletier notes that while many forms of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) are not recognized by the medical community, consumer interest in them has risen dramatically. If, as Pelletier concludes, optimal health stems from attention to all aspects of life--physical, psychological, spiritual and environmental--then CAM therapies, which take all of these aspects into account, will become even more common. Far from suggesting that traditional medicine be bypassed, Pelletier emphasizes that CAM can increase its effectiveness at a relatively low cost. He cites numerous studies in which CAM has fostered the healing process, as well as other studies that either have negated certain claims for alternatives or proved inconclusive. In the second section of the book, Pelletier discusses how CAM can be used for specific conditions such as cancer, heart disease, AIDS and depression. This forward-looking book will be useful to those seeking to address all aspects of their well-being. BOMC, QPB, One Spirit alternate. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Pelletier, clinical associate professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, is not a newcomer to alternative medicine. His best seller, Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer, first published in 1977, remains in print, and he continues to be a leading researcher on the topic. His latest work explains alternative and complementary medicine including commonly used treatment modalities and 75 medical conditions and correlating therapies. What sets Pelletier's work apart in this genre are cited studies and references. The selected bibliography alone is more than 50 pages long. However, since specific treatment recommendations are absent, readers will need to extrapolate exactly what it is they need to do for their condition. Yet, this is the most authoritative work on the topic to date and deserves a place in all but the smallest consumer health collections.--Valeria Long, Amberg Health Sciences Lib., Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416575214
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 8/24/2007
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier is clinical professor of medicine, Department of Medicine, and a senior research scholar at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford University School of Medicine. He is also a vice president with Healthtrac, one of the largest providers of disease-management programs to corporations. Dr. Pelletier is director of the NIH-funded Complementary and Alternative Medicine Program at Stanford (CAMPS), and director of the Stanford Corporate Health Program, a collaborative effort between Stanford and twenty major corporations including AT&T, American Airlines, Merck, Blue Shield, Bank of America, IBM, Medstat, Levi-Strauss, Motorola, Rite Aid/PCS, United Behavioral Health, and Xerox.

Dr. Pelletier has served as president of the American Health Association since 1990; is a member of the Board of Directors with Health Net of Foundation Health Systems, which is the fourth-largest integrated health provider system in the United States; and, in 1997, was appointed a founding board member of the Foundation for Integrative Medicine. He is the author of more than 225 professional journal articles and seven books, which have been translated into fifteen languages, including the classic bestseller Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer, first published in 1977 and revised in an updated edition in 1992. At sea, Dr. Pelletier is an avid open-ocean sailor. On land, he is an equestrian and lives on a farm in Alamo, California, with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two thoroughbred horses, Qolcha and Tir Nan Og.

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Table of Contents



Introduction by Andrew Weil, M.D.

Part I: Major Areas of Treatment

1 Think Horses, Not Zebras

2 Sound Mind, Sound Body: MindBody Medicine Comes of Age

3 Food for Thought: Dietary Supplements, Phytonutrients, and Hormones

4 Traditional Chinese Medicine: Three Thousand Years of Evolution

5 Acupuncture: From Yellow Emperor to Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

6 Western Herbal Medicine: Nature's Green Pharmacy

7 Naturopathic Medicine: "Do No Harm"

8 Homeopathy: Like Cures Like

9 Chiropractic: Thigh Bone Connected to the Knee Bone

10 Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga: From Buddha to the Millennium

11 Spirituality and Healing: As Above...So Below

12 CAM Insurance: Who Pays How Much to Whom for What

13 We're Not in Kansas Anymore: Toward an Integrative Medicine

Part II: CAM Therapies for Specific Conditions

General Precautions





Alzheimer's Disease





Attention Deficit Disorder

Bedwetting (see Enuresis)

Birth Defects



Buzzing in the Ears (see Tinnitus)


Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease and Cholesterol

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Cervical Spondylitis

Chronic Fatigue

Cirrhosis and Alcoholic Liver Disease




Dementia and/or Memory Loss

Dental Craniomandibular Disorder






Ear Infection (see Otitis Media)




Eye Disorders


Gastrointestinal (Stomach and Intestinal Disturbances)

Hay Fever


Heart Conditions

High Blood Pressure




Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)


Kidney Stones

Liver Disease


Memory Disorders

Ménire's Disease

Menstrual Symptoms, Menopause, and PMS





Otitis Media


Parkinson's Disease

Prostate or Prostatic Hypertrophy (Prostate Enlargement)


Respiratory Problems




Sexual Dysfunction



Substance Abuse

f0 Tendinitis

Thyroid Dysfunction






Varicose Veins


Yeast Infections (see Vaginitis)



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