By Kathleen Rushall
The well-known news network, CNN (Cable News Network), has recently been crediting Oriental medicine with success in pain relief. Traditional Chinese medicine has become increasingly accepted as a common course of treatment in the United States, and this integration is apparent in the increase of articles on the topic in major news networks, CNN being one of them.
On CNN’s website, articles such as 5 Alternative Medicine Treatments that Work by Elizabeth Cohen, direct attention towards alternative practices including acupuncture and herbal remedies. Cohen writes that, “Americans spend billions of dollars each year on alternative medicine, everything from chiropractic care to hypnosis.” One patient that had particular success using acupuncture for his knee pain is Dr. Andrew Weil. Cohen writes about how he is now enamored with other forms of Oriental treatment as well, “Weil says alternative medicine can work wonders — acupuncture, certain herbs, guided imagery.” Along with acupuncture, millions of Americans use herbal remedies for minor maladies, pain relief, and immune system enhancement.
Cohen points out that an herb like St. John’s Wart can alleviate a mental or emotional ailment like depression. In another CNN sponsored article, Spices and Herbs may Help you Avoid Disease by Amy Paturel, ginger is discussed as a pain reliever. Paturel explains, “In 2001, a headline-making study found highly concentrated forms of ginger helped reduce osteoarthritis-related knee pain.” Ginger is said to have removed the pain at almost the same rate as anti-inflammatory medicines, and is also commonly used to relieve nausea.
Integrative Medicine Gaining Ground in Western Medicine
Justin Laube’s genuine editorial, Commentary: Integrative Medicine is New Way of Healing (also found in CNN’s archives) explores the benefits of Integrative medicine, and why he chose to pursue it during his Western medical education. He explains that he was first introduced to integrative medicine in his first year as a medical student, which included an ‘immersion experience in traditional Chinese medicine’ that wet his appetite to know more. Laube describes what he defines integrative medicine to be, which led to his passion in practicing it, “Integrative medicine combines the best of both conventional, allopathic care and complementary or integrative medicine, or CAM. Examples of CAM include traditional Chinese medicine (e.g. acupuncture, herbs), naturopathy, chiropractic, and mind/body medicine (yoga, meditation). Integrative medicine is based on the incredible power of our bodies to heal themselves.” By combining what he views to be the best of both Eastern and Western healthcare, Laube plans to utilize integrative medicine to aid the emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing of his patients.
Media’s Role in Advancing Public Awareness
The increase in media attention, whether it is found on television, in articles, or on websites, is a positive step for traditional Chinese medicine. Not only are articles like those found on the CNN website venerating the practice, they are also spreading word of its existence. The more people read about Oriental medicine, the more people will be aware of its effectiveness and availability, and they can begin to incorporate integrative medicine into their own lives.
Paturel, Amy. Spices and Herbs may Help you Avoid Disease
Laube, Justin. Commentary: Integrative Medicine is New Way of Healing. http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/10/08/laube.essay/index.html?iref=newssearch