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Appeal of alternative medicine growing

mandala November 24, 1996
Web posted at: 11:50 p.m. EST

From Correspondent Rhonda Rowland

(CNN) -- Alternative medicine appears to be an alternative being tried by more patients.

One in three people claimed to have used nontraditional medicine at least once during the previous year, in a study published in 1993 by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Now there are not only clinics and stores devoted to alternative medicine, but even that hallmark of conventional medicine: a convention devoted to it. The Whole Life Expo recently featured the range of natural treatments.


"I help people die laughing so that if they have fulfilled what their life is about, they literally can die with a smile on their face," said Dr. Bernie Siegel, author of "How to Live Between Office Visits."

As a kind of litmus test, CNN asked several alternative practitioners how they would treat that bane of doctors everywhere: the common cold.


"When a person is anxious or depressed, their susceptibility is greater, so I'm interested in what's going on in their lives," said Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen, author of "Close to the Bone."

"I'd say the same thing," Siegel said. "'Why are you sick now?' You know, 'What's going on in your life?'"

Kachinas Kutenai, an Apache medicine woman, had more specific advice. "I would give enenasian, increase vitamin C and garlic or kyalic."


Dr. Thomas Lyons, a traditional surgeon, said he thinks the related process of questioning will benefit medicine overall.

"The public is beginning to become educated, so they're beginning to ask questions," Lyons said. "Asking questions means looking at alternative therapies. I think that can only lead to better health of all of us."

Those who practice nontraditional medicine say they do not want to replace conventional medicine, but add to it. And like mainstream medical practitioners, they warn against healers or products that promise a quick cure.


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