Does alternative medicine work?

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It has been 10 years and an investment of more than $2.5 billion. Yet there still is no definitive answer as to whether or not alternative medication works. That's according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

To some, it's a myth...that holistic medication, which views the body, mind and spirit as equally important to treatment works. But, medical director of Quantum Healing Institute in Tyler, Dr. Pieter de Wet says that's not true.

"There's a huge body of scientific evidence in alternative medicine that most people are not aware of," said Dr. Pieter de Wet.

And, the doctor says there needs to be more research.

"It's a tiny fraction," said Dr. Pieter de Wet. "$2.5 billion over 10 years is less than five percent of the NIH budget."

Vanessa Hunter says holistic medicine makes her feel like she's receiving the "care" in healthcare.

"It seemed like for every scenario that you presented to a physician, it was easier to write a prescription and send you on your way than to really get down to the cause of the problem and get that resolved," said Hunter.

Alternative forms of meds like distance healing by prayer, are fueling criticism from some health officials saying there is no scientific evidence to support it works. But, professor in family medicine, Dr. Richard Viken, says healing by prayer isn't out of the realm of possibility.

"I come from a very fundamental Christian background, and if you wanna ask me, 'Do I think prayer heals certain ailments' - sure, I do," said Viken. "I mean, it doesn't necessarily cure them, but it can heal by all means."

Meditation, herbal supplements and acupuncture are among the most popular forms of alternative medication.

"Over 40 percent of people in America are using alternative medicine on a regular basis," said Dr. Pieter de Wet.

But, does alternative medicine work? Until the FDA approves any of these forms of medication the official answer is no.

Determining whether or not someone fits the criteria for alternative medication is subjective. Pain, memory and fatigue are symptoms that people tolerate differently. Doctors tell us the best bet is to consider alternative medication as complimentary to traditional meds - especially in life or death situations.

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