By the late 1980s, American citizens had already demonstrated a long history of voicing their dissatisfaction with conventional medical options.
They were turning in ever-growing numbers to lifestyle therapies, vitamin and mineral supplements, herbs, spiritual approaches to healing, and other natural alternatives. Many didn’t seem to care that the medical community collectively seemed to pride itself on being a world leader in the development of high-tech drugs and surgical procedures. Ultimately, this public dissatisfaction made its way into the legislative realm, bearing fruit in 1991 when congress passed Public Law 102-170 which provided $2 million to establish the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM), a new component within our National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The OAM, charged with evaluating promising unconventional medical practices, thrived under the umbrella of the NIH, the most respected research funding and directing organization in our nation. By 1998, further legislative efforts (P.L. 105-277) promoted the OAM to the level of an NIH Center. In 1999 this newly elevated entity was named the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).
Over the last decade NCCAM has worked to bring a higher level of scientific rigor to an area that historically has often relied on anecdotes and testimonials. NCCAM’s involvement coupled with public demand has contributed to an increase in research on herbal therapies, spiritual practices (such as prayer), and lifestyle interventions. With that increased research has come further evidence that many of these time-honored practices do, indeed, have scientific merit. Such discoveries come as no surprise to NEWSTART® members who have experienced the power of non-drug therapies.
On the other hand, increased research suggests that other “natural healing” approaches are not of value. Although this may seem obvious, lay consumers are often put in an awkward position. Where can they find unbiased information on what natural therapies may or may not be effective? Let me suggest you not forget the NEWSTART® Lifestyle Club as one source of information. If you, as a club member, are wondering about whether a supplement or other natural product might improve your current lifestyle, don’t hesitate to ask your question here. If on the other hand, you feel that you or a friend or family member might enroll in an upcoming NEWSTART® Lifestyle 18-day program, you can rest assured our doctors will help you determine whether a given supplement or treatment strategy is likely to be helpful in the course of your stay there.