Americans spend about 16% of GDP on healthcare, which is the highest rate throughout the world. However, Americans live shorter lives than many other industrial countries in the world. Large amounts of money (about 75%) were spent on heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, hypertension, stroke, and obesity. Although the top health killers (heart disease, cancer and stroke) have dropped in the past several decades, Americans are still at a high risk especially for those who do not have insurance or easy access to medical care. American health care is a ‘disease care’ with little focus on prevention. It is a cycle of more expense and less delivery, as end stage of diseases usually used most of the resources. Conventional medicine is focused on special part of human body. Prescription and procedure are straightforward and effective at the cost of side effects and a high expense. At some points, People are treated as ‘statistics’ or ‘machines’ instead of humans. The treatment based upon the data pool may not be applied to an individual.
Most of these diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, or obesity, are preventable if we watch our diet, stop smoking, manage stress appropriately, and exercise regularly. Life style change is more important especially when dealing with these preventable chronic diseases. Complementary alternative medicine (CAM) pays more attention to whole body, with the belief that each part of body is communicative and influences the others. As of today, American people are increasingly aware of the importance of CAM. Thirty-eight percent of American adults and 12% children use CAM including chiropractic, acupuncture, Yoga, Chinese herbal medicine, TaiChi, Qigong, meditation, massage, or food supplements to beat stress, relieve fatigue, kill pain, solve insomnia, and control body weight. CAM is easy, convenient, cost effective, and has little or no side effects. Ancient art and skills of healing, with a history of a thousand years, now have modern significance.
Keeping individuals healthy mentally and physically requires prevention, medication, and procedures. Integrative medicine, blending both conventional medicine and complementary alternative medicine equally, will be the future of medicine. Conventional medicine, supported by advanced scientific research and technique, is good at management of acute and severe diseases. CAM, a holistic medicine, handles chronic or preventable diseases very well. Integrative medicine system is the most appropriate model that can deliver high quality and affordable health care to American people.
The journal of the American Association of Integrative Medicine is a forum for anyone with the same beliefs about integrative medicine, which will be mainstream in the near future. We welcome articles, studies, letters/correspondence, advertisement, and news. Authors and readers can network and exchange opinions each other.