An Introduction to Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Healthcare Providers

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Reviews the book, Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Older Adults: A Guide to Holistic Approaches to Healthy Aging edited by Elizabeth R. Mackenzie and Birgit Rakel(see record 2006-08619-000). This book is a compilation of approaches, treatment modalities, studies, and resources contributed by experts in various fields of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Many CAM treatments are based on a holistic approach to the person, as opposed to the conventional Western allopathic approach to treating (i.e., suppressing) the presenting symptoms or condition. Exceptions are Chapters 2 and 3 (on diet, supplements, and herbs) that generally take a more conventional approach to treating symptoms and conditions. In other chapters, the reader is introduced to treatments that are based on a variety of underlying assumptions, including homeopathic remedies chosen on the basis of eliciting similar symptoms to those experienced by the patient (Chapter 4); music and art therapies to engage creative expression (Chapters 5 and 6); massage, yoga, ayurveda, acupuncture, and traditional Chinese medicine approaches to, among other effects, restore balance and energy flow (Chapters 7-13); the role of spirituality (Chapters 8, 10, 11, 13, and 14); and healthy environments (Chapters 15 and 16). Many chapters in the book are read easily, although contrary to the statement on the back cover that the book, “provides… information that older adults may use as they seek to improve their health,” much of the material is not appropriate for a lay audience; furthermore, some material will be unfamiliar to and/or beyond some professionals' backgrounds, including many psychologists. This volume addresses a specific, important lacuna in the existing CAM literature: an introduction to its use with older adults for healthcare providers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

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