A recent article in Run Society’s online magazine about the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine versus Western Medicine for the treatment of running injuries raises a question that has become more and more relevant to many people’s health care decisions.  Where should “alternatives” fit into your own health care?

More than forty two percent of Hospitals across the US are now offering some form of alternative or complementary health care with Acupuncture being among the most popular options.  The Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, and Boston Children’s Hospital among many others are offering the ancient practice of Acupuncture to patients.

In China there was a period of time in the 1980’s through the 2000’s when the younger generation lost interest in their traditional medicine and felt that modern medical science could provide all the answers.  That trend started to reverse a few years ago and now there are literally 100’s of new hospitals that either offer Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) exclusively or integrate TCM and modern medicine for their patients.

TCM Hospitals in China now account for $54 billion in annual revenue!  That represents 16.3% annual growth in the past 5 years.  Acupuncture is a big part of these hospital’s offering but herbal medicines prescribed in these hospitals account for close to half of that enormous revenue number.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website:  “In a 2006 Mayo Clinic study, acupuncture significantly improved symptoms of fibromyalgia. In addition, research shows acupuncture can help manage postoperative dental pain and alleviate chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Acupuncture also appears to offer relief for chronic menstrual cramps and tennis elbow. Additional studies indicate that acupuncture may offer symptomatic relief for a variety of diseases and conditions, ranging from back and neck pain, to osteoarthritis, to depression.”

In China, herbal medicine is used for an even wider range of health conditions than those listed above.  But, is it right for you?  You can find a licensed TCM practitioner in your area here at the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website.  You can also dip your toe in the water by trying the scientifically researched, TCM-based herbal formulas available from Plantiva on this website.