Kidney School™—a program of Medical Education Institute, Inc.

Module 15—Alternative Treatments

Complementary medicine treatments are not miracle cures—but they may improve health and reduce stress in your life. In doing so, some symptoms may improve. Some people who use these treatments have noted:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • More energy
  • Better sleep
  • Less pain
  • Better control of blood sugar

If you have diabetes, complementary medicine will not replace your need to take insulin, and it cannot cure your kidney problems. But you may notice better day-to-day well-being, a greater awareness of your body, better emotional balance and mental clarity, and a sense of confidence that adds joy to your life.

A modern history of alternative treatments

  • The 1970s – Many people began to try new treatments. Scientists began studies to see if the new treatments held any promise.
  • 1978 – American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) founded.
  • 1989 – American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) formed as clearinghouse for information and referrals.
  • Since 1990 – 11 states passed freedom-of-practice laws so doctors can offer alternative treatments without losing their licenses.
  • 1992 – Congress created the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).
  • 1993Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide was published—a 1,100 page "bible" of 50 types of treatment for more than 200 diseases.
  • 2000 – President Clinton created the 20-member White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy, which made recommendations in March 2002.

Not so alternative any more?

As you read about the treatments in this module, you'll see that most were started by people who were already doctors or healers. Many treatments once thought to be "on the edge" are now used often with Western medicine.

In fact, in 1992, the U.S. Congress started the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Later, the office became the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM, In fiscal year 2007, NCCAM received $121.5 million for research and education. This is almost twice the initial funding of $68 million in 2000.

CAUTION! Please check with your doctor before trying any alternative therapies; not all therapies are safe and/or recommended for people with kidney disease. The information presented here is for informational purposes only.
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