Alternative Therapies Author: Joy McIntyre

The National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) has begun what promises to be a long and controversial process of investigating a vast array of alternative treatments-including therapies such as Chinese herbs, binaural feedback, massage, and mind-body techniques-for efficacy against a wide range of health threats.

Nearly $8 million in funds previously earmarked by Congress will go out over three years to eight research centers throughout the United States specializing in such treatment areas as pain; stroke and neurological conditions; women's ailments, from pregnancy to menopause; cancer; lower back pain; coronary problems; addictions; HIV and AIDS; asthma, allergy, and immunology; and aging. Similar funding of slightly more than $900,000 each for two additional centers was dispersed last year.

The research supported by the awards, if confirming data from clinical trials are collected, may acknowledge some alternative techniques as useful, perhaps integrating them into...

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