Alternative medicine offers many interesting research paper topics. Alternative therapies, homeopathic remedies and complementary medicine have become more widely accepted and are used by all racial and ethnic groups who use herbal medicine and natural remedies.
Learn more about each ethnic groups’ therapies, as well as the proliference and evolution of alternative therapies here.
Alternative therapies by different ethnic groups
You can write your term paper on the many different cultures and ethnicities that practice various forms of traditional and alternative medicine. In the book, African American Alternative Medicine: Using Alternative Medicine to Prevent and Control Chronic Diseases, Eric J. Bailey reports on various studies showing methods, treatments and conditions of various racial and ethnic groups. For example, African Americans most often use spiritual healing, Chinese use herbal remedies, Latin American women use dietary healing, and whites use dietary methods and physical healing, such as massage and acupuncture. Conditions ethnic groups use alternative therapies for include menstrual discomfort, fibroid pain, upset stomach, colonic cleansing, colds, swelling, stress, and disease prevention.
Ethnic groups use alternative therapies to help the body heal itself. “The basic assumption behind the use of herbs/home remedies links the natural organic properties of herbs with the natural healing capabilities of human beings. Herbalists use these organic substances in an effort to neutralize or eliminate one’s body of harmful substances that impair its power to heal itself,” wrote Bailey.
Proliferance of alternative therapies
According to a recent study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about a third of Americans use therapies for illness or disease outside of a doctor’s office. These therapies include omega-3 oils to lower the risk of heart disease; probiotics, a good bacteria found in yogurt, to aid digestion; melatonin to regulate sleep patterns; as well as physical therapies like deep breathing, chiropractors and yoga. The study also found that some alternative therapies adopted in the past are less popular today, such as Echinacea to shorten the length of a cold, garlic supplements, and traditional cultural healers.
In “A third of Americans use alternative medicine,” by Jen Christensen in CNN.com February 11, 2015, Dr. Josephine P. Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, explained: “The use of melatonin, shown in studies to have some benefits for sleep issues, has risen dramatically….Conversely, the use of Echinacea has fallen, which may reflect conflicting results from studies on whether it’s helpful for colds. This reaffirms why it is important for NIH to study these products and to provide that information to the public.”
Evolution of alternative medicine
You could also write a research paper on the ways alternative therapies have grown in popularity and acceptance by the medical community. In “The Evolution of Alternative Medicine” in The Atlantic, June 25, 2015, author Jennie Rothenberg explained that the New England Journal of Medicine published a paper in 1993 about the extensive use of alternative medicine. In the 1990s, Congress created the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine with a $50 million budget to study various alternative treatments.
Recently, the word alternative was removed from the name, which is now the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. It focuses on a more homeopathic approach to healing that integrates body, mind and spirit. Integrative doctors see themselves as part of the medical establishment, Rothenberg reported. “I don’t like the term ‘alternative medicine,’” says Mimi Guarneri, a cardiologist who founded the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine and the integrative center at Scripps Research Institute. “Because it implies, ‘I’m diagnosed with cancer and I’m going to not do any chemo, radiation, or any conventional medicine, I’m going to do juicing.’”
For more information, check out Questia’s library on Alternative Medicine.
Are there other alternative medicine topics you suggest doing more research on? Share them with us in the comments.