West J Med. 1998 Apr; 168(4): 241-7.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305-5718, USA.
The widespread use of complementary and alternative medicine techniques, often explored by patients without discussion with their primary care physician, is seen as a request from patients for care as well as cure. In this article, we discuss the reasons for the growth of and interest in complementary and alternative medicine in an era of rapidly advancing medical technology. There is, for instance, evidence of the efficacy of supportive techniques such as group psychotherapy in improving adjustment and increasing survival time of cancer patients. We describe current and developing complementary medicine programs as well as opportunities for integration of some complementary techniques into standard medical care.