Alternative Medicine Helps Healing, Yet News Media Ignore Study Results

By Witham, Larry | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 5, 1999 | Go to article overview

Alternative Medicine Helps Healing, Yet News Media Ignore Study Results


Witham, Larry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The skeptical news media have failed to investigate evidence that alternative healing methods help patients when regular medicine falls short, an investigative reporter has written in a new book.

Author Diane Goldner, who took four years to research "Infinite Grace: Where the Worlds of Science and Spiritual Healing Meet," found 179 studies in which alternative medicine or spiritual healing has helped nearly 73 percent of patients. The practice uses the touch or healing power of a practitioner to alleviate pain or eradicate an ailment.

"No journalist bothers to investigate" the practice, she said. "They just take information spoon fed from the American Medical Association."

Miss Goldner said her research is at odds with the treatment of alternative healing methods by television news magazines, which send a camera crew to film a healer in a hospital and then show a science expert calling it quackery.

In response to inquiries about the Goldner book, the American Medical Association (AMA) cited its 1997 statement on alternative healing.

"There is little evidence to confirm the safety or efficacy of most alternative therapies," the AMA said. Most studies of the therapies "makes it clear that many have not been shown to be efficacious."

Dr. David Larson, director of the National Institute for Healthcare Research, has spent the 1990s documenting the health benefits of religious practices and said the news media report it generously.

On alternative medicine, he said, "The medical community would see this as fringe. It's a new area. As a researcher, I say we need to put it to the test."

Miss Goldner agreed the practice needs more research to gain credibility, but "There's more research than most people realize," she added. …

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