Clinic Unites the Traditional, Alternative Forms of Medicine

By Mask, Teresa | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 12, 1998 | Go to article overview

Clinic Unites the Traditional, Alternative Forms of Medicine


Mask, Teresa, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Teresa Mask Daily Herald Staff Writer

To some, alternative medicine conjures thoughts of quackery or commercial marketing efforts to sell miracle drugs.

But some of the treatments, like chiropractic care and acupuncture, are becoming more widely accepted by the general population. More patients are seeking out alternative treatments and more doctors are prescribing them. It's become a multibillion dollar industry in Illinois alone.

Those who practice alternative medicine attribute the popularization to patient curiosity and to physicians realizing there are limits to some of the conventional treatments they can provide.

That's how the Advocate Medical Group's Center for Complementary Medicine was born.

The newly opened center is housed in Lutheran General Hospital's Nesset Pavilion, 1775 Ballard Road in Park Ridge.

It offers homeopathy (treatment with plants and minerals), acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care as well as conventional treatment.

The center is one of the first clinics in the Midwest to bridge traditional and alternative medicine under one roof.

"We like to think of our center as offering the best of both worlds," said Dr. Donald W. Novey, medical director for the center.

But controversy still surrounds alternative medicine as doctors from the American Medical Association continue to express skepticism.

Dr. Yank D. Coble, a trustee on the AMA board, worries the mainstreaming of alternative medicine is simply a ploy on the part of health insurance companies out to make a buck. And he said he is concerned the public is buying into a marketing effort that could prove hazardous to their health.

Still, studies show more than 80 percent of people in the United States would consider using nontraditional forms of medicine.

Businesses that sell herbal products said to heal various ailments are sprouting. And undoubtedly thousands attended the Whole Life Expo in Rosemont that wrapped up this weekend.

Whatever the reasons, the growing movement is leading toward alternative health care in a mainstream setting.

In the Northwest suburbs, for example, some doctors have long been referring patients to specialists for this type of care.

That is one of the surprises Advocate Medical Group discovered as it surveyed doctors on whether they would support a partnership between the group and some alternative medicine specialists.

About a third of doctors said they already were making referrals, and 66 percent said they would refer patients to a proposed clinic, merging alternative and conventional medicine.

Dr. Julie Blankemeir, director of Genesis Center of Health and Empowerment in Des Plaines, said she'll make referrals.

Most of her patients are Spanish-speaking and already rely on curanderos or spiritual healers and those who supply home remedies, so alternative medicines aren't completely foreign to them.

The trouble for Blankemeir was being able to refer to a reputable person. …

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