What is it? The Therapeutic Gap within Conventional Care is comprised of all of medicine paradigms and therapeutic modalities which are not covered by insurance and as a result are not referred by your medical doctor thus you are not informed of their existence – hence a gap.
The gap is filled with Complementary & Alternative Medicines commonly referred to as ‘CAM’ which includes: functional and orthomolecular medicine, Chinese & Oriental medicine, acupuncture, herbal remedies, functional nutritional therapy, functional neurological rehabilitation via multi-sensory stimulation (light, sound, olfactory, visual, laser acupuncture), meditation, mind-body medicine, homeopathy, essential oils, flower essences, and many more.
Each one has a unique action upon the body, mind, emotions and impact physiological mechanisms with different processes. It takes time and keen awareness to discern which modality is the right one for a specific patient and their disorder – it is a unique match that restores natural functions – thus healing.
More than 80% of the world uses Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal medicine as their primary medical service. Currently Stanford University is in the long and tedious process of integrating the insurance billing codes for acupuncture and several states are in the process of passing regulatory laws so that Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal & Oriental Medicine can become part of the USA mainstream healthcare system. The $300,000 project at Stanford University is privately funded by private citizens and not the state or federal governments.
Why does the gap exist in the USA and not in other countries?
In the USA the healthcare system seeks to be evidence-based by the use of scientific research studies like most countries worldwide. The gap exists in the USA because there’s very little money provided for the research necessary to get approval by the Federal government and acceptance into the healthcare system. Other countries governments have funded the research whereas research in the USA is mostly funded by the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industries – hence the research is to advance their product sales and not what is the best ‘medicine’ for the patient. Powerful lobbiest and campaign contributions to congressional candidates by these industries keeps their products and services as the core of the USA healthcare system.
In the USA 99.98% of the monies spent on healthcare research is applied to pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices of which 90% of the funds are from the privately owned manufactures of pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices along with some federal government and University monies.
In comparison, less than 0.02% is applied to CAM. The majority of funding into CAM is by the US military and National Institute of Health and/or a University that is not co-sponsoring research a pharmaceutical company.
Patents & Profits
Fundamental business practice is to create a product which you can patent and then you have a unique product which cannot be sold by a competitor, hence you gain 100% of the market. That is good business as demonstrated by the pharmaceutical and food agriculture industries, hence they can make a lot of money which provides the monetary resources for research for more of their products.
So why don’t the companies that sell natural substances such as herbs or vitamins patent their products and generate monies to fund their own research? It is important to know that you cannot patent a natural substance that exists in nature such as an animal, plant (herbs and food) or a mineral. However, if you extract an ingredient from a plant, concentrate it and shape it into a pill you can now patent it. Today, 50% of all patented pharmaceutical drugs are manufactured from plant and herb extracts. Now that the effective ingredient has ben concentrated it is now advisable that it only be available by prescription via a medical doctor. Another way to patent a natural substance is to genetically modify it such as the trend in the Food agriculture industry.
More than 99% of all monies spent on research are in the areas of pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices, thus the private enterprises which makes the financial investment seek to patent and make a profit from their new product(s). That is good business and it has provided many benefits to US citizens for more than a century, but, not all conditions are treated, managed and sometimes cured by surgical or pharmaceutical drug intervention. But, because the privately held companies have the monies for the research for their medical devices and pharmaceutical drugs they get approved by the Federal government and accepted into the healthcare system, your doctor can then prescribe it without liability.
Because our healthcare is a combination of public and private enterprise, not all research is for the health and welfare of the nations citizens.
Note: Billions of dollars are given to the Universities by the pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing industries to facilitate research of their future products and this influences the curriculum of the medical colleges to be focused upon pharmacological and surgical intervention and not CAM.
How to overcome the gap?
Near Future –
1- Give monies for Stanford to complete the ICD Integration. Contact Marilyn Allen at the American Acupuncture Council.
2- If your state does not allow the practice of Acupuncture and/or Oriental Medicine contact your legislative representative who is sponsoring a bill and ask how you can help.
3- Contact a CAM practitioner and inquire if they can help your health condition and experience these therapeutic modalities first hand – o drugs and no surgery.
Distant Future –
Demand that more federal monies be provided for research to assist the integration into
our healthcare system.