"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
- Thomas Edison
17 January 2001
I just received a very interesting article from a friend who works at the College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine (Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa).
During the past years the College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine has become a leader in the field of alternative health in North America. Some of their research on the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program was published in the American Journal of Cardiology (1996; 77:867-870) and in Hypertension (1995; 26:820-827 and 1996; 28: 228-237).
In November 1996, the American Heart Association chose blood pressure research on the Transcendental Meditation program as one of the most significant studies for health from among all their 10 medical journals.
I hope you will enjoy the following article as it shows that the US government is giving more attention to alternative therapies.
Robert Schneider Addresses White House Commission on Alternative Health
In December Robert Schneider, M.D., dean of the College of Maharishi Vedic Medicine, was invited to speak to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy during hearings held on Capitol Hill.
The 19 commission members were appointed by President Clinton to make recommendations to the President, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Congress regarding policy on complementary and alternative medicine. At issue are questions such as whether programs like Medicaid and Medicare should reimburse natural medicine treatments.
Dr. Schneider said that the commission was a response to the reality that more than 40 percent of the population in the U.S. uses natural medicine and other approaches and that the actual number of patient visits to alternative practitioners exceeds visits to conventional providers of primary care.
The Need for Natural Medicine
"People are voting with their feet," Dr. Schneider says. "The reason is that modern medicine has failed the American public. There are 125 million people with chronic disorders that are not being cured or prevented by modern medicine. And recent estimates published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicate that conventional medicine is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. due to the high rate of hazardous side effects.
This is why people use natural medicine--they want a cure for or prevention of disease and don't want to be killed in the process."
The government is now being forced to confront these facts and must decide how to respond--hence the commission. They are exploring issues such as licensing, regulation, education, and reimbursement.
In the one-hour session of testimony by three panelists representing systems of natural medicine, Dr. Schneider presented Maharishi Vedic Medicine--, including the data on clinical effectiveness, cost effectiveness, and patient satisfaction.
Dr. Schneider, who heads the University's federally funded Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention, was invited to testify because of his highly regarded research on Maharishi Vedic Medicine, which has been supported by nearly $20 million in grants.
He said that the commission was impressed with the research, with one member commenting that the evidence for the effects of Maharishi Vedic Medicine, especially the Transcendental Meditation technique, on heart disease is as impressive as any other program available today.
The Most Complete Approach
Dr. Schneider said that his impression was that the commission, which included the former director of the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine and other health specialists, as well as consumers and business persons connected to the natural medicine field, was impressed not only by the impeccable research but also by the extensive clinical experience with Maharishi Vedic Medicine around the world.
The commission commented that Maharishi Vedic Medicine stood out as being the most complete approach, given that it can treat and prevent the whole range of maladies. They were also impressed with the potential for treatment without harmful side effects.
Taking the Next Step
Dr. Schneider said that the questions they asked were very practical, such as how do we implement this, how can we deliver it to people who want it, how should we set up things such as approvals, licensure, and payment?
The hearings are continuing, with a report due next summer. The report will go to leaders in the federal government as well as to the health-related committees of the U.S. Congress. This report will be used in creating new legislation and national policy that will support prevention-oriented, side-effect-free natural medicine for all U.S. citizens.