BY JAMES MORGANTE, MDiv
...Mr. Morgante, a certification-eligible member of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains, lives in Spokane, WA.
The current widespread interest in alternative and complementary medicine focuses attention on an understanding of health, disease, and the respective roles of physicians and patients that is very different from the conventional medical view.* These differences raise questions, particularly for spiritual care providers in health care settings, about the theological point of view concerning such things.
* A 1991 Harvard Medical School survey estimated that, during the previous year, Americans had made more visits to alternative practitioners than to primary care physicians (Nurse's Handbook of Alternative & Complementary Therapies Springhouse Corporation
, Springhouse, PA, 1999, p.4).Six years later, a Harvard Medical School survey found that 42 percent of Americans were using alternative therapies, for which they were spending $21 billion annually.