A Fresh Perspective on Alternative Medicine

2 min read

| By Deirdre Hiam |

Oils. Supplements. Cannabis. Everyone has come across some form of alternative medicine during their lives. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, 5th edition identifies many types of alternative medicine being practiced today, including reflexology, acupressure, acupuncture, chelation therapy, kinesiology, yoga, chiropractic, Feldenkrais, polarity therapy, detoxification, naturopathy, Chinese medicine, biofeedback, Ayurveda, and osteopathy. For the practitioner or interested patient, there are current training requirements and listings of organizations as well as descriptions of treatments. This edition is a useful, educational product that crosses from the academic market into the public one effortlessly. The public market is looking for a dependable, thorough, and informative resource to help sort through hundreds of therapies and supplement information.

According to a November 2019 study from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), more than half of practicing doctors in the United States recommend at least one alternative health approach to their patients. “Massage therapy (30.4%) was the most commonly recommended complementary health approach, followed by chiropractic/osteopathic manipulation (27.1%), herbs/nonvitamin supplements (26.5%), yoga (25.6%), and acupuncture (22.4%).”1 

The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, 5th edition helps the user navigate through all these topics. This five-volume encyclopedia includes over 930 entries written and reviewed by professionals with backgrounds in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) studies. With over 71 percent of the entries updated, this edition includes the largest amount of revised entries since the first edition was published. This complete overhaul includes “Key Terms” and “Questions to Ask Your Doctor” sidebars in every entry, updated “Resources” sections for every entry, and a new listing of organizations. This edition was published December 13, 2019.

1 “Analysis of Data Gives Insight into Complementary Health Recommendations from U.S. Physicians.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, December 3, 2019. https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/analysis-of-data-gives-insight-into-complementary-health-recommendations.


Deirdre Hiam


Meet the Author


Deirdre Hiam will celebrate her 20th anniversary at Gale in January. She started as an intern in 2000 and never left. Deirdre has worked primarily on the many different restructurings of the Science team and is currently a member of the BFLASH team (biographies, film, law, automotive, science, and health). She is looking forward to implementing a few of the alternative practices she learned about, starting with some much-needed massage therapy.

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