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Editorial
November 1998

Alternative Medicine and DermatologyThe Unconventional Issue

Arch Dermatol. 1998;134(11):1472. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.11.1472

THIS MONTH'S issue of the ARCHIVES and all other scientific journals of the American Medical Association are devoted to the discussion of complementary, alternative, unconventional, and integrative medicine. This topic is particularly applicable to patients with cutaneous disease and to dermatologic clinicians. It is the rare practitioner who has not seen patients who have used folk remedies, herbal medicines, acupuncture, diet, hypnosis, biofeedback, or other remedies outside of traditional allopathic medicine in pursuit of relief from, or cure of, their cutaneous disease. The high percentage of the population who use complementary therapies and the extraordinary number of visits to unconventional medical practitioners, a number that is estimated to exceed the number of visits to primary care physicians, have stimulated us to become more knowledgeable about these areas and to evaluate such practices in an effort to improve our care of patients and to integrate truly helpful remedies into patient care. The National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md, has established an Office of Alternative Medicine, which spends tens of millions of dollars per year on research in this area.

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