How’s Business?: Alternative Healing

By Joe Palumbo

During the last several weeks the medical arena has been focused on high-cost malpractice insurance and President George Bush’s proposal to cap punitive damages with the goal of keeping costs down for patients, insurance providers and the government.

In an effort to keep costs down as well as to seek enhanced personal attention to its aches and pains, the public has also sought an alternative. It’s called “alternative healing.” The Chinese population is a big provider of this growing service. More and more New Yorkers are exploring the known traditional Chinese therapies of acupressure, acupuncture and even herbal teas.

With this continued growing interest, Flushing has become a hub for alternative therapy. I spoke with Wanlin Zhang of Alternative Healing Solutions at 132-65 Pople Ave. Zhang pointed out that more and more physicians are endorsing alternative healing.

The key to successful treatments is the extraction of body toxins, a practice that in most cases conventional medicine does not follow, she said. Zhang emphasized how happy she is that New York state is seeking the improved testing and licensing of alternative medicine, acknowledged by Gov. George Pataki.

Adding to the credibility of alternative healing is the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which is conducting clinical trials as well as recommending acupuncture. Insurance companies, however, do not reimburse treatments involving acupuncture or herbal medicine treatments.

But that does not seem to bother those seeking alternative care, as evidenced by the growing number of those seeking such treatment. The business remains quite difficult to market, though, as some Westerners are reluctant to patronize local clinics, such as those in Flushing, Zhang said.

These potential customers are more comfortable in familiar surroundings, she said. Another obstacle is communication (Zhang speaks English well), leading to frustrated Western clients, she said. So where do these clients go?

With the growth potential in alternative healing and medicine, Western-trained practitioners are entering into this field, and their numbers are growing. So how’s business in alternative healing?

With clear indications of an ever-increasing Western populace prepared to explore and examine this alternative to conventional Western medicine, growth appears positive. If these treatments and remedies are all they say they are, growth can be quite explosive.

Joe Palumbo is the fund manager for The Palco Group, Inc. and can be reached at palcogroup@aol.com or 718-461-8317.

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