January 19, 2009
For years, Dr. Ali Keshavarzian ignored "alternative" therapies because his Western-trained brain wanted more evidence that they actually worked.But Keshavarzian also knew conventional medicine often needed some assistance. And when he learned his patients were seeking out natural products, acupuncture, meditation and massage, he took a deep breath and dived in.
Ten years later, Keshavarzian straddles both worlds, using Western treatments along with a variety of alternative approaches, a combination known as complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM. "CAM is looking at a patient as a human being, rather than a disease," said Keshavarzian, a gastroenterologist at Rush University Medical Center. "Instead of treating 'ulcerative colitis,' I treat 'Mr. Jones.'"