Lessons from a Flooded Inbox via Google Alerts for

Summary: Toss a switch at Google Alerts and you you can witness the proliferation of integrative medicine and alternative medicine initiatives and coverage. Since August 3, 2011, Google has sent me updates for “Integrative medicine” and “alternative medicine.” The results are astonishing. I include a selection of 40 links – 20 from as many hospital-based integrative clinics. The level of activity got me thinking about the optimal role for the Integrator. I include some thoughts. Thanks to adviser Glenn Sabin for teaching this troglodyte about this exceptional service.

Go to Google Alerts to set up your own preferences. 


Highlights action in alternative/integrative medicine

New Integrator adviser Glenn Sabin recently opened my eyes to a startling resource. Some of you undoubtedly are already using it. It’s also available to be individualized by each of you.

I had asked Sabin how he knew about certain developments he shared with me on new integrative oncology and integrative clinics, his specialties. Sabin, whose review of my website made it clear that I have one foot in the 19th Century, turned me on to Google Alerts. Tell Google your interests and the Google machine sends

On August 3, 2011 I set myself up for daily alerts for
articles related to “integrative medicine” and “alternative medicine”
and “integrative oncology.”

Have you ever been experienced?
Blame the new documentary on Ken Kesey’s Magic Bus tour I recently saw for the lyric.
Well, I have. The kaleidoscopic swirls of activity in integrative and alternative medicine are simply astonishing: mainstream news, TV blurbs, integrative clinic promos, new products, blog-blasts from the anti-CAM academics, and, not altogether surprising, a set of fundraisers for integrative medicine services.

Activity was definitely spiked in this period by the July 2011 Consumer Reports survey on CAM use and the August 2011 Penny George Institute group’s survey of CAM use by health professionals. Still, be prepared to be inundated.

To give you a sense, here are some of the alternative/integrative fish hauled in by the Google web during August 2011. The highlights link you to the Google-referenced piece.


Selected Links for August 2011 from Google Alerts
for “Alternative Medicine” and “Integrative Medicine”


Tailoring to your interest

Hospital-based integrative centers

Media & Blogs

Organizations & Businesses

Antagonists (a.k.a. elf-described quack busters)


Lesson #1 (Historic): In 1996 I was first approached to write a monthly newsletter on developments in integrating (then) complementary and alternative medicine with mainstream healthcare. The publishers, at then St. Anthony’s Publishing, asked: Is there enough activity in complementary and alternative medicine to fill a newsletter? I assured them there was. I wasn’t sure. The process of what I then called “CAM-grafting” had only just begun.

Lesson #2 (Utility): I reported to Sabin my astonishment at the flood. He laughed, via email, that he’d limited his utility to me as an adviser to the Integrator.
He’d shared his secret. Now the secret is out to all of you who didn’t know how to use the Alerts already. The Integrator is similarly compromised. 


What does one bring to the table
 if one wants to turn the tables?

Lesson #3 (Service): It occurs that it might be useful for the Integrator to publish a perhaps better organized quick scan like this monthly. Thoughts?

Lesson #4 (Mission): Integrator adviser Pamela Snider, ND and I recently worked on a joint presentation for the annual meeting of the Naturopathic Medical Student Association. The subject was naturopathic philosophy, Snider’s specialty, and its relationship to integrative medicine. Snider urged that our core message be:

“The question is not whether we will be integrated. The question is what we will be when we are. What will we bring to the table?”

My principal reflection after this month of Google Alerts is aligned. The highest and best use for the Integrator may be to land, as frequently as possible, less on what is going on than on what it is that the integration of complementary, alternative and integrative modalities, disciplines and systems is bringing to US healthcare. Are we effecting the kind of change people need? What does one bring to the table if on wants to turn the tables? Do you have suggestions about how I can point this newsletter to help in this process?

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Written by John Weeks

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