In November of 1998 The Journal of the American Medical Association devoted an entire issue to alternative medicine for the first time in its publishing history. According to survey results reported in the journal, 83 million Americans used some form of alternative medicine to preserve and maintain their health in 1997, a sharp increase from the 61 million who turned to alternative forms of care in 1990. Michael S. Goldstein's Alternative Health Care is the first comprehensive account of the growing presence of alternative medicine in American society. Beginning with the basic premises of alternative medicine, Goldstein's book examines the clinical, economic, and political realities of the broad range of alternative care options and practices in the United States and explains why alternative medicine has become a viable choice for so many people who are ill or who seek to remain healthy. Bringing history, policy, practice, personal experience, and in-depth sociological analysis together into one comprehensive volume, Goldstein -- one of the first recipients of funding from the National Institute of Health for research on alternative medicine -- also studies the complexities of the relationship between spirituality and alternative medicine and the changing role of alternative medicine in the larger context of American health care. Probing such issues as the corporatization of medicine, the role of alternative medicine in health care, and the dynamic relationship between conventional and alternative treatments, Goldstein's Alternative Health Care is more than the long-awaited introduction to the many forms of alternative medicine. It is also the measure of the implications of such care for practitioners, businesses, policymakers, and patients alike. Alternative Health Care is the definitive guide for the millions of Americans interested in alternative medicine and treatment, American health care, the sociology of medicine, and American social issues.