Traditional medicine is a tightly controlled system of regulations, accreditation, approval, and licenses. Providers of health care—physicians, midlevel practitioners, nurses—must be licensed, and their licenses depend on training, postgraduate education, and certifying examinations. The settings in which health care is provided—hospitals, chronic care facilities, and home care programs—must be accredited by the Joint Committee on Accreditation of Health Organizations (JCAHO). The drugs must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency responsible for judging the safety and effectiveness of new drugs. The organizations that finance health care (private insurers, Medicaid, Medicare, Blue Cross/Blue Shield) are regulated by agencies of the federal and state governments. (In a way, the financers of health care largely drive the system: they will not reimburse for care by unlicensed care providers, for stays in nonaccredited facilities, or for treatment with unapproved drugs.)     This system of controls is set up to safeguard the public. The controls are meant to stop people or programs or institutions from claiming to offer services or cures that are in fact unnecessary, useless, or unproven.*176\191\2*

Chinese medical practitioners often use herbs to act on the twelve body lines mentioned above. Many herbs and combinations of herbs are recommended for treatment of HIV infection and are available in health food stores. The most popular herb is raw garlic; it is used for many conditions and is available as odorless capsules of garlic oil. Recent scientific studies indicate that garlic may have wide-ranging health benefits, although the usefulness of this or any other herb for people with HIV infection is not known.     Advocates of herbal medicine believe that herbs improve the immune system. Many of these herbs and combinations of herbs have side effects that include nausea and vomiting, allergic reactions, liver damage, blurred vision, dry mouth, nervousness, sedation, and hallucinations.     Body Work-One form of body work is endurance exercise programs and weight lifting. Another form of body work is yoga, a Hindu philosophical system of balancing mind and body through breathing and posturing exercises. A third form of body work is t’ai chi, a Chinese exercise program that achieves a balance between mind and body through slow movements. There is no evidence that body work is harmful if done within reason. It may be beneficial, and it certainly makes the people who practice it feel better.*193\191\2*

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