Whether disappointed by traditional medicine or in search of a more natural and less invasive method to soothe chronic or acute conditions and complaints, readers will find The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine a balanced and authoritative resource reflecting the expanding range of medical treatments increasingly available to the patient as consumer. Like the recent Gale Encyclopedia of Senior Health, the update to the Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine reflects a shift away from practitioner omnifiscence towards patient information and advocacy. The dense contents of the four-volume encyclopedia could be easily restructured as three standalone volumes on diseases and conditions, herbs and remedies, and alternative therapies, but the integrated format with boldface type reflecting related articles allows readers to explore a broad range of techniques without either impenetrable medical jargon or commercial misinformation. Each of the articles about a disease or condition discusses a range of treatment options: conventional pharmaceutical treatments, herbal remedies, a range of mind/body approaches, exercise and other aspects of holistic care. Particular attention is given to describing systemic support for chronic afflictions like stress and acne, in addition to herbal, Chinese medicinal, or allopathic treatment for illnesses as varied as strep throat and rabies. Entries on alternative treatments offer succinct definitions, origins of the techniques, benefits, preparations, precautions, common side effects, scientific research, and a gauge of mainstream acceptance for each technique, treatment, or nutritional element. The Encyclopedia addresses integrated methods such as the Alexander technique and acupuncture, as well as dietary approaches ranging from veganism to the Zone diet. Benefits and limitations of alternative therapeutic techniques are explored in a seemingly objective manner. References to further supplemental resources conclude each signed article. The discussions of aromatherapy, Bach flower essences and homeopathy are comprehensive introductions to the theory behind those systems, and training and certifications for professionals are also described. The factual and objective description of the efficacy and interactions of a wide range of dietary supplements, modifications and alternative techniques will be of particular use for chronic sufferers of disorders resistant to traditional treatments. Recommended for public and school libraries.