Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. While some scientific evidence exists regarding some CAM therapies, for most there are key questions that are yet to be answered through well designed scientific studies – questions such as whether these therapies are safe and whether they work for the diseases or medical conditions for which they are used.
The list of what is considered to be CAM changes continually, as those therapies that are proven to be safe and effective become adopted into conventional health care and as new approaches to health care emerge.
are built upon complete systems of theory and practice. Cultural influences strongly define these types of systems. In Western cultures, homeopathic and naturopathic medicine have become more popular. In older, non western cultures, traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have emerged. Mind-Body Interventions are based upon the mind’s influence and capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms. Meditation, prayer, mental healing, and therapies which use art, music or dance all fall under this category of healing.
use substances naturally found in nature, such as herbs, foods, and vitamins. Dietary supplements are good for some things but not all. For example, it is yet to be proven that shark cartilage is beneficial in the treatment of cancer. Manipulative and Body-Based Methods are one of the most widely used therapies for the past 110 years. Chiropractic, osteopathy and massage therapy are the most common, however, acupuncture along with several other disciplines use “hand-on” manual methods to promote movement, circulation and nerve stimulation. Energy Therapies have two categories of working with energy fields. Biofield therapies include Reiki, qi gong, Healing Touch and Therapeutic Touch. Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies involve the use of electromagnetic fields.
Yes they are.
is used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy to help lessen a patient's discomfort following surgery.
is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of an alternative therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that has been recommended by a conventional doctor.