Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Brief Description About the Categories

Posted by

Complementary medicine is used in juxtaposition with more conventional remedies; alternative medicine is used by itself.

CAM, or Complementary and alternative medicine is a category of medicine that includes a multiplicity of treatment approaches that fall outside the dominion of conventional medicine. An escalating amount of research is being done to establish the efficacy and safety of alternative medicine. But compared with conventional Western therapies such as drugs, investigation on alternative medicine is still restricted.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: What’s the Difference?

It is significant to comprehend the difference between alternative medicine and complementary medicine— the two approaches are often bound together but are, in fact, discrete.

Complementary medicine refers to healing products and practices that work in combination with traditional medicine. For instance, a cancer patient receiving chemotherapy may also experience acupuncture to help manage chemo side effects like vomiting and nausea. Alternative medicine varies in that it is not used as an accompaniment to, but rather as a replacement for traditional therapy. An instance would be a cancer patient who declines recommended chemotherapy and instead chooses to treat the disease with particular nutritional changes.

According to Splankna Therapy Institute, there is a third group that also often gets lumped in with alternative and conventional medicine — integrative medicine. Integrative medicine draws from both alternative medicine and complementary medicine and combines these with conventional Western therapies.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) distinguishes five major categories of complementary and alternative medicine:

  • Mind-body medicine- Mind-body medicine includes healing that concentrates on how one’s emotional and mental status affects and interacts on the body’s ability to function. Examples include meditation and diverse therapies expressed through music and art.
  • Whole medical systems- This group refers to complete systems of medical practice and theory, many of which go back hundreds of years and have roots in non-Western cultures. Instances include traditional Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, a therapy that originated in India. Whole medical systems from the West include naturopathy and homeopathy.
  • Body-based and manipulative practices. Depending on the physical manipulation of the body, this practice is intended to develop overall health and specific symptoms. Examples of these practices include osteopathy and chiropractic.
  • Energy medicine- This type of alternative medicine uses energy fields to endorse healing. Biofield therapies influence energy fields that are said to enclose the human body — forms include Splankna , qi gong, and Reiki. Bio-electromagnetic based therapies, for instance, magnet therapy, involve the operation of electromagnetic fields.
  • Biologically based practices- Since the focus is on nutrition, herbs, and vitamins, herbal medicine and dietary supplements are perhaps the most common forms of organically based alternative and complementary medicine. A budding interest in these types of therapies is leading to more research, but many of these organically based practices have yet to be comprehensively tested.

If you are taking into consideration about using alternative or complementary therapy, ensure you consult with your customary doctor and make inquiries before your first session.