What is complementary and alternative medicine?

By TNT Bureau

Aug 4, 2017:  Popularly known as CAM, complementary and alternative medicine is that type of medicine which consists of numerous treatment advancements categorized outside the area of traditional medicine.

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A growing amount of investigation is being done to create the security and effectiveness of alternative medicine. However, when compared to conventional western therapies like drugs, good amount of research on this type of medicine is still needed.

Finding the differences

It is significant to know the difference between complementary medicine and alternative medicine. Even though these two concepts are frequently lumped together however in true sense, they differ.

Complementary medicine is more concerned about healing practices that work in combination with conventional medicine. For instance, a patient who is suffering from cancer and receives chemotherapy might at the same time undergo acupuncture to help administer chemo side effects such as vomiting and nausea.

Alternative medicine varies in that it is not used as a complement to, but quite as an alternative for conventional therapy. For instance, a cancer patient who undergoes recommended chemotherapy and instead selects to treat the illness with precise dietary changes.

Who uses CAM?

A recent survey conducted by  The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine or NCCAM revealed that around 40% adults and 12% children use complementary and alternative medicine in some form or the other .

Women between the age group of 40 to 60 and people with high income were found to use CAM often as compared to other people.

There have been substantial increases in the number of people who use some forms of complementary and alternative medicine or the other. Some of the most popular ones are massage therapy, meditation, yoga and acupuncture.

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Varied categories of CAM

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has listed down 5 major categories of complementary and alternative medicine. These include

Mind-body medicine

This includes treatments that are concerned about your mental and emotional situations. Examples are meditation, music therapy etc.

Whole medical systems

This refers to the entire systems of medicinal theory and practice, several of which revert thousands of years and have roots in non-western cultures. Examples include traditional Chinese medicine and ayurveda, a therapy that originated in India. Whole medical systems from the West include homeopathy and naturopathy.

Manipulative and body-based practices

Depending upon the physical management of the body, this exercise is planned to recover precise symptoms and health as a whole. Examples are osteopathy and chiropractic.

Energy medicine

This alternative medicine makes use of energy fields to endorse healing. It affects energy fields that encircle your body. Practices include qi gong and reiki.

Biologically based practices

This lays focus on herbs, nutrition, and vitamins, dietary supplements and herbal medicine. A rising interest in such types of therapies is resulting in more and more researches, but several of these biologically based forms have yet to be methodically tested.

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