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Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is the popular term for health and wellness treatments that are usually not part of conventional western medicine.

Complementary therapies are considered to be used together with conventional medicine.

Alternative therapies include treatments used in the place of conventional medicine.

Complementary medicine focuses on the whole of the individual and includes physical, emotional, mental and mental health.

Integrative Medicine combines or incorporates the best conventional medical care with the best complementary therapies based on scientific evidence.

Complementary Medicine has never been more popular. 30% of people report using complementary and alternative therapies. Doctors also embrace complement therapies, often combining them with classical medical treatments, creating the term Integrative Medicine.

Complementary therapies are classified by the NCCIH of the United States as:

  • Natural products (food supplements and herbs). These treatments use ingredients found in nature.
  • Approaches of mind, body, soul, which stimulate the communication of the body. As these two systems must be in harmony to be healthy. Some of these practices are meditation, relaxation techniques, art treatments, chiropractic, osteopathic, massage, etc.
  • Other complementary approaches to health focusing on a philosophy, such as the power of nature, or the presence of energy in our bodies. Examples of such approaches include:

Ancient Therapeutic Systems: These systems emerged long before conventional western medicine, such as Ayurveda from India and traditional Chinese medicine.

Homeopathy: This approach uses very small doses of medicine that cause symptoms to stimulate the body’s self-healing response.

Neuropathic: This approach focuses on non-invasive therapies that help our body make its own treatment and use various practices such as acupuncture, massage, herbal, exercise and lifestyle advice.

Why Some Doctors Are Reckless With Complementary Therapies?

Many conventional doctors have not received complementary therapies or Integrative Medicine, so they may not feel comfortable recommending or dealing with questions in this area.

Doctors also have good reason to be careful when it comes to some additional treatment. Conventional treatments of classical Western medicine have been proven through research and testing to be safe and effective. While there is scientific evidence for some complementary medicine treatments, for many there are key questions that have not yet been answered.

In addition, some complementary therapists are making excessive claims about treating illnesses and some are asking you to give up treatment from your conventional doctor. For these reasons, many physicians are cautious about setting up these therapies.

Why is there less scientific data on complementary therapies?

One reason for the lack of research into complementary therapies is that large, carefully controlled medical studies are costly. Testing for conventional therapies is often funded by large companies that develop and sell medicines. Fewer resources are available to support trials of complementary medicine treatments. This is why the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (NCCIH) was established in the United States of America to promote research into complementary therapies and make findings available to the public.