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Alternative Medicine

Philosophy of CAM

20 years, 3 months ago

20216  0
Posted on Nov 07, 2003, 12 p.m. By Bill Freeman

The Philosophy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine While many are familiar with the conventional health care practices of today, many are unfamiliar with the philosophies, methods, and treatments used in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Therapies are denoted as "complementary" when used in addition to conventional medical treatments and as "alternative" when used instead of conventional medical treatment.

The Philosophy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

While many are familiar with the conventional health care practices of today, many are unfamiliar with the philosophies, methods, and treatments used in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Therapies are denoted as "complementary" when used in addition to conventional medical treatments and as "alternative" when used instead of conventional medical treatment. Studies show that CAM therapies are designed to safely and effectively treat and prevent various health conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis.

Many CAM therapies are denoted as "holistic," which means that the healthcare professional considers the entire patient including the physical, mental, and emotional aspects. In addition, many CAM therapies are referred to as "preventive," which means that rather than simply treating the symptoms, the healthcare professional treats and simultaneously educates the patient to help prevent the symptoms from taking place again and again.

To break it down even further, CAM therapies may be grouped into five major fields including alternative medical systems, mind-body interventions, biologically-based treatments, manipulative and body-based methods, and energy therapies. These may include, but are certainly not limited to, acupuncture, herbal medicines, and osteopathy.

More and more, people are discovering complementary and alternative treatments and their ability to promote well-being as well as relief of specific health problems. Today, approximately 69% of the U.S. populace reports using at least one form of CAM in any given year and roughly 64% of U.S. medical schools offer CAM courses. As the safety, effectiveness, and popularity of CAM therapies grow, it will be interesting to see what the future trends have in store for American health care.

References
Major Domains of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (n. d.). Retrieved February 8, 2002, from http://nccam.nih.gov/fcp/classify/
Kessler W, Goodkind M. (1998, September 23). Americans mingle complementary techniques with traditional medicine. Stanford Online Report. Retrieved from http://www.stanford.edu/dept/news/report/news/september23/altsurvey923.html
Wetzel Ms, Eisenberg DM, Kaptchuk TJ, et al. Courses involving complementary and alternative medicine at US medical schools. JAMA 1998;280(9):784.

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