Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Medicine
University of Phoenix
Introduction to CAM
The practice of complementary and alternative medicinal practices has become more accepted over the last decade. Combining the approach of holistic health system and traditional Western medicine provides a wider variety of health care opportunities.
Complementary and alternative medicine consists of a combination of health care systems, practices and products. These methods of health care are not considered to be types of conventional Western medicine. The terms, complementary and alternative medicine are often grouped together although their actual meanings differ (NCCAM Web Definitions, n.d. & Kaiser Permanente: What is CAM? n.d.).
o Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy.
o Complementary care is the use of nontraditional or alternative methods that complement conventional medicine. Complementary care is also referred to as "integrative" or "blended" medicine. Using guided imagery techniques to help lessen a patient's discomfort and speed recovery following surgery is an example of complementary care.
o Alternative medicine 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.
o Alternative care is used in place of conventional medical treatments. Using melatonin to treat insomnia instead of a prescription sleep aid is an example of alternative care.
• Integrative medicine
o Integrative medicine combines treatments from conventional medicine and CAM for which there is some high-quality evidence of safety and effectiveness. It is also called integrated medicine. An approach to medicine that...