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Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Chapter 18. What is CAM?. Complementary Medicine : forms of treatment that is used together with conventional medicine Alternative Medicine : treatment used in place of conventional medicine. Conventional Medicine.

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine(CAM)

Chapter 18


What is CAM?

  • Complementary Medicine: forms of treatment that is used together with conventional medicine

  • Alternative Medicine: treatment used in place of conventional medicine


Conventional Medicine

  • Practiced by medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.)

  • Allied health professionals (psychologists, registered nurses, physical therapists)


Alternative Medicines

  • Serves as an alternative to conventional medicine

  • Users perceive CAM as a more natural and more holistic approach to healing

  • Users may find conventional medicine too invasive, too high tech, or toxic


4 Domains of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

  • 1. Manipulative and body-based practices:

    • Manipulation or movement of body parts

    • Chiropractic medicine

      • Based on idea: Life-giving energy flows through spine via nervous system

      • If spine is misaligned, the force is disrupted

      • Proper alignment of the spine


Energy Medicine

  • Focus on energy fields within the body (biofields) or electromagnetic fields

  • Qi gong (Chinese): movements/exercises to enhance flow of energy (qi)

  • Reiki (Japanese): channeling spiritual energy to heal the physical body

  • Therapeutic touch: healing force with passing the hands over the body


Additional Energy Therapies:

Derivatives of energy therapies include:

  • Acupuncture and Acupressure

    • Acupuncture: insertion of needles to affect the energy flow within body

    • Acupressure: application of pressure to pressure points to balance energy


3. Mind-Body Medicine

  • Techniques designed to enhance the mind’s ability to affect bodily function and symptoms:

    • Meditation

    • Yoga

    • Tai Chi

    • Music & Art therapy

    • Prayer


4. Biologically Based Practices

  • Treatments using substances found in nature:

    • Herbs, special diets, & vitamins

      • Ginko biloba - treat depression, enhance memory

      • St. John’s Wort - mood enhancer, sleep enhancer, supports immune function

      • Echinacea - stimulate immune system, treat symptoms of cold and flu

      • Green tea - antioxidant that combats cell-damaging free radicals

      • Functional foods - oat fiber and soy protein (lowers LDL), yogurt (good bacteria that fights off infections), garlic (lowers cholesterol)


National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

  • (NCCAM) provides information by the government and general recommendations on CAM

  • Most CAM not regulated, not approved by FDA

  • Learn about proper dosage

  • Tell your doctor what CAM you are utilizing (some herbs may affect other medications)


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