Understanding Complementary & Alternative Medicine

Overview

With the rise of new health concerns as well as the growing disillusionment caused by drugs and modern medicine, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has gained popularity. More and more people are embracing this approach to maintain their bodies and to cure different conditions. Many health blogs and articles are now focusing on this new form of medicine. Statistics show that about 38% of adults and 12% of children in the United States use CAM.

What is CAM?

In simple terms, CAM is a set of medical and health practices, approaches, and products that are not considered part of modern or conventional medicine. Examples of CAM include:

  • Ayurvedic Medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Homeopathy
  • Naturopathy, e.t.c.

Is CAM Different from Alternative Medicine?

Even though the two health approaches may sound like one, they are quite different in terms of applicability. While complementary medicine is administered together with conventional medicine, alternative medicine is a substitute for conventional medicine.

However, it is worthy to note that at times, CAM is used with conventional medicine, and this blend is known as Integrative Medicine. For CAM to be incorporated in conventional medicine, there has to be scientific proof of the CAM’s effectiveness in curing the condition.

Is CAM Safe and Effective?

The debate on whether CAM is safe and effective is an unending one. In many health articles, this is a major topic that creates some sort of controversy. While there is no documented scientific evidence that supports the idea of CAM being safe and effective, integrative medicine seems to give us some clues.

If CAM was unsafe and ineffective, it wouldn’t have been used together with conventional medicine. However, this may not be convincing for many pro-modern medicine believers. On the other hand, if you look at the popularity of CAM and its rapid growth, it seems the health approach is safe and effective, otherwise the number of people using it would not be rising.

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