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Complementary and Alternative Medicine Overview

What are the different types of CAM?

Many different fields make up the practice of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). In addition, many components of one field may overlap with the components of another field (an example is acupuncture). Examples of CAM include:

  • Traditional Alternative Medicine - This field includes the more mainstream and accepted forms of therapy, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and oriental practices. Traditional alternative medicine has been practiced for centuries worldwide. Traditional alternative medicine may include:
    • acupuncture
    • ayurveda
    • homeopathy
    • naturopathy
    • Chinese/Oriental
  • Body - Touch has been used in medicine since the early days of medical care. Healing by touch is based on the idea that illness or injury located in one area of the body can affect all parts of the body. If, with manual manipulation, the other parts can be brought back to optimum health, the body can concentrate on healing at the site of injury or illness without distraction. Examples of body therapies include:
    • chiropractic
    • massage
    • body movement
    • tai chi
    • yoga
  • Diet and Herbs - Over the centuries, man has gone from a simple diet consisting of meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains, to a diet that often consists of foods rich in fats, oils, and complex carbohydrates. Nutritional excess and nutritional deficiency have become problems in today's society, both leading to certain chronic diseases. Many dietary and herbal approaches attempt to balance the body's nutritional well-being. Dietary and herbal approaches may include:
    • dietary supplements
    • herbal medicine
  • External Energy - Some people believe external forces (energies) from objects or other sources directly affect a person's health. An example of external energy therapy is:
    • electromagnetic therapy
  • Mind - Even standard/conventional medicine recognizes the power of the connection between mind and body. Studies have found that people heal better if they have good emotional and mental health. Therapies using the mind may include:
    • meditation
    • biofeedback
    • hypnosis
  • Senses - Some people believe the senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste) can affect overall health.
    • art, dance, and music
    • imaging

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Online Resources of Complementary & Alternative Medicine

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