Nov 1, Alternative medicine is a term that describes medical treatments that are used instead of traditional (mainstream) therapies. Some people also. Alternative Therapies, Health and Medicine, peer reviewed, journal, alternative, innovision health media, health. Alternative Therapies Group. On June 24th, , ATG became the first dispensary to begin serving registered medical marijuana patients in Massachusetts.
Someone might try complementary health approaches to help improve symptoms or manage side effects from conventional treatments. People may also use CAM when they're not sick. Because many people believe that CAM approaches — such as practicing yoga or taking dietary supplements — can improve overall well being, healthy people often use alternative medicine to try to prevent illness or ensure a healthier lifestyle.
Just as there are many fields in conventional medicine, CAM covers many different practices. In addition to these different practices, CAM includes several whole medical systems.
These alternative medical systems are entire fields of theory and practice, and many date back earlier than the conventional medicine we use in the West today. Examples of alternative medical systems include Traditional Chinese medicine TCM , Ayurveda, homeopathic medicine, and naturopathic medicine.
Alternative medical systems incorporate many of the different practices listed above into their treatments. For example, the TCM practice of acupuncture may be combined with herbal medicine and qi gong.
And Ayurveda includes the mind-body therapies of meditation and yoga, along with the practice of taking specific herbs for health reasons. Sometimes experts have scientific evidence that a CAM practice like acupuncture works, but they don't have a clear understanding of why. Experts haven't researched many CAM supplements and practices enough to tell how effective they are as treatments. Some people may not feel it's worth investing a lot of time or money in treatments that haven't been proven effective.
Alternative healing approaches on their own may not be enough to help a person get well. For example, a bacterial infection needs treatment with antibiotics. And just like traditional medications, dietary supplements may have unwanted side effects.
Another reason you should be up-front with your doctor about CAM is because, in some cases, some natural products can actually interfere with traditional medical treatments. For example, certain herbal supplements can interfere with some prescription drugs, such as birth control pills or antidepressant medication. That's why it's always best to see your doctor if you have a health problem and talk openly about any CAM you are using or might want to try.
As with modern medicine, CAM treatments that are effective for one problem will not help with all problems. Certain treatments are only used for certain problems, so if you want to try an alternative practice for a health reason, make sure it will help the specific problem you're looking to treat. Traditional medical doctors are not only trained, they're licensed. But that's not always the case with CAM practitioners.
Some states have licensing requirements for certain specialists, like acupuncturists and massage therapists, and many are expanding their requirements for licensing as CAM practices grow in popularity. Even low-risk medications such as antibiotics can have potential to cause life-threatening anaphylactic reactions in a very few individuals.
Many medications may cause minor but bothersome symptoms such as cough or upset stomach. In all of these cases, patients may be seeking out alternative treatments to avoid the adverse effects of conventional treatments. Complementary and alternative medicine CAM has been described as a broad domain of healing resources that encompasses all health systems, modalities, and practices and their accompanying theories and beliefs, other than those intrinsic to the politically dominant health system of a particular society or culture in a given historical period.
CAM includes all such practices and ideas self-defined by their users as preventing or treating illness or promoting health and well-being. According to recent research, the increasing popularity of the CAM needs to be explained by moral convictions or lifestyle choices rather than by economic reasoning.
In developing nations , access to essential medicines is severely restricted by lack of resources and poverty. Traditional remedies , often closely resembling or forming the basis for alternative remedies, may comprise primary healthcare or be integrated into the healthcare system.
Some have proposed adopting a prize system to reward medical research. Increasing the funding for research on alternative medicine techniques is the purpose of the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
That alternative medicine has been on the rise "in countries where Western science and scientific method generally are accepted as the major foundations for healthcare, and 'evidence-based' practice is the dominant paradigm" was described as an "enigma" in the Medical Journal of Australia. In the United States, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act CAPTA required that for states to receive federal money, they had to grant religious exemptions to child neglect and abuse laws regarding religion-based healing practices.
The use of alternative medicine in the US has increased,   with a 50 percent increase in expenditures and a 25 percent increase in the use of alternative therapies between and in America. A survey of Americans found that 88 percent thought that "there are some good ways of treating sickness that medical science does not recognize". In Britain, the most often used alternative therapies were Alexander technique , Aromatherapy , Bach and other flower remedies, Body work therapies including massage, Counseling stress therapies, hypnotherapy , Meditation , Reflexology , Shiatsu , Ayurvedic medicine , Nutritional medicine, and Yoga.
Complementary therapies are often used in palliative care or by practitioners attempting to manage chronic pain in patients. Integrative medicine is considered more acceptable in the interdisciplinary approach used in palliative care than in other areas of medicine. If the patient desired complementary therapies, and as long as such treatments provided additional support and did not endanger the patient, they were considered acceptable.
In Austria and Germany complementary and alternative medicine is mainly in the hands of doctors with MDs ,  and half or more of the American alternative practitioners are licensed MDs.
In contrast, other approaches may be partially recognized and others have no regulation at all. Regulation and licensing of alternative medicine ranges widely from country to country, and state to state.
Government bodies in the US and elsewhere have published information or guidance about alternative medicine. Food and Drug Administration FDA , has issued online warnings for consumers about medication health fraud. Many of the claims regarding the safety and efficacy of alternative medicine are controversial. Some alternative treatments have been associated with unexpected side effects, which can be fatal.
A commonly voiced concerns about complementary alternative medicine CAM is the way it's regulated. Despite this, it has been suggested that current regulatory bodies have been ineffective in preventing deception of patients as many companies have re-labelled their drugs to avoid the new laws.
Advocates of CAM suggest that regulation of the industry will adversely affect patients looking for alternative ways to manage their symptoms, even if many of the benefits may represent the placebo affect.
Forms of alternative medicine that are biologically active can be dangerous even when used in conjunction with conventional medicine. Examples include immuno-augmentation therapy, shark cartilage, bioresonance therapy, oxygen and ozone therapies, and insulin potentiation therapy. Some herbal remedies can cause dangerous interactions with chemotherapy drugs, radiation therapy, or anesthetics during surgery, among other problems. And lastly there's the cynicism and disappointment and depression that some patients get from going on from one alternative medicine to the next, and they find after three months the placebo effect wears off, and they're disappointed and they move on to the next one, and they're disappointed and disillusioned, and that can create depression and make the eventual treatment of the patient with anything effective difficult, because you may not get compliance, because they've seen the failure so often in the past.
Conventional treatments are subjected to testing for undesired side-effects , whereas alternative treatments, in general, are not subjected to such testing at all. Attempts to refute this fact with regard to alternative treatments sometimes use the appeal to nature fallacy, i. An exception to the normal thinking regarding side-effects is Homeopathy. Since , the U. Food and Drug Administration FDA has regulated homeopathic products in "several significantly different ways from other drugs.
They are, thus, considered safe on that count, but "their products are exempt from good manufacturing practice requirements related to expiration dating and from finished product testing for identity and strength", and their alcohol concentration may be much higher than allowed in conventional drugs. Those having experienced or perceived success with one alternative therapy for a minor ailment may be convinced of its efficacy and persuaded to extrapolate that success to some other alternative therapy for a more serious, possibly life-threatening illness.
According to mental health journalist Scott Lilienfeld in , "unvalidated or scientifically unsupported mental health practices can lead individuals to forgo effective treatments" and refers to this as " opportunity cost ". Individuals who spend large amounts of time and money on ineffective treatments may be left with precious little of either, and may forfeit the opportunity to obtain treatments that could be more helpful. In short, even innocuous treatments can indirectly produce negative outcomes.
There have always been "many therapies offered outside of conventional cancer treatment centers and based on theories not found in biomedicine. These alternative cancer cures have often been described as 'unproven,' suggesting that appropriate clinical trials have not been conducted and that the therapeutic value of the treatment is unknown.
The label 'unproven' is inappropriate for such therapies; it is time to assert that many alternative cancer therapies have been 'disproven'. There will never be an alternative cancer cure. Because if something looked halfway promising, then mainstream oncology would scrutinize it, and if there is anything to it, it would become mainstream almost automatically and very quickly.
All curative "alternative cancer cures" are based on false claims, are bogus, and, I would say, even criminal. Steven Novella , a neurologist at Yale School of Medicine, wrote that government funded studies of integrating alternative medicine techniques into the mainstream are "used to lend an appearance of legitimacy to treatments that are not legitimate.
A prominent supporter of this position is George D. Writing in in CA: Cassileth mentioned a letter to the US Senate Subcommittee on Public Health and Safety, which had deplored the lack of critical thinking and scientific rigor in OAM-supported research, had been signed by four Nobel Laureates and other prominent scientists.
In March a staff writer for the Washington Post reported that the impending national discussion about broadening access to health care, improving medical practice and saving money was giving a group of scientists an opening to propose shutting down the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
They quoted one of these scientists, Steven Salzberg , a genome researcher and computational biologist at the University of Maryland, as saying "One of our concerns is that NIH is funding pseudoscience. Writers such as Carl Sagan , a noted astrophysicist, advocate of scientific skepticism and the author of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark , have lambasted the lack of empirical evidence to support the existence of the putative energy fields on which these therapies are predicated.
Sampson has also pointed out that CAM tolerated contradiction without thorough reason and experiment. Some critics of alternative medicine are focused upon health fraud, misinformation, and quackery as public health problems, notably Wallace Sampson and Paul Kurtz founders of Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine and Stephen Barrett , co-founder of The National Council Against Health Fraud and webmaster of Quackwatch.
Many alternative medical treatments are not patentable , [ citation needed ] which may lead to less research funding from the private sector. English evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins , in his book A Devil's Chaplain , defined alternative medicine as a "set of practices that cannot be tested, refuse to be tested, or consistently fail tests. CAM is also often less regulated than conventional medicine. According to two writers, Wallace Sampson and K.
Butler, marketing is part of the training required in alternative medicine, and propaganda methods in alternative medicine have been traced back to those used by Hitler and Goebels in their promotion of pseudoscience in medicine. In November Edzard Ernst stated that the "level of misinformation about alternative medicine has now reached the point where it has become dangerous and unethical. So far, alternative medicine has remained an ethics-free zone. It is time to change this. Some commentators have said that special consideration must be given to the issue of conflicts of interest in alternative medicine.
Edzard Ernst has said that most researchers into alternative medicine are at risk of "unidirectional bias" because of a generally uncritical belief in their chosen subject. Christian laying on of hands , prayer intervention, and faith healing. Indian Ayurvedic medicine includes a belief that the spiritual balance of mind influences disease. Traditional medicines in Madagascar. Shaman healer in Sonora, Mexico. There was, nevertheless, evidence that both real acupuncture and sham acupuncture were more effective than no treatment, and that acupuncture can be a useful supplement to other forms of conventional therapy for low back pain.
In the Senate Appropriations Committee responsible for funding the National Institutes of Health NIH declared itself "not satisfied that the conventional medical community as symbolized at the NIH has fully explored the potential that exists in unconventional medical practices. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 28 January Quackery and Traditional medicine.
Form of non-scientific healing. How alternative treatments "work": Researchers such as epidemiologists , clinical statisticians and pharmacologists use clinical trials to tease out such effects, allowing doctors to offer only that which has been shown to work. Alternative medicine Quackery Health fraud History of alternative medicine Rise of modern medicine Pseudoscience Antiscience Skepticism Skeptical movement.
Fringe medicine and science. Alternative medical systems Mind—body intervention Biologically-based therapy Manipulative methods Energy therapy.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. History of alternative medicine. Regulation of alternative medicine and Regulation and prevalence of homeopathy. List of herbs with known adverse effects. Assorted dried plant and animal parts used in traditional Chinese medicine. CAM includes such resources perceived by their users as associated with positive health outcomes.
There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work Most of these practices are used together with conventional therapies and therefore have been called complementary to distinguish them from alternative practices, those used as a substitute for standard care. Until a decade ago or so, "complementary and alternative medicine" could be defined as practices that are neither taught in medical schools nor reimbursed, but this definition is no longer workable, since medical students increasingly seek and receive some instruction about complementary health practices, and some practices are reimbursed by third-party payers.
Another definition, practices that lack an evidence base, is also not useful, since there is a growing body of research on some of these modalities, and some aspects of standard care do not have a strong evidence base. Although the Commissioners support the provision of the most accurate information about the state of the science of all CAM modalities, they believe that it is premature to advocate the wide implementation and reimbursement of CAM modalities that are yet unproven. Alternative Medicine in America said, "By the mids, the notion that some alternative therapies could be complementary to conventional medicine began to change the status of The 21st century is witnessing yet another terminological innovation, in which CAM and conventional medicine are becoming integrative.
British centres for evidence based practice have been established or planned in adult medicine, child health, surgery, pathology, pharmacotherapy, nursing, general practice, and dentistry; the Cochrane Collaboration and Britain's Centre for Review and Dissemination in York are providing systematic reviews of the effects of health care".
Ludmerer noted in By scientific method, he meant testing ideas with well-planned experiments to establish accurate facts. The clinician's diagnosis was equivalent to the scientist's hypothesis: Flexner argued that mastery of the scientific method of problem solving was the key for physicians to manage medical uncertainty and to practice in the most cost-effective way. Public Attitudes and Public Understanding, Section: Belief in Alternative Medicine". Science and Engineering Indicators. Archived from the original on New England Journal of Medicine.
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Probably the most commercially successful and widely used branch of alternative or complementary medicine is 'phytotherapy'. These are the tablets, powders and elixirs, otherwise known as herbal medicine, that are sold in most countries, through health shops and pharmacies as 'nutritional supplements' Only a tiny minority of these remedies have been shown to have mild-to moderately beneficial health effects So why are affluent, otherwise rational, highly educated people for this is the average user profile so hungry for phytotherapy?
Equally, what's so safe about consuming substances that need meet no standards of contents? National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine. Retrieved 4 June Retrieved 28 May Michael; Kopecky, Stephen L. A Randomized Controlled Trial". One of the few growth industries in contemporary Britain is alternative medicine. An apparently endless stream of books, articles, and radio and television programmes urge on the public the virtues of treatments ranging from meditation to drilling a hole in the skull to let in more oxygen.
Hippocrene Books, New York — via Amazon. Updike , Merrymount Press. Stanford University School of Medicine. Yale School of Medicine. Bringing medicine back to its roots". University of Maryland School of Medicine. Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine. The good the bad and the ugly". Healing, Hype, or Harm?
Methods of evidence mapping with application to CAM". American Journal of Public Health. The American medical profession confronts alternative therapies". The Sociology of Health and Illness 8th ed. Bulletin of the History of Medicine.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Detailed information on different forms of complementary and alternative therapy, including information on safety and risks. Your guide to what complementary and alternative therapies including the difference between them and other terms used to describe them. Learn about alternative treatments for depression from experts at Cleveland Clinic. Alternative therapies are outside of standard Western medical practice.