Learn about Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Approximately 40 percent of Americans seek Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatments to aid with or to use in place of conventional medicine approaches. By combining alternative medical treatments with mainstream conventional medicine, patients are likely to stay healthy and effectively treat a variety of healthcare issues. Those who are new to non-mainstream methods often use these terms interchangeably; however, these terms are actually two different concepts. Read on to learn how complementary medicine and alternative medicine can help patients overcome illness and remain healthy.
Definitions of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Complementary medicine combines conventional medicine with non-mainstream approaches to treat the patient. Alternative medicine exclusively uses non-mainstream approaches to treat the patient.
Herbal Remedies and Dietary Supplements
There are many natural products that are used in complementary and alternative medicine. These products include herbal formulas and dietary supplements. Dietary supplements including fish oil and omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals are used to support the body’s natural defense mechanisms. The supplements are often used to enhance one’s nutrition by providing the body with the necessary nutrients to heal itself and stay in peak health. Herbal formulas, such as Echinacea, increase the body’s natural immunity; thus, helping to fight infection or prevent illness. There are herbal formulas that help alleviate pain, balance the hormones, and improve biological functions throughout the body.
Mind and Body Techniques
There are numerous mind and body practices utilized in complementary and alternative medicine, also known as CAM. These techniques include massage therapy, acupuncture, meditation, visualization, and yoga. These practices are administered by trained practitioners to help heal the body as well as the mind. This healing often results in improved health and wellness.
Deep breathing exercises are often combined with meditation and yoga to relax the body and alleviate stress. Stress is often associated with high blood pressure, cancer, stroke and heart disease. By eliminating stress from a patient’s life, one can improve overall health. Both deep breathing exercises and yoga couple with meditation to encourage peace and tranquility.
Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Care
Massage therapy and chiropractic services are often used to help alleviate pain. Chiropractors believe that a misaligned spine can cause a plethora of medical conditions, including pain and illness. By gently manipulating the spine back in alignment, one can feel relief. Oftentimes, it takes several manipulations before relief is felt. Massage therapy is also used to alleviate pain. Massage therapists perform a variety of massage techniques to relax the muscles and rid the body of toxins. It is suggested that patients who are undergoing chiropractic manipulations or massage therapy drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water after each session to help flush the released toxins from the body.
Benefits of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
Complementary and alternative medical treatments can help improve a patient’s health, alleviate stress and diminish pain. Whether a patient is battling the common cold or facing a serious medical condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or menopause, complementary and alternative medicine can improve the patient’s chance of overcoming the illness. This is especially true when the CAM is coupled with conventional Western medicine.