Friday, May 20, 2011

CAM - Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and alternative medicine, as defined by NCCAM, is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered part of conventional medicine. Many different fields make up the practice of complementary and alternative medicine, and many components of one field may overlap with the components of another field.

NCCAM, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a United States government agency, has classified complementary and alternative medicine therapies into five major groups, as below:

1. Alternative Medical Systems: built upon complete systems of theory and practice, and include Traditional Chinese medicine, Naturopathy, Homeopathy and Ayurveda.

2. Mind-Body Interventions: use a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms. Some techniques that were considered to be a part of complementary and alternative medicine in the past have become mainstream now.

3. Biologically Based Therapies: use substances found in nature, such as herbs, foods, and vitamins. Examples include dietary supplements, herbal products, and the use of other natural but as yet scientifically unproven therapies.

4. Manipulative and Body-Based Methods: are based on manipulation and/or movement of one or more parts of the body. Examples include chiropractic manipulation and massage therapy.

5. Energy Therapies: involve the use of energy field, which are of two types:
(a) Biofield therapies - affect energy fields that surround and penetrate the human body. Some forms of energy therapy manipulate biofields by either applying pressure or manipulating the body by placing the hands in, or through, these fields. Common examples include qi gong, Reiki, and therapeutic touch.
(b) Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies: involve unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, magnetic fields, or alternating-current or direct-current fields.

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