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Thursday, May 11, 2006
Complimentary? Alternative> It's tempting to lump everything outside of mainstream medical care into one big heap, but the terms describing these new options for helathcare aren't interchangeable. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the National Institute of Health, provides these definitions:

a.) Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
Is a group of diverse medical and healthcare systems practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Theraphies, encompassed by CAM include things like acupuncture, nutrition, chiropractic, herbs, bodywork, yoga, gigong and aromatheraphy.

b.) Complementary Medicine.
Is used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary theraphy is using aromatheraphy to help lessen a patient's discomfort following a surgery.

c.) Alternative Medicine.
Is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of an alternative theraphy is using a special diet to treat cnacer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation or chemotheraphy that has been recommended by a conventional doctor.

d.) Integrative Medicine.
May incorporate any of these theraphies, which are finding their way way into the conventional medical world. NCCAM defines integrative medicine as the combination of "mainstream medical theraphies and CAM theraphies fo which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness". The U.S. government estimates that CAM is currently a $27 billion industry, according to The New York Times.

The Wide World of Alternative Theraphies
Integrative medicine combines conventional Western practices with complementary and alternative therapies. Some of those theraphies, like chiropractic, have already become entrenched in mainstream care. Here's a short guide to a few others you might encounter:

** ACUPUNCTURE: A healing practice developed in China more than 2,000 years ago. Techniques vary, but the most scientifically studied method involves stimulating key points on the body with hair-thin netallic needles that penetrate the skin.

** AROMATHERAPY: The use of flower or herb extracts (or essences) to help heal and soothe both body and mind.

** AYURVEDA: A practive that manipulates muscle tissue to promote circulation, relaxation, and a greater sense of physical and mental well-being.

** TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM): An ancient healthcare system based on the belief that a vital energy -- called Qi -- flows through the body and regulates a person's mental and physical well-being; when the flow of Qi is blocked or disrupted, according to TCM, illness or disease occurs; treatments include herbal therapy, meditation, accupuncture and restorative physical exercise.

** NATUROPHATHIC MEDICINE: Developed in Western cultures, this medical system is based on the belief that the body has an intrinsic healing power; naturophathic practitioners nourish and support this inner power with nutrition advice, counseling, homeophaty and treatments from Traditional Chinese Medicine.

For more information, visit the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine web site at: http://nccam.nih.gov

(Source: EXPERIENCELIFEMAG by: Betsy Noxom)
posted by infraternam meam @ 9:46 PM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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