Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

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The terms complementary and alternative are often used in the same context especially in the medical field. However, they definitely carry different meanings. When one talks about complementary medicine and doctors, they are referring to what can be used alongside regular treatment. People who opt for alternative medicines either lack faith in conventional treatment or are just curious. Sometimes if the kind of treatment they are used to does not work for them anymore, they opt to try elsewhere.  Complementing or just seeking alternative treatment depends on individuals but of course, should be done under the guidance of an expert.


Complementary Medicine

This refers to a cluster of disciplines and drugs that are well tested and suitable for use together with conventional treatment. Importantly to note is that conventional medicine is not taught in your regular kind of class. Most of these practices are adopted from different social, cultural and even spiritual backgrounds. They are also proven to be harmless and do not affect the functionality of the regular treatments. This means those who use them do so to speed up and strengthen the function of the already administered drugs. Some of the commonly used complimentary disciplines include:


  • Diet Therapy

This basically means the use of dietary approaches to improve human health. A patient could be taking all the conventional medicines but if their eating habits are not tamed then there could be a problem. Diet therapy is administered by a specialist who plans the meals for the patient. They also advise on what to eat and when so that the body can benefit maximally. 


  • Holistic Nursing

Just like the name suggests, it is the kind of care that aims at restoring health to the whole being. It does not only focus on the body, but also the mind and the spirit for the patient. This kind of treatment is best when used in a complementary manner. The patient goes through several therapies that make them feel better in every aspect. A healthy spirit and happy soul can as well lead to a healthy body and this is what impresses most people.


  • Aromatherapy

It entails the use of specific essential oils to bring wellness to the body, soul, and spirit. Aromatic oils and plant extracts are used to cause a refreshing and healing effect. Its use as complementary medicine is validated by the fact that it is natural and so does not interfere with the conventional medicine function.


Alternative Medicine

This word alternative simply means instead of. Therefore alternative medicine is used in place of the conventional treatment. Even though most of the methods in alternative medicine are not scientifically proven, people still opt for them. Over the years, some have chosen them over the conventional treatment without any convincing evidence of whether they work or not. Alternative medicine includes:


  • Spiritual Healing

There are those who believe that some spiritual beings or connections are able to heal them of their diseases. Most of those who choose to go this way, have no faith in conventional medicine. They dedicate their time, energy and sometimes money to seek spiritual intervention. Some go to specific places and individuals while others just follow certain procedures to access this kind of healing.


  • Dietary Supplements

These come in the form of pills, capsules and also oils that are believed to add nutritional value to the patient’s diet. These supplements are aimed at improving the general health of the individual using them by boosting immunity and preventing further infections. Some of these supplements are administered over-the-counter while others have to be given following an expert’s prescription.


  • Magnetic Therapy

This refers to the use of static magnets to alleviate pain and other discomforts. The magnetic energy is trapped in clothing, bedding, shoes, and even bracelets. The therapeutic magnets are made as portable as possible so that the patients can carry them wherever they go.


Understanding complementary and alternative medicine takes more than just knowing what the two words mean. There are points where science meets beliefs and other points where the two clash. The points and example discussed here are just but snippets of what you need to know. Doing your research well will be necessary for you to fully grasp the dynamics involved.

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