What Is Alternative & Complementary Medicine?
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) refers to medical items and activities that do not fall under the purview of mainstream medical care.
Cancer patients may benefit from complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the following ways:
- Assist in coping with cancer treatment side effects such as nausea, discomfort, and exhaustion.
- Comfort themselves and alleviate the burden of cancer treatment and related stress by believing that they are contributing to their own care.
- Make an effort to treat or cure their cancer.
This is a medical strategy that integrates traditional treatment with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) techniques that have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective. This method frequently emphasizes the patient’s preferences and tries to treat the mental, physical, and spiritual components of wellness.
This is a system in which health practitioners with an M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degree use medications, radiation, or surgery to treat symptoms and illnesses. Other health professionals, such as nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, and therapists, use it as well. It is also known as allopathic medicine, biomedicine, Western medicine, mainstream medicine, or orthodox medicine. Some mainstream medical care providers also practice complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Standard Medical Caring System
A therapy that is extensively utilized by healthcare professionals and is regarded by medical authorities as an appropriate treatment for a certain type of ailment. Standard treatment is also known as best practice, standard of care, and standard of care.
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
Along with standard caring system, doctors will use alternative & complementary medicine. Acupuncture is one example of how it might be used to assist reduce some of the negative effects of cancer therapy.
Categories of Complementary & Alternative Medicine
Every day, scientists learn more about complementary and alternative medicine therapies, but there is still much more to discover. Some of the medicines described here require more study to demonstrate their efficacy. If you have cancer, you should talk to your doctor about utilizing complementary and alternative medicine before using any of the therapies indicated here.
People may refer to CAM as “natural,” “holistic,” “home cure,” or “Eastern Medicine.” Experts, on the other hand, frequently utilize five categories to characterize it. These are given below, along with examples.
These use mental attention, breathing, and physical motions to assist the body and mind relax. Here are several examples:
- Meditation is the practice of focusing one’s breathing or repeating words or phrases to calm one’s thoughts.
- Biofeedback: Using basic equipment, the patient learns how to influence physiological activities that are ordinarily unnoticed (such as heart rate).
- Hypnosis: A calm and concentrated state of concentration in which a person focuses on a certain sensation, concept, or suggestion to help in healing.
- Yoga is a system of stretches and postures with a focus on breathing.
- Tai Chi is characterized by slow, soft motions with an emphasis on the breath and attention.
Body-Based and Manipulative Practices
These are centered on dealing with one or more bodily components. Here are several examples:
- Massage involves kneading, rubbing, tapping. Besides, stroking the body’s soft tissues.
- Chiropractic therapy is a form of spinal manipulation that involves manipulating the spine, joints, and skeletal system.
- Reflexology is the practice of using pressure points in the hands or feet to influence other regions of the body.
Biofield treatment, often known as energy medicine, is based on the notion that the body possesses energy fields that may be utilised for healing and wellbeing. By placing their hands in or through these areas, therapists apply pressure or move the body. Here are several examples:
Reiki: The practice of balancing energy from a distance or by laying hands on or near the sufferer. Besides, moving hands over the body’s energy fields is referred to as therapeutic touch.
Whole Medical System
Healing methods and beliefs have evolved over time in many civilizations and places of the world. Here are several examples:
- Ayurvedic medicine is an Indian medical approach that aims to cleanse the body and restore equilibrium to the body, mind, and soul.
- Traditional Chinese medicine is based on the notion that health is a balance of two energies termed yin and yang in the body.
- Acupuncture is a widespread Chinese medical procedure that includes stimulating certain spots on the body to improve health or to alleviate illness symptoms and treatment side effects.
- Homeopathy: The use of extremely tiny dosages of chemicals to stimulate the body’s ability to cure itself.
- Naturopathic medicine employs a variety of techniques to assist the body in healing itself naturally. Herbal therapies are one example.
Some complementary and alternative therapies have been thoroughly evaluated and confirmed to be usually safe and effective. Acupuncture, yoga, and meditation are a few examples. Others, on the other hand, may not work, may be hazardous, or may interfere badly with your medications.
Clinical Trials for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) are now financing or cosponsoring clinical trials in which CAM treatments and therapies are tested in humans. Some research compares alternative therapies to traditional treatments, while others investigate the impact of complementary techniques used in conjunction to conventional treatments. A list of all cancer CAM clinical studies may be found here.
Patients, their families, and their health care providers can learn about CAM therapies and practitioners from the following government agencies:
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
- NCI Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- NIH Office of Dietary Supplements