The use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine is growing more and more every year. People are opening their minds to the fact that body and mind are both powerful and when in perfect balance harmony can be achieved. I have created Nature’s Remedies so that there can be one place that includes all types of CAM, as well as their uses, how to’s and tips.
Nature’s Remedies goal is to promote natural well being for the mind, body and spirit.
What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)?
CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not considered to be part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used with conventional medicine (ex. Massage used to ease pain after a surgery), while alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. (Ex. Using natural remedies for pain instead of narcotics)
Scientific research is constantly being done to find evidence of CAM therapies effectiveness.
Major types of CAM
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) groups CAM practices into four domains, recognizing there can be some overlap. In addition, NCCAM studies CAM whole medical systems, which cut across all domains.
Whole Medical Systems
Whole medical systems are built upon complete systems of theory and practice. Often, these systems have evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used in the United States. Examples of whole medical systems that have developed in Western cultures include homeopathic medicine, a whole medical system that originated in Europe.
Homeopathy seeks to stimulate the body's ability to heal itself by giving very small doses of highly diluted substances that in larger doses would produce illness or symptoms (an approach called "like cures like").
Naturopathic medicine, a whole medical system that originated in Europe is another form. Naturopathy aims to support the body's ability to heal itself through the use of dietary and lifestyle changes together with CAM therapies such as herbs, massage, and joint manipulation.
Examples of systems that have developed in non-Western cultures include traditional Chinese medicine, originated in China. It is based on the concept that disease results from disruption in the flow of qi and imbalance in the forces of yin and yang.
Practices such as herbs, meditation, massage, and acupuncture seek to aid healing by restoring the yin-yang balance and the flow of qi.
Ayurveda originated in India and aims to integrate the body, mind, and spirit to prevent and treat disease. Therapies used include herbs, massage, and yoga.
Mind-body medicine uses a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms. Some techniques that were considered CAM in the past have become mainstream (for example, patient support groups and cognitive-behavioral therapy).
Other mind-body techniques are still considered CAM, including meditation, a conscious mental process using certain techniques—such as focusing attention or maintaining a specific posture—to suspend the stream of thoughts and relax the body and mind. Other examples: Prayer, mental healing, and therapies that use creative outlets such as art, music, or dance.
Biologically Based Practices
Biologically based practices in CAM use substances found in nature, such as herbs, foods, and vitamins. Some examples include dietary supplements, herbal products, and others such as using shark cartilage to treat cancer.
Manipulative and Body-Based Practices
Manipulative and body-based practices in CAM are based on manipulation, the application of controlled force to a joint, moving it beyond the normal range of motion in an effort to aid in restoring health. Manipulation may be performed as a part of other therapies or whole medical systems, including chiropractic medicine, massage, and naturopathy. and/or movement of one or more parts of the body.
Some examples include chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, a type of manipulation practiced by osteopathic physicians. It is combined with physical therapy and instruction in proper posture, and massage. (Pressing, rubbing, and moving muscles and other soft tissues of the body, primarily by using the hands and fingers.) The aim is to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the massaged area.
Energy therapies involve the use of energy fields. They are of two types:
Biofield therapies are intended to affect energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body. The existence of such fields has not yet been scientifically proven. Some forms of energy therapy manipulate biofields by applying pressure and/or manipulating the body by placing the hands in, or through, these fields.
Qi gong, (A component of traditional Chinese medicine that combines movement, meditation, and controlled breathing.) The intent is to improve blood flow and the flow of qi.
Reiki is a therapy in which practitioners seek to transmit a universal energy to a person, either from a distance or by placing their hands on or near that person. The intent is to heal the spirit and thus the body.
Therapeutic Touch is a therapy in which practitioners pass their hands over another person's body with the intent to use their own perceived healing energy to identify energy imbalances and promote health.
Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies involve the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, magnetic fields, or alternating-current or direct-current fields.
Who Uses CAM Most
People of all backgrounds use CAM. However, CAM use among adults is greater among women and those with higher levels of education and higher incomes.
CAM Therapies Used the Most
Nonvitamin, nonmineral natural products are the most commonly used CAM therapy among adults. Use has increased for several therapies, including deep breathing exercises, meditation, massage therapy, and yoga.
Use of Natural Products
The most popular natural products are fish oil/omega 3, glucosamine, echinacea, and flaxseed.
Health Conditions Prompting CAM Use
People use CAM for an array of diseases and conditions. American adults are most likely to use CAM for musculoskeletal problems such as back, neck, or joint pain.