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CAM Therapeutic Modalities

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  • Category: Medicine

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In the pursuit of health and well-being, many Americans along with the world, have used Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) over the past decade. In July 30, 2009, National Health Statistic Reports demonstrated on a test conducted in 2007 “that about 38.3% of adults (83 million persons) and 11.8% of children (8.5 million children under the age of 18 years) have used Complementary and alternative medicine” (NHSR, 2009). In this paper, I will define the terms alternative medicine, complementary medicine, and integrative medicine and clarify how these terms differ. I will also describe how conventional medicine plays a role in these three terms. After, I will review the philosophy of CAM and how it relates to or is different from conventional Western medicine. Followed by describing one CAM treatment modality within one of the five NCCAM domains and give an example of how such a therapy could be used as an alternative therapy, a complementary therapy, and an integrative therapy for a specific medical condition. Then, I will explain how each example meets the definition of alternative, complementary, or integrative therapy and support the rationale for each section.

Lastly, I will conclude with the results of scientific studies, if available, that show a clinical benefit from the examples selected. Compare and contrast conventional current regulations and oversights that exist in the United States with that of nonconventional medicine. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. Integrative medicine combines conventional and CAM treatments for which there is evidence of safety and effectiveness. While scientific evidence exists regarding some CAM therapies, for most there are key questions that are yet to be answered through well-designed scientific studies—questions such as whether these therapies are safe and whether they work for the purposes for which they are used. NCCAM’s mission is to explore CAM practices using rigorous scientific methods and build an evidence base for the safety and effectiveness of these practices. (NIH, 2008)

Define the terms alternative, complementary, and integrative in relation to medicine and clarify how these terms are different. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a term used to describe medical products and practices that are not part of conventional medicine used and practiced by western or allopathic medicine. Our conventional medicine is practiced by medical doctors, doctor of osteopathic medicine and allied health professionals, such as psychologists, and registered nurses. Complementary medicine means no more than “in addition to” your standard care. To elaborate by standard I mean standard to the type of illness for example hypnosis is a standard part of psychiatry, but not one of a cancer treatment. A good example of complementary medicine include, herbal remedies, and naturopathic medicine. Alternative medicine is medicine that claims to heal and is based on historical or cultural traditions, rather than on scientific evidence. Integrative medicine is a combination of practices and methods of alternative medicine along with conventional medicine.

Describe how conventional medicine plays a role in these three terms. Conventional medicine plays a role in complementary and integrative medicine but not so much in alternative medicine. It does so in complementary medicine in that it adds practices, products, and care systems that do not generally considered conventional but are claimed to assist in the healing or well-being of the patient. Integrative medicine is a combination of practices and methods of alternative medicine and conventional medicine to combine an optimal health and wellness program or health system. Conventional medicine does not impact alternative medicine in that this type of medicine does not have any scientific evidence or study, but is based on traditions and culture. Overall, CAM and western medicine are different in that CAM medicine is mainly used as a “preventive” philosophy, method, and treatment rather than conventional western medicine to treats the illness. Examine the philosophy of CAM and how it relates to or is different from conventional Western medicine.

According to National Institutes of Health (2010), Conventional medicine (also called Western or allopathic medicine) is medicine as practiced by holders of M.D. (medical doctor) and D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degrees and by allied health professionals, such as physical therapists, psychologists, and registered nurses (Defining CAM, para. 1). Alternative medicine is any healing therapy that does not coincide or is not effective with conventional medicine. Alternative medicine is not based on scientific data; rather it focuses on the cultural or historic principles of healing. Complementary medicine is combined with mainstream techniques and complements conventional treatments. Integrative medicine combines the use of alternative and conventional medicine. This form of medical treatment has been scientifically researched and proven to be efficient. Philosophy of Conventional Medicine versus CAM. Describe how NCCAM classifies Complementary Health Approaches.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) classifies CAM therapies into five categories or domains: alternative medical systems, or complete systems of therapy and practice; mind-body interventions, or techniques designed to facilitate the mind’s effect on bodily functions and symptoms; biologically-based systems, including herbalism; manipulative and body-based methods, such as chiropractic and massage therapy; and energy therapies. Select one CAM treatment therapy (modality) from among the complementary health approaches and describe it. There are complementary therapies such as holistic approaches that are meant to deal with the patient as a whole (mind, body, and soul) and not just to focus on the illness. These complementary therapies claim to help you feel more in control, and improve your quality of life. It is categorized as commentary therapies in that it is used to help and does not claim to cure the disease. The last approach I will cover is integrative therapy for cancer.

This approach is a hybrid of both conventional medicine and alternative medicine combine. It claims to use a variety of treatments plans that combined will maximize your chances of recovery and well-being. This method is considered integrative in that is combines conventional medicine with alternative medicine to produce what is integrative care. Using one medical condition, describe how your chosen therapy can be used as an alternative, a complementary, or an integrative therapy for that specific medical condition. There are a variety of CAM treatments for various illnesses and diseases. For example cancer has alternative therapy, complementary therapy, and integrative therapy to help the patient relieve pain, help cure the disease or illness and other helpful benefits. For alternative therapy for cancer acupuncture is used to improve health and well-being of the patient.

“Acupuncture is the practice of inserting thin needles into specific body points (MedlinePlus, 2011).” This method of relieving pain and reducing nausea and vomiting for patients is considered alternative therapy in that it does not have any scientist base in relieving the actual illness or disease in a medical sense. It just has research results that have backed up its claims. This research paper have defined alternative medicine, complementary medicine, and integrative medicine followed by describing how conventional medicine plays a role in the three terms. Then reviewed the philosophy of CAM and how it is different from conventional Western medicine. Last, it described how the three different medicine groups are used as therapy in cancer patients and the methods that are used to categorize them. I was not able to come up with tests or research results to follow up on actual evidence on the validity of the methods, but concluded that the three types of medicine have supporters.

Nahin, R.L., Barnes, P.M., Stussman, B.J., & Bloom, B. (2009). Costs of Complementary and
Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Frequency of Visits to CAM Practitioners: United
States, 2007. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs
National Institute of Health. (2008). National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States. Retrieved from: http://nccam.nih.gov

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