The concept of alternative medicine and complementary medicine has been around for years, but still, many people get confused about it. If you’re one of them, this Q&A should enlighten you.
1. What is Complementary Alternative Medicine?
To be able to define complementary alternative medicine (CAM), it might be necessary to define alternative medicine first. It refers to a type of treatment including products and services that are outside the bounds of standard medical care. Standard care, on the other hand, involves practices and products deemed as acceptable and thus recommended and followed by the mainstream medical community.
Some, however, define alternative medicine as any treatment patients choose instead of conventional medicine. When they use it along with traditional therapies, then the practice or product becomes complementary alternative medicine.
2. Who Can Practice CAM?
Anyone can practice CAM as long as they follow certain guidelines and requirements. Who sets it depends on many groups. There’s the state, which can create a law, the licensing board, and even the official organizations or associations that can provide certification.
For example, a person who wants to heal people through Reiki should take a Reiki 2 course first. Reiki 1 concentrates on channelling healing energy to oneself. After all, it’s the belief that for a practitioner to be an effective healer, he or she must have achieved a balance in energy.
3. What are the Benefits of CAM?
One of the biggest contentions with CAM is that it’s not an evidence-based practice. That may no longer be true, as there are already many studies that tend to highlight their benefits. There’s a growing number of medical doctors who also practice CAM.
Take acupuncture, for example. In one of the world’s largest randomized controlled studies in acupuncture, it showed that acupuncture could be a safe and effective pain relief for patients who need emergency care.
There’s no doubt CAM requires some level of caution and due diligence just as much as conventional treatment. In the end, the healthcare community should help the patient come up with the decision that champions their best health interest.