Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) are ways of healing and treatment that are different from what we may think of as the medical care you typically receive at your doctor's office (we will call this biomedical care from now on). Meditation, yoga, acupuncture, herbal treatment and massage are some examples of CAM.
Are Complementary and Alternative Medicine the same?
The main difference between complementary medicine and alternative medicine is that complementary medicine is used together with your biomedical treatments, while alternative medicine is used instead of biomedical treatments.
Popular types of CAM
- Mind-Body Medicine focuses on calming the spirit and the mind, and maintaining a positive attitude. Mind-Body medicine can help lessen pain, fight infection and even aid in healing.
Some examples of mind-body medicine include:
- Herbal Medicine makes use of plant-based treatments. Herbal remedies are used in topical ointments, supplements or fresh additions to foods or teas.
It is a good idea to let your doctor know if you are considering using CAM, especially if you have a medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes. The doctor will need this information to make sure you will not do or take anything that may be harmful to your health or that might have bad interactions with other medicines you may be taking.
Before your next visit to the doctor, write down all the medicines you are taking, including herbs or dietary supplements. This will help you remember to include everything when the doctor asks what medicines you take.