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Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine. Many families that choose complementary and alternative treatments for their children do not disclose this information to their health or service providers. Is there any research evidence that the treatment is useful for individuals with the same condition as mine? Clinicians including doctors, therapists, dietitians, dentists and other providers strive to rely most on diagnostic and therapeutic procedures that have been evaluated in research studies and found to be useful and reliable.
There are a variety of clinical procedures that are derived from other philosophical approaches to body function and dysfunction. There is very little knowledge about CAM therapies, especially in children with disabilities.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the government’s NIH, is actively involved in fostering CAM research studies. Parents and other caregivers can turn to a variety of sources for information about CAM therapies.
Some of these treatments have evolved data for their role in treating certain specific conditions in which case their role in the management of that specific condition may be considered evidence based as opposed to complementary.  For example, chiropractic’s for low back pain in adults. Visit the My Child Without Limits support community and talk to fellow parents, caregivers, and experts about their experiences with the treatments and therapies in this section. Check out our Resource Locator to find the government and non-government agencies that can provide the services that your child needs.
This guide focuses on Palmer Library's books, videos, eBooks, databases and journals pertaining to alternative & complementary therapies. The purpose of this guide is to provide key resources for the subject of alternative and complementary medicine. While chiropractic is considered a part of CAM, resources in this guide will be focusing on other aspects of alternative medicine. These days it is not unusual for people to take herbal remedies along with their prescription drugs, or for physicians to field questions from patients about how well acupuncture alleviates arthritis pain. In a recent report, a committee of the Institute of Medicine examined these issues from the perspective of what is needed to improve the quality of health care delivery in America. To that end, the committee called for conventional treatments and complementary and alternative treatments to be held to the same standards for demonstrating clinical effectiveness. CAM practitioners who know the methods and goals of a particular product or therapy should be involved in its testing to ensure that it is applied correctly and in the right context. Testing of dietary supplements -- among the most frequently used forms of CAM -- runs into particular difficulties because these products are regulated as foods rather than drugs. The committee was chaired by Stuart Bondurant, interim executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising.
What Is CAM?There are many terms used to describe approaches to health carethat are outside the realm of conventional medicine as practiced inthe United States.
What are the major types of complementary and alternativemedicine?NCCAM groups CAM practices into four domains, recognizing there can be some overlap.
What is NCCAM’s role in the field of CAM?NCCAM is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on CAM.
Massage (“muh-SAHJ”) therapists manipulate muscle and connective tissue to enhancefunction of those tissues and promote relaxation and well-being.Naturopathic (“nay-chur-o-PATH-ic”) medicine, or naturopathy, is a CAM whole medicalsystem. 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. This makes the providers’ job more difficult and does not allow the provider to assist with decisions around the use of these treatments. What side effects have been seen or might be seen including impacts on health, behavior and family? For example, does the treatment claim to cure a wide variety of conditions yet have no side effects? There are some laboratory tests and clinical procedures that have not been tested in a research setting but are accepted as part of contemporary medicine because they have been demonstrated to be useful over many years of careful observation (e.g. When these procedures are used in conjunction with evidence based medicine they are called complementary medicine; when used instead of evidence based medicine, they are called alternative medicine. They are used by CAM practitioners for health promotion, disease prevention, diagnostic testing and disease and disability therapy.
Other Divisions of the NIH are also involved in CAM research studies related to their areas of responsibility: for example, The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). A common but not necessarily optimal source is “word of mouth” – either from acquaintances or the internet.


Standard care is what medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, and allied health professionals, such as nurses and physical therapists, practice'.
About one-third of all American adults have used some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The goal is to achieve care centered on patients' needs and preferences and based on the best available scientific evidence. While this means that both types of therapies should undergo some form of clinical testing, innovative methods may have to be used to test some treatments that do not lend themselves to randomized controlled trials -- the gold standard for developing reliable evidence. To prepare them for this new role, CAM training programs should begin teaching students research skills and principles. There is no requirement and little incentive for supplement manufacturers to conduct safety and efficacy tests of their products, and quality control in supplement manufacturing is often lacking, leading to inconsistency among and within brands.
The report offers several criteria to help guide decisions about which CAM therapies to prioritize for study. Committee on the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the American Public, Board on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Institute of Medicine (2005, approx. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This fact sheet explains how the National Centerfor Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), acomponent of the National Institutes of Health, defines some of thekey terms used in the field of complementary and alternativemedicine (CAM). Inaddition, NCCAM studies CAM whole medical systems, which cut across all domains.Whole Medical SystemsWhole medical systems are built upon complete systems of theory and practice. NCCAM’smission is to explore complementary and alternative healing practices in the context ofrigorous science, train CAM researchers, and disseminate authoritative information to thepublic and professionals.DefinitionsAcupuncture (“AK-yoo-pungk-cher”) is a method of healing developed in China at least 2,000years ago. Naturopathic medicine proposes that there is a healing power in the body thatestablishes, maintains, and restores health.
CAM can include herbs and dietary supplements, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, naturopathy, homeopathy etc. Good health care providers should be knowledgeable and open in their discussions with families about these treatments to ensure trust and coordination of their services.
For example, a simple case report or series of cases reported carries only a low level of evidence as it provides only for showing a possible association. CAM procedures are generally not included in the reimbursement payments of many insurance plans although this is evolving.
CAM therapies are used for children in a wide spectrum of developmental disabilities such as intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, autism, learning disabilities, ADHD and epilepsy.
The important issues are: What evidence exists that supports the claims of CAM practitioners? People have to be very careful in evaluating information from these sources since they are often very biased; in the case of the internet, they can be commercially driven.
As the popularity these treatments has grown in the United States, debate has flared over how much is known about their safety and efficacy, whether they can and should undergo clinical testing, and the extent to which CAM and conventional medicine can and should be integrated. This is as much the case for a surgical procedure that depends upon the administering professional's skills as for naturopathy, for example, the committee noted. At the same time, health professional schools should provide future doctors, nurses, and other health providers with education about CAM. Consistent products are essential to do studies that yield reliable and broadly applicable results. Terms that are underlined in the text are defined atthe end of this fact sheet.What is CAM?CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices,and products that are not generally considered to be part ofconventional medicine.
Often, thesesystems have evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used inthe United States.
Today, acupuncture describes a family of procedures involving stimulation ofanatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques. Practitioners work with the patient with a goal ofsupporting this power, through treatments such as nutrition and lifestyle counseling, dietarysupplements, medicinal plants, exercise, homeopathy, and treatments from traditionalChinese medicine.Osteopathic (“ahs-tee-oh-PATH-ic”) medicine is a form of conventional medicine that, in part,emphasizes diseases arising in the musculoskeletal system. Whereas a randomized clinical trial is considered a very high level of evidence of efficacy. A number of innovative procedures are presently being evaluated in carefully designed studies including robotic therapy for improved upper and lower limb mobility and hippo therapy for improved musculoskeletal coordination. More balanced views are usually available from your personal physician, the NIH and from not-for-profit organizations in the specific disorder area (e.g. Data from other types of studies, such as observational and case-controlled studies, can provide useful information about safety and effectiveness, the report says.
Health practitioners need to know that the supplements their clients use are safe and effective, so the report calls on Congress to implement quality-control standards for each step of the supplement manufacturing process and to enforce more accurate labeling and disclosures and other consumer protections. While scientific evidence exists regardingsome CAM therapies, for most there are key questions that are yet tobe answered through well-designed scientific studies—questionssuch as whether these therapies are safe and whether they work forthe purposes for which they are used.Are complementary medicine and alternativemedicine different from each other?Yes, they are different.!


Examples of whole medical systems that have developed in Westerncultures include homeopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine.
American practices of acupunctureincorporate medical traditions from China, Japan, Korea, and other countries.
There is an underlying belief thatall of the body’s systems work together, and disturbances in one system may affect functionelsewhere in the body.
Your clinician may be able to help you understand the level of evidence of any research that exists. Or are the reported benefits coming from commercially driven reports or emotionally based personal endorsements? However, for the most part, contemporary medicine is based upon evidence based analyses and is accepted in western societies as the basis for acceptable clinical care.
However, most CAM therapies have rarely been scientifically studied and so their usefulness and effectiveness is not well understood. Examples of systems thathave developed in non-Western cultures include traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.Mind-Body MedicineMind-body medicine uses a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind’s capacity toaffect bodily function and symptoms.
They are the core of the acceptable procedures used by licensed health care and service providers and are usually included in the reimbursement payments of government and private insurance plans.
Some could be helpful, some harmful and studies are underway to test some of these interventions.
An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy to help lessen a patient’s discomfort following surgery.! Some techniques that were considered CAM in the pasthave become mainstream (for example, patient support groups and cognitive-behavioraltherapy). Ayurveda includes diet and herbalremedies and emphasizes the use of body, mind, and spirit in disease prevention andtreatment.Chiropractic (“kie-roh-PRAC-tic”) is a CAM whole medical system. Reiki is based on thebelief that when spiritual energy is channeled through a Reiki practitioner, the patient’s spiritis healed, which in turn heals the physical body.Therapeutic Touch is derived from an ancient technique called laying-on of hands. Other mind-body techniques are still considered CAM, including meditation, prayer,mental healing, and therapies that use creative outlets such as art, music, or dance.Biologically Based PracticesBiologically based therapies in CAM use substances found in nature, such as herbs, foods, andvitamins. It focuses on therelationship between bodily structure (primarily that of the spine) and function, and how thatrelationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. An example of an alternative therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that has been recommended by a conventional doctor.What is integrative medicine?Integrative medicine combines treatments from conventional medicineand CAM for which there is evidence of safety and effectiveness.
TCM is based on a concept of balanced qi (pronounced “chee”), or vital energy,that is believed to flow throughout the body.
Some examples include chiropractic or osteopathicmanipulation and massage.Energy MedicineEnergy therapies involve the use of energy fields.
Congress defined the term “dietary supplement” in the DietarySupplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. Qi is proposed to regulate a person’s spiritual,emotional, mental, and physical balance and to be influenced by the opposing forces of yin(negative energy) and yang (positive energy). It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care provider. A dietary supplement is a product(other than tobacco) taken by mouth that contains a “dietary ingredient” intended tosupplement the diet. Disease is proposed to result from the flow of qibeing disrupted and yin and yang becoming imbalanced.
We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. Biofield therapies are intended to affect energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body. Dietary ingredients may include vitamins, minerals, herbs or otherbotanicals, amino acids, and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, and metabolites.Dietary supplements come in many forms, including extracts, concentrates, tablets, capsules,gel caps, liquids, and powders. Among the components of TCM areherbal and nutritional therapy, restorative physical exercises, meditation, acupuncture, andremedial massage. Under DSHEA,dietary supplements are considered foods, not drugs.Electromagnetic fields (EMFs, also called electric and magnetic fields) are invisible lines offorce that surround all electrical devices. Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies involve the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, magnetic fields, or alternating-current or direct-current fields. Inhomeopathic medicine, there is a belief that “like cures like,” meaning that small, highlydiluted quantities of medicinal substances are given to cure symptoms, when the samesubstances given at higher or more concentrated doses would actually cause those symptoms.



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