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By Cattie CoyleI am constantly struggling with whether to use the term complementary or alternative medicine when labeling posts and therapies on this blog.
I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time, and was reminded of it again recently when I was contacted by Brooke Marsh, an Animal Physiotherapist in Australia, who disagreed with my choice of “Alternative” in the title of the list of Australian practitioners, saying it was inaccurate.
I thought that was very interesting and, in order to clarify things for myself, set out on a hunt for the definite definition of each of these terms. I did make a few useful discoveries, and thought I’d share them here, and perhaps also start a bit of a discussion. In the UK, an alternative therapy is a scientifically unproven modality that is used instead of conventional Western medicine (examples can be special diets such as Gerson therapy, or supplements like Shark Cartilage). As classified by the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee, Alternative disciplines “Embraces those other disciplines which purport to offer diagnostic information as well as treatment and which, in general, favour a philosophical approach and are indifferent to the scientific principles of conventional medicine, and through which various and disparate frameworks of disease causation and its management are proposed.
They also separate out what they describe as “Professionally organised alternative therapies” which is defined: “Therapies that may be called the principal disciplines, two of which, osteopathy and chiropractic, are already regulated in their professional activity and education by Acts of Parliament.
Similarly, in Australia, alternative therapies are those that are used instead of Western medicine and have not been tested (examples include ozone therapy, magnet therapy, microwave therapy, coffee enemas, etc.). As we saw above, everybody seems to be in agreement that a therapy (and indeed many alternative therapies) is considered complementary medicine when it is used alongside conventional Western medicine, but again, definitions vary. The Oxford English Dictionary defines complementary medicine as: “Designating or pertaining to medicine seen by its practitioners as complementary to traditional or orthodox medicine but not based on modern scientific knowledge and not recognized by the majority of medical practitioners. NCCAM states” The term complementary medicine refers to a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine.
The American Social Health Association describes complementary medicine as “Non-mainstream health care provided in addition or instead of standard medical practice. According to the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center, complementary medicine is “Practices often used to enhance or complement standard treatments.
The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee defines Complementary therapies as follows: “Therapies which are most often used to complement conventional medicine and do not purport to embrace diagnostic skills. In Australia, complementary therapies are used in conjunction with Western medicine and have been scientifically proven to be effective. From The (Australian) National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM): “There is no universally agreed definition of complementary medicine.
Integrative medicine (complementary medicine used together with mainstream western medicine). Melbourne Holistic Health: “Complementary medicine (CM) generally refers to a wide range of health care practices that do not use drugs or invasive techniques.
In light of what we have seen so far, I think the term CAM makes great sense, because it really sounds like you could be practicing the exact same therapy and it would be called ‘alternative” if the owner does not also have their animal treated with conventional medicine, and “complementary” if they do.
According to NIH (NCCAM), “Defining CAM is difficult, because the field is very broad and constantly changing. Other (which includes Feldenkrais method, Alexander technique, Pilates, Rolfing Structural Integration, Trager psychophysical integration, magnet and light therapy, qi gong, Reiki, and healing touch).
The Committee for Complementary Medicine of The House of Lords states “Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a title used to refer to a diverse group of health-related therapies and disciplines which are not considered to be a part of mainstream medical care. It is worth noting that The Committee defines Massage and Aromatherapy as ‘complementary’ because they ‘do not purport to embrace diagnostic skills’. The Medical Journal of Australia quotes NIH (NCCAM)’s definition “healthcare practices that are not an integral part of conventional medicine.
They continue: “All the CAM groups subscribe, in one way or another, to the principle of “vitalism” — that all living organisms are sustained by a vital force that is both different from and greater than physical and chemical forces.
Another acronym is eCAM which stands for evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine. Cattie CoyleFounder and Editor at Animal Wellness GuideCattie is the founder and editor of Animal Wellness Guide. From acupuncture and massage to herbs and yoga, these modalities are more popular than ever. But, according to a new report, where you live may influence the type of complementary medicine you opt to use. The report looked at six most commonly used complementary health approaches used by adults in the U.S.
Chiropractic manipulation is a technique that uses a type of hands-on therapy to adjust problems related to the body’s structure, primarily the spine, and its function.  Osteopathic manipulation is a full-body system of hands-on techniques to alleviate pain, restore function, and promote health and well-being. Researchers noted that the regional differences may be accounted for as a result of environmental, economic, and cultural features within the specific areas.  Just as there are likely to be more yoga studios in states like California and Oregon compared to some other areas, industries in the West North Central region, covering Kansas to North Dakota, might lead to greater need for chiropractic care.
Back bothering you?  Maybe chiropractic manipulation can help alleviate your symptoms.  The American Chiropractic Association can help you locate the doctor of chiropractic closest to you.
Yoga is also a great alternative approach, as it centers on wellness of the body and mind.  Read our article about why yoga is such a great activity, and try out a yoga class or qualified instructor close by.
Complementary and alternative medicines contribute much to health, so don’t let where you live limit you.  Your well-being counts on your being open to different approaches!
Alternative medicine is a health care practice that uses a wide range of methods for diagnosis and treatment that do not follow accepted mainstream medical methods and may not have a scientific explanation for their effectiveness.
Although not proven by scientific methods, patients find complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) beneficial. Many critics say that complementary and alternative medicine methods lack scientific evidence and their effectiveness is either disproved or unproved. There are certain risks associated with complementary and alternative medicine therapies, so patients are advised to choose a practitioner with experience.
The natural products area includes many herbal medicines, minerals and vitamins sold as dietary supplements.
With the change in lifestyle and monotonous work schedule, most of the people tend to ignore their health. Today, as a culture, people all around the world are so heavily dependent on the allopathic medicines.


The alternative medicine therapies are essentially different kinds of health treatment that stimulate the bodies and minds of the patients essential for an excellent health and balanced lifestyle.
Ayurveda is a very age-old natural therapy that originated in India during the Vedic times.
This therapy originated in China where the fine needles are used for treating the diseases.
Many people have a perception that meditation is a very odd therapy to get rid of stress or pain. Mother Nature has gifted plenty of herbs or plants that possess astonishing medicinal properties. It is another popular form of alternative medicine where the extracts from the various plants are used to trigger the biochemical responses of the brain that in turn stimulates the dormant function of the body and promotes overall well-being.
All in all, most of the alternative medicine therapies are very safe and inexpensive than to use allopathic medicines. The author of this post is Arvind, a passionate blogger and career counselor who has written many useful posts on the health and education.
Medical Disclaimer Statements on Get Holistic Health about health issues aren't meant to identify, treat, cure, or protect against illness. Previous Story Previous post: Benefits of Invisalign Braces Over Traditional BracesNext Story Next post: On line CPR Certification And The Way It May Empower You!!! Appointments are not required if you have been a past client, just visit the clinic during opening hours, and we will still have your details. Subscribing to our fantastic newsletter, you will receive exciting clinic news, amazing up & coming offers and diet and exercise tips for the months ahead to help you lose weight the fast and easy way. Turns out I am not the only one – there is a lot of confusion surrounding these terms.
It is most often used in conjunction with complementary medicine, and the whole things is abbreviated CAM (more on that further down).
Complementary therapies are used together with conventional medicine (massage therapy, acupuncture, yoga, etc. They generally are not recognized by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches. Examples include acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, chiropractic, meditation, and somewhat surprisingly (to me anyway) music therapy, etc. Nomenclature varies, with terms including complementary, alternative and traditional medicine. The term complementary medicine is considered to be inclusive of historically used names such as alternative medicine, natural medicine and traditional medicine.
Treatments may include herbal medicines, homoeopathic medicines or nutritional and other supplements. Of course, we all know that pet owners need to check with their vet before starting any other therapy, but theoretically speaking… So how is CAM defined?
NCCAM defines CAM as a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. The theoretical bases and techniques of CAVM may diverge from veterinary medicine routinely taught in North American veterinary medical schools or may differ from current scientific knowledge, or both. There are numerous ways of expressing this vitalism (Qi, life force, yin-yang, prana, universal intelligence, innate, etc). To term the group of modalities alternative may be to claim too much for their role in healthcare, but to term them complementary may make their role seem secondary to primary medical care. As the name implies, it is an evidence-based approach, and such research is being done by agencies like the U.S. She is a freelance photographer, graduate of Bancroft School of Massage Therapy’s small animal program, and has studied Applied Zoopharmacognosy.
Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), recently issued a report on regional variation in the use of complementary health approaches by U.S.
Alternative treatments include acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, physiotherapy  and chiropractic.
According to the The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, a person can experience symptomatic relief after alternative treatments because of the placebo effect, natural recovery or misdiagnosis. Also some CAM dietary supplements may interact with the regular medication and cause side effects. Some of them contain probiotics, live bacteria that are similar to those found in the human body and are beneficial for the digestive tract.
They spend the countless number of hours in their workplace to meet the deadlines due to which eating a well-balanced diet and exercising take a backseat. However, they quite often fail to remember that their bodies are very much capable of healing all on their own, with just a little help from the nature. This can range from the simple massage therapy sessions to acupuncture and herbal remedies.
Here, the main focus is devoted towards curing the diseases rather than the symptoms with the help of several herbs and minerals. This is totally a wrong thinking as it has been proven time and again that the human body is quite capable of healing the ailments faster when an individual is in a relaxed state of mind.
Aromatherapy candles and essential oils are used all over the world to minimize stress and provide mental peace to the individuals. The human body is quite capable of healing the pain or ailments on its own, but it requires a little help.
There is little evidence to suggest over-the-counter remedies are effective for weight loss. And to make things even more confusing, some are used slightly differently in different parts of the (English speaking) world. Generally alternative therapies are closer to nature, cheaper and less invasive than conventional therapies, although there are exceptions.


Group 3a includes long-established and traditional systems of healthcare such as Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.
In Australia, the common complementary therapies practiced are: naturopathy, herbal medicine, homoeopathy, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, aromatherapy, all of the massage therapies, osteopathy and chiropractic. Conventional medicine (also called Western or allopathic medicine) is medicine as practiced by holders of M.D. It is not the intent of these guidelines to determine or describe the relative value of the individual modalities. However, it should be noted that many of the therapies of the traditional paradigms have been incorporated into current practice without adopting vitalistic principles.
To call them integrative implies some process in which integration or convergence will eventually occur.
There will be a part 2 to this post, where we take a look at “holistic”, “integrative”, “traditional”, “allopathic” and “conventional” medicine, so stay tuned! Complementary medicine or integrative medicine is based on the use of alternative methods alongside conventional science based treatments.
Research is also controversial because of its low quality, methodological flaws and selective publication of results.
The mind and body practices regard the psychic, behavior and mind as a whole and aim to improve health by stimulating the mind.
Osteopathy and chiropractic treat subluxations or small displacements of the spine and joints in order to relieve nerve pressure.
Over the period of time, rising stress levels evolves into various kinds of diseases such as the back pain, diabetes, insomnia, depression and so on.
Lately, people are now realizing that overuse of the conventional medicines can lead to some severe side effects.
There are many alternative medicine therapies that are used to treat various illnesses by alternative or naturopathic medicine doctor.
It carries a holistic wellness approach towards greater health and long life of the individuals.
Here, it is believed that the diseases occur because of unevenness in the body’s chi (life energy) flow.
The therapies provides that much needed help without any side effects that too without putting any extra burden on the pocket of the individuals.
Material shown by Get Holistic Health is for educational purposes only and isn't meant to substitute for the recommendation of a doctor and other medical professional. They are often low doses of prescription medication.  Alli for example has been widely advertised and promoted as a weight lose drug, but it is a half strength version of prescription drug Xenical which Bodyline offers. CAM embraces those therapies that may either be provided alongside conventional medicine (complementary) or which may, in the view of their practitioners, act as a substitute for it.
Most CAM appears to be supplementary or additional to conventional care, rather than an alternative.
For example, acupuncture can be used to help alleviate side effect from cancer treatments and a physio Ottawa specialist can cure any type of injury, whether we talk about sports, every day, work related, or a car accident injury. Hypnoses is part of regular psychiatric care but it would not be standard if used to treat cancer or other illnesses. One of the most popular techniques, also scientifically proven is meditation, known to improve emotional balance, and increase calmness. Movement therapies like pilates, the Feldenkrais method and Alexander technique are also part of Cam.
In order to treat diseases, people take allopathic medicines or undergo an operation, but there is no guarantee that the ailment will not crop up again. Because of this, more people are resorting towards the natural medicine therapies to wipe out the root cause of the ailments and enjoy a healthy living. Many medicines are still created by extracting the properties of the plants and used to provide relief to the patients. Like all medicines, Xenical can sometimes have side effects, it is far better for a doctor to advise if it is suitable for you, based on your lifestyle and medical history.
In the extreme form the vital force is supernatural, while the more moderate form assumes vis medicatrix naturae (“the healing power of nature”), and the physician merely facilitates this. Physicians are trained in the latest techniques, which are not only scientifically proven, but can cure all aspects of an injury to get patients better as soon as possible. Other complementary methods are yoga, naturopathic medicine, herbal remedies and massage therapy. The patients are prescribed certain number of treatment methods after taking into an account their health problems.
Such a position contrasts with materialism, which holds that disease can be explained entirely in terms of materialistic factors (usually biological ones in the case of biomedicine), so there is no need to invoke vitalistic forces. The massage is perhaps the most common type of alternative medicine and the one with the best results.
Similar to this practice is also physiotherapy with the only difference that its treatment methods and results have been scientifically proven. Vitalism leads to a different philosophy about health, healthcare and the role of the healthcare provider.
A physio Ottawa expert uses complementary treatments to cure an injury completely and speed up the recovery process.
Modern massage chairs can be quite expensive, but they can be very helpful for stress and pain relief. A top rated massage chair can cost as much as $5000, but it can be worth the trouble, considering the fact that you can enjoy a soothing massage whenever you want, in the privacy of your home.



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