The use of complementary medicine is more popular than ever in the U.S. More and more people are realizing the power of natural sources for remedying and preventing common physical and mental health problems. Because many traditional medical specialists and patients are becoming more familiar with the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), they are using them with greater frequency in combination with traditional medical treatments. There are many different types of CAM treatments and therapies. Examples include:
- Homeopathic treatment
- Deep breathing exercises
- Tai chi
- Herbal supplementation
- Music therapy
Did you know?
Though you may have never met with an integrative medicine specialist, chances are you have practiced some form of complimentary therapy or alternative medicine at some point in your life. In fact, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that 38 percent of American adults regularly used some form of CAM therapy in 2007. Some therapies are more important than others, with Americans opting for the use of natural products, meditation, chiropractic and massage in greater numbers than diet based therapies and homeopathic treatments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Could I benefit from seeing a complementary and alternative medicine specialist?
CAM therapies offer many biological and mental benefits. Most of them are considered safe under the instruction or care of an experienced health professional. Research is ongoing into the efficacy of various treatments, but current findings in many types of CAM treatments have supported theories that CAM can provide significant health benefits. Depending on the type of therapy or alternative medicine you pursue, you could experience a reduction in chronic pain, improved cardiovascular health, better joint health, increased energy, or heightened mental acuity.
What should I expect when consulting with a integrative medicine specialist?
If you see a CAM specialist, you may be asked many of the same questions that a traditional doctor would ask. Your family history, physical symptoms and overall health all play a role in the determining which types of therapy or treatments could be right for you. But you can be sure that your integrative medicine specialist will work with you using the most conservative and natural methods possible.
How will complementary and alternative therapies integrate into my lifestyle?
If you decide that complementary and alternative medicine is right for you, there are many ways of incorporating it into your lifestyle. Some people choose to use therapies selectively and as a supplement to medical treatments, whereas others practice them as an ongoing method of preventive care and health maintenance. Some even choose to practice a single system of alternative medicine, such as naturopathy, independently of all other forms of medicine.