Complementary and alternative medicine (or CAM) deals with medical products and practices considered to be outside conventional clinical care. Complementary medicine involves the use of non-conventional medical practices in addition to standard treatment, while alternative medicine is utilised to substitute traditional healthcare. An example of complementary medicine is the employment of acupuncture practices to help reduce the side effects of cancer treatment. Alternative medicine includes dietary supplements, natural products, vitamins, herbal recipes, various teas, massage therapy, hypnotherapy, magnet therapy, and spiritual healing.
CAM practices can be divided into four major categories: alternative medical systems, mind-body interventions, manipulative methods and energy therapies. Integrative therapies have undergone testing by medical researchers, and some have proved effective. Although CAM is still undergoing scientific investigation to demonstrate its medical efficacy and benefits, it already starting being clinically integrated.
Some universities offer science-based programmes in CAM for students who wish to broaden their medical knowledge with non-traditional therapeutic methods. These can be undergraduate or graduate degrees in physiology and biophysics, health sciences, natural sciences with concentrations in complementary medicine, body-mind integrative studies, wellness and alternative medicine studies, among others. Graduates in complementary and alternative medicine courses can work as therapists, physicians, nutritionists, health administrators, nurses, researchers or freelancers. They can develop careers in hospitals, clinics, medical centers, wellness centers or international health organisations.Read more