About C.A.M.

“Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well…and not today’s pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man.”

— James H. West

What do you know about C.A.M.?

The 2007 National Health Interview Survey (N.H.I.S.) which included a comprehensive survey of C.A.M. use by Americans, showed that approximately 38% of adults use C.A.M.

Typically, C.A.M. is known as alternative medicine, a term used by conventional physicians to refer to practices used outside of conventional medicine. It’s really when approaches are used instead of conventional therapy. When alternative therapy is used in addition to conventional therapy, it’s called complementary. When complementary therapy is used in addition to conventional, it’s known as integrative.

C.A.M. consists of a very wide spectrum of practices from acupuncture, to reiki, to yoga. The image above simply illustrates some of the most common practices of C.A.M. and the categories into which they are divided. Be reminded, though, that a particular practice is not necessarily a component of only the category it is defined. For example, acupuncture is considered to be a part of mind-body medicine but is also a component of energy medicine, manipulative and body-based practices and traditional Chinese medicine.

The spectrum of C.A.M. practices varies far and wide with different techniques and procedures. So wide, in fact, that I couldn’t tell you of all the different approaches. Many are less understood and, as such, are not popular. Some approaches are gaining new popularity such as techniques of energy medicine. Others are so widely known that one may forget that it’s a complementary and alternative approach, like yoga and meditation. Regardless of the technique, the basic principles of healing remains the same:

  • Identify and treat the cause of dis-ease. Many (though, not all) conventional practices focus on treating symptoms rather than the root cause of disease.
  • Treat the whole person. The whole person: body, mind & spirit. Illness in one dimension can cause illness in another. One cannot treat one dimension alone when all three may be affected and achieve good health. And, for the most part, one dimension is not diseased alone.


Find Complementary & Alternative Medicine Journals: BioMed Central

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

~ Thomas Edison

  1. Hi Amy
    I read your article on “Does green tea really make you lose weight?”. I bought long jin tea leaves from my recent china trip & wish to know if drinking the tea together with my omega 3 fish oil has harmful effects? Is it natural to avoid tea with supplements?

    • Hello,
      It’s probably best not to have the tea and the supplement together. You can have the tea and take your supplements an hour or so after. The reason isn’t because of the possibility of harmful side effects, but the tea may reduce the effectiveness of them. You can think of it as it washing away the good stuff before it gets a chance to fully absorb into your system. Enjoy your tea!

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