This paper is going to educate the reader about Alternative and Complementary Medicine which is also known as CAM. The paper will define Alternative and Complementary Medicine or CAM and compare it to conventional medicine. The main focus of the paper will be examining the different types of CAM. The types of CAM will be broken into five different groups which are : Whole or Alternative Medical Systems, Mind-Body Medicine, Biologically Based Practices, Manipulative and Body-Based Practices, and Energy Medicine. The reader will read about many mainstream practices such as Chiropractic and Physical therapy as well as many less popular practices such as Color Therapy and Reiki. The paper will also briefly discuss my personal opinion and interest of CAM as well as CAM related to health insurance
CAM – Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Millions of people in the United States suffer from a chronic illness of some kind. A chronic illness is a long-term condition for which there seems to be no cure such as arthritis, allergies, high blood pressure, digestive problems and back pain. Most of the time people that live with chronic illness use conventional medicine, which is taught to medical students in medical schools throughout the world and is based on science and clinical research and most treatments have scientific evidence of their effectiveness but others use Alternative medicine. Alternative medicine has many different origins and philosophies, comes from many different cultures and involves many different practices. Alternative medicine is used for treatment, preventive health care, health maintenance or to enhance well being. There are several established alternative therapies that have earned respectability because they are effective. Methods such as chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture and homeopathy are well researched and their practitioners are well trained and have come to be widely accepted. There are also literally hundreds of other types of alternative treatments that, on the surface seem to be a bit bizarre and are less main stream. The list of what is considered alternative medicine changes often as therapies are proven safe and effective and become adopted into conventional health care. Patients with a terminal illness such as cancer, often turn to alternative medicine after conventional medical treatment has failed them or vice versa. An example of alternative medicine in this case would be using a special diet for cancer treatment instead of or after radiation or chemotherapy. In some cases alternative medicine and conventional medicine can be used together. When this occurs it is called Complementary medicine. An example of this would be when physical therapy is used to rehabilitate a patient after surgery. The use of Complementary Methods and Alternative Medicine is often referred to as CAM and includes a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine (CAM Overview : NCCAM). The chart below show the percentage of adults and children in the U.S who are using some form of CAM (2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) results : NCCAM).
It is unfortunate that at this time that even though there are so many people using different forms of alternative medicine, health insurance coverage is not very good at all. Mainstream forms of alternative medicine such as physical therapy is usually covered to some degree by insurance providers but not usually to the level of conventional medicine. Less popular forms of alternative medicine is usually not covered at all. As these practices become more proven and effective providers should be forced to provide more coverage to their customers. It will be interesting to see how the potential new universal healthcare system will or will not incorporate alternative medicine. This could be one of the...