Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies

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Specific Therapeutic Technique Paper
With the growing popularity of complementary and alternative medicine certain therapies have become more common without the need of a practitioner's hand. One of these common therapies is called aromatherapy. Aromatherapy combines the medicinal properties of plants with oil massages. Aromatherapy can be found in one of the five categories of therapies defined by the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and with the available knowledge it can provide a therapeutic experience. CAM Categories

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has five categories of alternative therapies. The categories include biologically based practices, energy medicine, manipulative and body-based practices, mind-body medicine, and whole medical systems. Biologically based practices generally consist of natural components. NCCAM (2004) provides that biologically based practices includes, but is not limited to, botanicals, animal-derived extracts, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, proteins, prebiotics and probiotics, whole diets, and functional foods (para 1). A significant part of biologically based practices are dietary supplements. The dietary supplements contain at least one biologically based product to provide for a popular trend. Energy medicine is divided into two different types, veritable and putative energy. Veritable energies can be measured and putative energies have not been measured to date. Veritable energies use mechanical vibrations, electromagnetic forces, magnetism, light, and other electromagnetic spectrum rays. Each component of veritable energy use wavelengths and frequencies to treat consumers. Putative energies focus more on the concept that humans contain an energy, also known as life force. Putative energies are used in the Japanese Kampo system, Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, and in a few other alternative medicine practices. Manipulative and body-based practices include chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, Alexander technique, reflexology, rolfing, Feldenkrais method, and numerous others. One study (Eisenberg et al., 1998) shows that visits to chiropractors (191,886,000) and to massage practitioners (113,723,000) accounted for half of all visits to alternative practitioners (para 7). Manipulative and body-based practices are centered around the system and structures of the human body. Several manipulative and body-based practices were created from traditional Eastern cultures while chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation were created over a century ago. Mind-body medicine centers on the interactions between the mind, body, brain, and individuals' behavior in conjunction to how they affect health. Mind-body practices include meditation, yoga, hypnosis, qi gong, tai chi, and biofeedback. The practice of mind-body medicine has grown very popular over the last decade, especially in the United States. The last alternative therapy category is whole medical systems. Whole medical systems consist are a combination of practice and theory that were derived from conventional medicine. Some examples of whole medical systems include Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, and naturopathy. Whole medical systems focus on the idea that the human body is able to heal itself. All five categories of CAM therapies offer unique ways of healing the human body, but the path to healing relies on the individual and which CAM he or she chooses.

Aromatherapy is associated with two categories that the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine provide. These categories include mind-body medicine and manipulative and body-based practices. Ford-Martin (2001) defines aromatherapy as the therapeutic use of plant-derived, aromatic essential oils to promote physical and psychological well-being. It is sometimes used in combination with massage...
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