Contemporary and Alternative Medicine

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), some conventional medical practitioners refer to these as unconventional therapies. WHO defines it as a therapy or a treatment that is not a part of the country’s own tradition or not an integrated part of their health care system. CAM is becoming more available, more used and more socially acceptable in the United States.

CAM products and providers are regulated by NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), an agency for scientific research affiliated with Federal Government. In today’s world, more than one third of American population receives some form of alternative therapy. With the widespread of CAM therapies, Food and Drug Administration is not able to decide if these therapies are to be regulated under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the act) or the Public Health Safety Act (PHS Act). NCCAM categorizes CAM therapies in four domains: biological based therapies, energy therapies, manipulative and body based methods and mind-body medicine. Biological based products are covered under PHS act, whereas cosmetics, dietary supplements, food, food additives etc are covered under (the act). Some categories cover products under both acts. Energy therapies are covered under “the act” because these are alternative to the diagnostic services in the conventional medicine. An example of that would be acupuncture needles. The Manipulative and Body based methods such as massage therapy and reflexology are not regulated under any of two domains of the regulations if no equipment is used in the treatment. However if an equipment such as a massage chair is used during the treatment, it will be covered under “the act.” Mind body medicine deals with interactions among brain, mind, behavior and body include strategies such as meditation, yoga and hypnosis. These practices are not regulated under any act. However once again, if any equipment for example, biofeedback machine is used, then the...
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