The CAM or the complementary and alternative medicine is a diverse group of heath care and medical systems, products and practices are usually not considered as a part of the conventional medicine, otherwise known as allopathic or western medicine. Most of the people use both kinds of medicines for good health and well being. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has classified the alternative and complementary treatments under five huge categories. The five main types of alternative medicine are given below.
1. Whole medical systems
The treatments are usually built on the complete systems of both theory and practice. These systems have evolved earlier than the conventional approach of treatment used in the United States. Most popular systems include acupuncture, ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.
2. Mind and body medicine
These forms of treatments use different techniques for enhancing the mind’s capacity to affect the symptoms and functioning of the body. Certain techniques that were believed to be alternative like the cognitive behavioral therapy, has become a main type of treatment today. Various other mind and body techniques are considered to be a part of the complementary and alternative therapy such as the biofeedback, mindfulness meditation, music therapy, progressive muscle relaxation, relaxation response and yoga.
3. Biologically based therapies
These treatments include the use of various items found in nature like foods, herbs, vitamins, etc. They also include many natural therapies that are not yet scientifically proven. Dieting and use of nutritional and herbal supplements are very important.
4. Manipulative and body-based therapies
Massages are indulgent. However, along with many other kinds of body-based therapies, they are known to be healing too. The techniques used are based on manipulation and movement of the various parts of the body. The techniques include Alexander technique, Feldenkrais, massage therapy, reflexology, rolfing and Shiatsu.
5. Energy therapies
The energy therapies use the energy fields for treatment. There are 2 types of therapies. One is biofield therapies. They are intended for affecting the energy fields that penetrate and surround the human body. Some forms manipulate the biofields by applying pressure or sing the hands through or in the fields. There is no scientific proof for the existence of such fields. The second is the bioelectromagnetic-based therapy that involves unconventional use of the electromagnetic fields. The therapies include reiki, qi gong and therapeutic touch.
With so many options available, people have a lot of options to choose from the kind of treatment that is more suitable to them. Some people are more comfortable using the alternative medicine than the conventional treatments. Many people who feel that the conventional treatment is not bringing any relief to their disease may look forward to use one of these alternative medicines for finding a cure for their ailments. So, it depends on the kind of treatment and how effective it is that people begin to turn towards these alternative treatments. According to the telephone interview conducted by researchers on alternative medicines, the highest number of people who used such treatments belongs to the age group of 25-49 years. They had better incomes and education. So the treatments chosen by the people depend on various factors including availability, cost and treatment methods among others.