Safety and Effectiveness of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM) refers to health practices or medicine that is not scientifically approved or used by physicians to treat cancer, hypertension, or diabetes. However, it is often thought to be not based on the principles of mainstream medicine. The main difference between mainstream medicine and CAM is the strength of the evidence supporting best practices (Tabish et al., 2018). Moreover, there is a contrast that exists between alternative and complementary medicine. Complementary medicine is mostly recommended by scientists and physicians to be used together with standard medical treatments. For instance, acupuncture is used to minimize the harmful effects of cancer. On the other hand, alternative medicine is adopted as an option or replaces standard medical treatments. For example, a cancer specialist prescribes a special diet to a cancer patient rather than standard medical treatments.
To understand the safety and effectiveness of CAM, it is essential to be familiar with the categories of CAM. Basically, CAM is classified into mind-body medicines, energy-based medicine, biologically based practices, whole medical systems, manipulative and body-based practices (Tabish et al., 2018). Mind-body medicine is described to be a belief that the mind can affect the body. It includes meditation, biofeedback, and hypnosis. Biologically based practices refer to the things found in nature. It comprises herbs, vitamins, food, and a special diet. Moreover, manipulative and body-based techniques are considered useful or work with more than one part of the body. It includes reflexology, massage, and chiropractic care. Furthermore, energy medicine refers to the belief that the body possesses energy fields for wellness and healing. It includes Tai chi, Reiki, and therapeutic touch.
Indeed, there are some CAM’s that might cause harm and side effects to the body. Nonetheless, there is limited research on the various CAM therapies for treating cancer and other chronic diseases. Despite this research, no medical or scientific evidence shows it can be used to cure or treat cancer (Qureshi et al., 2019). Moreover, companies and therapists that promote CAM’s often depend on the reports of individual experiences who describe that therapy has helped them.
More specifically, new therapies derived from the CAM’s need to be compared with the proven and accepted standards of treatment so that their benefits can be known. The best or recommended way to do this is through conducting clinical trials. Unfortunately, some CAM therapies are promoted to make money (Qureshi r et al., 2019). People suffering from chronic diseases such as cancer, hypertension, and diabetes may end up paying massive amounts of money for something that has not been proven or adequately tested. Additionally, the ease of access to CAM’s medicine creates a false sense of security about their safety.
Scientists’ research shows that complementary therapies are effective and safe when used with standard cancer, diabetes, and hypertension treatment. Complementary and Alternative Medicine therapies help the patients suffering from cancer reduce the adverse effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and other treatments. Alternative therapies have been promoted by scientists to be used as options for cancer treatment (Medagama et al., 2017). For instance, instead of chemotherapy, cancer patients have been advised to take herbs or supplements or avoiding specific foods. The types of CAM therapies known to be effective and improve wellbeing include nutrition, physical activity, acupuncture, mind and body practices.
Holistic medicine is a health care approach that focuses on the prevention, treatment, and diagnosis of illness of a whole person’s mind, spirit, and body. It considers mental, emotional, and mental wellbeing to play an essential role in overall health care (Medagama et al., 2017). On the other hand, allopathic medicine focuses on treating the disease and not the overall wellbeing of a person. The primary concern is that all patients should consider holistic medicine that takes care of their overall wellbeing or health.
Tabish, S. A. (2018). Complementary and alternative healthcare: is it evidence-based?. International journal of health sciences, 2(1), V.
Qureshi, N. A., & Al-Bedah, A. M. (2019). Mood disorders and complementary and alternative medicine: a literature review. Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment, 9, 639.
Medagama, A. B., & Bandara, R. (2017). The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) in the treatment of diabetes mellitus: is continued use safe and effective? Nutrition Journal, 13(1), 1-9.