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It is the use of non-medical methods in the healthcare process. These include the use of supplements, mind-body techniques, energy techniques and manipulation techniques.
One major area of CAM is the use of natural and other supplements. These can include a full range of vitamin supplements, oil supplements such as Omega-3 and plant sterols as well as herbal supplements such as gingko and ginseng that are made from the roots of different plants.
Within CAM, examples of mind-body technique include meditation, hypnosis, tai chi and yoga. Mind-body medicine focuses on the interactions between the brain and the rest of the body and focuses on ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, experiential, and behavioral factors can directly affect health.
Energy therapies use magnets and therapeutic touch to manipulate the body’s energy fields and improve health. The technique of Reiki involves a practitioner either placing their hands on or near the patient’s body to access the body’s natural energy to speed healing. There is no evidence that these techniques have health benefits but they have been shown to improve mood, happiness and to create a feeling of calm.
Manipulation techniques include massage, joint mobilization and joint manipulation therapies. Usually performed by a healthcare professional such as a chiropractor or osteopath, these techniques entail the practitioner using their hands to manipulate the patient’s body often a joint or muscle that is causing pain. Acupuncture is often classed as a manipulation technique.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese technique that treats patients by inserting and manipulating small, thin needles in the body. Practitioners believe that acupuncture can help correct imbalances in the body’s qi (energy flow). Although evidence to support the efficacy of acupuncture as a cure for disease, it is recognized as a viable alternative to conventional pain relief.
CAM techniques are often used to treat patients with chronic pain when conventional medicine has little or no effect. Conditions such as insomnia or recurring migraines can also be helped by certain CAM techniques. Ask your GP for more information on CAM.
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