The National Center for Complementary and Alternative medicine (NCCAM) defines Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM) as a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine.
According to the NCCAM, complementary and alternative therapies are not the same. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine.
Conventional medicine is defined by NCCAM as medicine practices by holders of M.D (Medical Doctor) and D.O (Doctor of Osetopathy) degrees and by allied health professionals, such as nurse-practitioners or advanced practice nurses, registered nurses, physical therapists, and psychologists.
· Wanting greater control over their lives.
· Having a sense of responsibility for their own health care.
· Wanting a more holistic orientation in health care.
· Concern over the side effects of conventional therapies.
· Finding the results of conventional treatments to be inadequate.
· A desire for cultural and philosophical congruence with personal beliefs about health and illness.
· Dissatisfaction with conventional health care.
· Unwillingness to ‘grin and bear’ the effects of diseases.
· The rapid pace and ease in consumers’
· awareness of alternative therapies.
· Growing evidence of effectiveness of alternative therapies.
In 1999, Eliopoulos identifies five basic principles underlying CAM:
· The body has the ability to heal itself.
· Health and healing are related to a harmony of mind, body and spirit.
· Basic good health practices build the foundation for healing.
· Healing practices are individualized.
· People are responsible for their own healing.