Complementary And Alternative Medicine

What is the definition of alternative medicine?

What is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and how does it differ from "conventional" medicine? At the present time, conventional medicine is considered to be that delivered by MDs, DOs, and the allied health professionals they have customarily worked with in the past, such as psychologists, RNs, MSWs, registered dietitians, and physical and occupational therapists. CAM practitioners, however, work with conventional medical practitioners on an increasingly common basis. Therefore, the term "integrative medicine" is becoming favored over the term "complementary and alternative" medicine.

Complementary medicine has meant those forms of non-conventional medicine used in conjunction with conventional treatment; alternative medicine has meant those used instead of conventional medicine.

CAM includes chiropractic doctors, naturopathic doctors, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, mind-body techniques, bioelectromagnetic therapies, aromatherapy, Reiki, Qi gong, T'ai Chi, therapeutic touch, and herbal remedies. As some treatment modalities previously considered to be "CAM" have become more mainstream, and have received more scrutiny and research evidence, they have achieved "conventional" status, such as massage, biofeedback, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Integrative Medicine and CAM for Migraine

Biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other types of counseling or psychotherapy have been studied for headache sufferers, and can be effective. There have also been positive studies of acupuncture for migraine.

Formal studies of aromatherapy suggest benefit from lavender and peppermint oil for the treatment of headaches.