What is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)?

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of healthcare systems, practices and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. As many as 38% of adults in the United States use some form of CAM, most often in conjunction with conventional medicine, rather than in place of it. Researchers have separated CAM into four broad categories: 
  • Alternative and mind-body medicine: including meditation, yoga and tai chi
  • Manipulative practices: including massage, chiropractic and osteopathic treatments
  • Other CAM practices: including acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy and naturopathy
  • Natural products: including non-vitamin and non-mineral supplements, particularly those used for insomnia treatment, such as melatonin and valerian
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.