Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a diverse and unique system of medical practices and products that are not considered to be a part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used in conjunction with conventional methods, while alternative medicine replaces conventional treatments. While some scientific evidence exists for CAM therapies, there are still questions remaining in regards to its efficacy and safety for the diseases or medical conditions with which they are used.

There are four major domains that define CAM.

+ Whole medical systems are built on theory and practice, usually originating from an earlier time than conventional systems. 

+ Mind-body medicine use the mind's capacity to affect certain bodily functions and symptoms. Common methods are prayer, meditation, and patient support groups. 

+ Biologically-based practices use substances found in nature, such as herbs, foods, and vitamins, to treat illnesses and disorders. 

+ Lastly,
manipulative and body-based practices are based on physically manipulating and stimulating body parts. The sum of these practices is used for the intent of healing in the context of holistic medicine by both osteopathic and allopathic physicians alike.

This page last updated 25th Mar 2013