Cam Domains (Categories of Complementary and Alternative Medicine)

Posted on 09 May 2011 20:54

By S Phadke

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) divides CAM practices into four broad domains; it is recognized that there could be some crossover among the CAM domains. NCCAM also studies CAM systems that cut across all four domains (they are called whole medical system).

The four domains are:

1. Mind-Body Medicine

The medical practices falling in this CAM domain are based on the belief that the mind has the capacity to affect bodily functions and systems. They use techniques designed to increase capacity of the mind to initiate or assist healing processes. Some techniques, such as patient support groups and cognitive-behavioral therapy that were previously considered CAM are now included in the mainstream therapy. Other techniques in this category such as prayer, meditation, mental healing, etc are still considered CAM. Some other therapies involve creative artistic outlets such as dance, music, etc.; they also are considered CAM.

2. Biologically based practices

The medical practices falling in this CAM domain are based on biological practices and use herbs, foods, etc.- substances found in nature in their therapies to bring about curative actions.

3. Manipulative and Body-Based Practices

The medical practices falling in this CAM domain are manipulative and body-based practices. Their therapies use pressing, massaging, rubbing, and moving muscles, etc mainly by using the hands and fingers in an effort to aid in restoring health. The aim is to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the massaged area. Manipulation may be performed as a part of other therapies or whole medical systems such as naturopathy.

4. Energy Medicine.

Acupuncture and acupressure, magnetic therapy, qi gong and Reiki fall in this CAM domain. Other techniques also that fall in this same category are laser therapy, light therapy, Healing Touch, etc Two types of Energy therapies involve use of energy fields. They are:

  • Biofield therapies which are based on the belief that human body is surrounded by and penetrated by certain energy fields. Examples include qi gong that combines meditation and movement with controlled breathing. This is intended to improve the flow of qi and blood.
  • Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies which involve the use of magnetic and electromagnetic fields.
CAM domains, categories of alternative medicine

Whole Medical Systems

These systems are built upon more rigorous theory and practice and have often evolved apart from and earlier than conventional medical system used in USA. These systems include homeopathy, naturopathy, Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, etc.

Ayurveda medical system originated in India. It aims to integrate the body, mind, and spirit to prevent and treat disease. Therapies used include herbs, massage, and yoga.

Homeopathic medicine and Naturopathic medical system originated in Europe. According to Homeopathy, which developed in Germany, the human body has the ability to heal itself, and in order to stimulate the healing ability of the body very small, highly diluted doses of certain substances are administered. The substances administered are those that in larger doses would produce illness or symptoms. This is called "like cures like" approach.

Naturopathy aims to support the body's ability to heal itself through the use of dietary and lifestyle changes together with CAM therapies such as herbs, massage, and joint manipulation.

Traditional Chinese medical system originated in China. Its underlying concept is that disruption in the flow of qi (also commonly spelled chi) and in the balance in yin and yang forces causes diseases. Qi is believed to be part of every living thing that exists, as a kind of "life force" or "spiritual energy" Use of meditation, massage, herbs, and acupuncture aid healing by restoring the yin-yang balance and the flow of qi.

This grouping into CAM domains is only for the ease of the study of the various practices and therapies involved.

S. Phadke is a retired professional. He enjoys writing and has been writing articles on a variety of subjects such as Energy Conservation, Home Based Industries, Online Data Storage, Internet marketing, etc.

He has written a series of articles on Health related issues and on CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine)

He can be contacted at moc.liamg|ekdahpns#moc.liamg|ekdahpns


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