Contemporary and alternative medicine

Some healing treatments — like acupuncture or herbal medicine — are not part of conventional medical training. People in Western countries like the United States used to consider these treatments outside the mainstream, or "alternative. But until recently, most Western hospitals didn't provide any alternative treatments, and Western medical schools didn't teach them. Now some Western medical schools teach non-traditional therapies and some hospitals use them in their care.

Contemporary and alternative medicine

Traditional, complementary and alternative medicine: Each chapter has been authored by one or more international experts. Traditional medicine is an amorphous concept that comprises a range of long-standing and still evolving practices based on diverse beliefs and theories.


Health care can broadly be divided into modern conventional, orthodox, Western or allopathic and traditional indigenous, complementary, alternative or integrative.

The former is clearly defined, with minor regional variations in its underlying philosophy and clinical methods. In modern medicine, knowledge expansion is achieved through scientific research, which can involve global collaboration and commitment. Such research is well supported financially by industry, governments and philanthropic organizations.

This is in sharp contrast to the situation with TCAM. The book argues that education is a critical means of ensuring safe and effective practice of TCAM. However, levels of education vary Contemporary and alternative medicine from country to country, and in many countries, the current curricula may not be adequate enough to ensure that the potential benefits of various forms of TCAM therapies are fully realized.

Alternative medicine - Wikipedia

The health benefits of TCAM have not so far been fully assessed in ways that can be universally accepted as being evidence based. This is partly due to the philosophical differences and cultural barriers between the countries where such therapies originated and the Western countries where they are now also being practised.

Much of the research on TCAM is of questionable quality and often it does not use modern scientific techniques. The book proposes that a combined political and scientific approach will be necessary to provide for a comprehensive research agenda targeted at establishing the potential risks and benefits of TCAM.

Only then will health-care professionals be in a position to make informed decisions about the use of TCAM therapies alongside those of conventional Western therapies.

With the effective leadership of WHO, a number of countries have developed traditional medicine policies; however, appropriate funding for traditional medicine research has generally not been forthcoming.

Complementary and Integrative Medicine: MedlinePlus

It is argued in the book that the extent to which individual countries, particularly Western countries, have actually committed to supporting TCAM can be measured in terms of the funding that has been allocated to research and practice.

Research efforts in Western countries have been largely concerned with the quality, safety and efficacy of only certain forms of TCAM, such as herbal medicine and acupuncture.

Such a focus on herbal medicine may be due to the perceived higher level of risk associated with its practice and also because of its potential for exploitation in drug discovery.

For some modalities of TCAM, there has been significant progress towards the development of an underpinning evidence base, for example, the research on Artemisia spp. Several of the contributors to the book maintain that there needs to be a better understanding of the reasons for the sudden rise in the popularity of TCAM in the developed world.

Contemporary and alternative medicine

The intellectual property rights associated with the knowledge embodied in the TCAM therapies is another important issue that is discussed in some detail in the book. The impressive team of contributors to this book foreshadows its likely impact on the ongoing integration of the main forms of TCAM and modern medicine.

The book provides an overview of the many and complex issues surrounding the expanding use of TCAM.

What are the different types of CAM?

It will be of value to government policy-makers, regulators, researchers and health-care practitioners.Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard medical care.

Standard medical care is medicine that is practiced by health professionals who hold an M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degree.

When describing these approaches, people often use “alternative” and “complementary” interchangeably, but the two terms refer to different concepts: If a non-mainstream practice is used together with conventional medicine, it’s considered “complementary.”.

Technically, “alternative” treatments are used in place of conventional medicine; when used alongside standard medical practices, alternative approaches are referred to as “complementary. Technically, “alternative” treatments are used in place of conventional medicine; when used alongside standard medical practices, alternative approaches are referred to as “complementary.

Some people also refer to it as “integrative,” or “complementary” medicine. About 40% of adults in the United States say they use some form of alternative medicine. If a non-mainstream practice is used together with conventional medicine, it’s considered “complementary.” If a non-mainstream practice is used in place of conventional medicine, it’s considered “alternative.” Most people who use non-mainstream approaches also use conventional health care.

The Alternative Fix - Clash | FRONTLINE | PBS