Today, people have access to multiple therapies, and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is one of the available options for patients to improve their health. This field of medicine includes acupuncture, acupressure, aromatherapy, art therapy, yoga, hypnosis, and herbal practice. However, the list is not complete, and people’s choices depend on their needs and possibilities. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2017), about 38% of adults and 12% of children prefer to use some forms of CAM.
Although I have not practiced this type of medicine yet, I am free to share my opinion. I believe that it is an individual choice either to use or not to use CAM due to its popularity, unique approach, and complete access, but the lack of scientific research and unclear substances should be taken into consideration.
General Facts About CAM
There are many reasons why people want to use CAM as their primary treatment plan. For example, it is possible to add some complementary therapies to conventional practices to achieve positive results (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2017). In many countries, alternative medicine is preferred over ordinary health care due to some financial, economic, or cultural aspects. Due to CAM spreading, it becomes popular to add this subject to US medical school curriculums and make sure students learn its basics and practice it properly (Cowen & Cyr, 2015). I think that CAM education is necessary today to discover its details, effects, and threats.
Pros of CAM
Many people consider alternative medicine as a natural one when no chemicals or other substances are used. Herbs, physical exercises, or diets will hardly do any harm to the human body, and the mind can be healed. The major compounds of CAM are fish oil, glucosamine, and flaxseed, and it is believed that children can be safely treated (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2017). My thought is that some families may try this practice and discover if a natural approach is helpful. I like the idea of its marketing and advertisement because people need some new options.
Cons of CAM
At the same time, I am not in a hurry to be one of the patients who prefer CAM over conventional medicine. The reasons for my concerns are explained by the lack of credible scientific research and evidence of how acupuncture or homeopathy practitioners may treat such diseases as cancer, heart attacks, or bursitis. I support the idea of Cowen and Cyr (2015) to improve education in this field and gather as many approvals and disagreements as possible to develop a clear picture of CAM. At this moment, I am not sure of the quality of alternative medicine and its appropriateness in treating patients, including children and the elderly.
In my intention to understand the worth of CAM for modern society, I conclude that not enough information is gathered on this topic. Although people are free to choose between conventional and complementary medicines, I am not ready to put my health at risk just to try something new. I belong to a group of people who believe in evidence and actual experiments. I will never rebuke people who visit CAM centers and share their positive experiences. Still, if my family or friends ask me for some pieces of advice, I offer to see a more expensive local hospital instead of addressing a cheaper CAM expert.