CAM treatment (Complementary and Alternative) – Everything you should know about

CAM treatment (Complementary and Alternative) – Everything you should know about

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term referring to medical products and practices that are not part of standard medical care. People with cancer opt for CAM treatment for various purposes. In this post, will cast light on this treatment method for your further consideration. 

Different treatment approaches used in the healthcare system

Integrative medicine

This is an approach to medical care that combines CAM practices with standard medicine. In fact, it has been proved to be safe and effective through many studies and research. This approach often depends on the patient’s preferences, and its purpose is to cope with the physical. mental, and spiritual aspects of health.

Standard medical care

The standard medical care method requires health professionals to hold an M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) degree. It is also practiced by other health professionals, such as physician assistants, physical therapists, psychologists, and registered nurses. Some common interchangeable terms are biomedicine, allopathic, regular medicine, or orthodox. 

Complementary and alternative treatment (CAM treatment)

CAM treatment

Healthcare providers opt for complementary medicine along with standard medical treatment. However, it is not considered by itself to be the standard treatment. For example, the use of acupuncture to help alleviate some side effects of cancer treatment.

Alternative medicine, on the other hand, is a substitution for standard medical treatment. For instance, some people go for a special diet to treat cancer instead of special drugs that the oncologist has prescribed. People with cancer may use CAM to:

  • Help cope with the potential side effects of cancer treatments, such as pain, nausea, fatigue, and more.
  • Put their mind at ease, comfort themselves and alleviate the worries of cancer treatment or related stress
  • Try to treat or cure their cancer
  • Give the feeling that they are in charge of their own wellbeing – doing something to help with their own care

Types of CAM treatment

CAM is under investigation for quite a while; however, there’re many more things waiting for us to explore. Normally, the medical staff uses the below five categories to describe complementary and alternative medicine: 

Mind-Body Therapies

The mind-body approach is the effective combination of breathing, focus, and body movements to relax both our physical and mental bodies. Some prime examples could be:

  • Meditation: Repetition of words or focused breathing to quiet and calm the mind.
  • Biofeedback: Thanks to some simple machines, cancer patients learn how to take control and affect some certain body’s parts/functions that are normally out of their awareness (such as heart rate).
  • Yoga: Systems of stretches and poses, with special attention given to breathing.
  • Hypnosis: A state of focused and relaxed attention. This is when the cancer patients concentrate on a certain idea, feeling, perception, or suggestion to aid in healing.
  • Tai Chi: Involves gentle and slow movements with a focus on our concentration ability and the breath pattern.
  • Imagery: Imagining images, experiences, and scenes to help the body heal.
  • Creative outlets: involve the patient’s hobbies or interests such as music, art, or dance.

CAM treatment

Biologically Based Practices

This type of CAM uses things found in nature. Some examples are:

  • Vitamins and dietary supplements.
  • Special foods or diets
  • Botanicals, which are plants or parts of plants.
  • Herbs and spices such as mint, turmeric, or cinnamon. 

Manipulative and Body-Based Practices

These CAM practices involve the co-operation of one or more parts of the body. Some examples are:

  • Massage: The soft tissues of the body are rubbed, kneaded, tapped, and stroked.
  • Chiropractic therapy: A manipulating practice of the joints, spine, and skeletal system.
  • Reflexology: The medical staff uses pressure points in the patient’s hands or feet to affect other parts of their body.

Biofield Therapy

Biofield therapy, a.k.a energy medicine, involves the belief that the body has energy fields that can be used for healing and wellness. Therapists use their hands or feet’ pressure or move the body by placing their hands in or through these fields. Some examples are:

  • Reiki: This is the act of balancing by placing hands on either near the patient or from a distance
  • Therapeutic touch: Moving hands over energy fields of the body

Whole Medical Systems

These systems are healing practices and beliefs that have evolved over time in different cultures and parts of the world. Some examples are:

  • Ayurvedic medicine: A medical system from India, its goal is to cleanse the body and restore balance to the mind, body, and spirit.
  • Naturopathic medicine: Uses different methods that facilitate the body in its natural healing. Herbal treatments, for instance.
  • Traditional Chinese medicine: Based on the belief that health is a balance in the body of two forces called yin and yang.
  • Homeopathy: Cancer patients use very small doses of special substances to trigger the body to heal itself.
  • Acupuncture: it is a common practice in the Chinese medical system. It involves stimulating certain parts of the body to promote health, or to reduce disease symptoms and cancer treatment’s side effects.

Recommendations and tips when using CAM treatment

Several CAM therapies have been carefully evaluated and are believed to be safe and effective. These include yoga, acupuncture, and meditation. However, there are other types that do not work, maybe harmful, or may interact negatively with your medications.

CAM treatment

CAM treatment includes a wide variety of plant and nutritional products, such as herbs and supplements, and vitamins. And, there is no need for a prescription to buy them. Therefore, to decide what is best for you, keep in mind some tips below:

  • Herbal supplements can be harmful when you use them in large doses. And St. John’s seaweed, which some people use for depression, can prevent some cancer drugs from working effectively.
  • Inform your healthcare giver if you are taking any pills or dietary supplements, even vitamins. It’s crucial no matter how safe you think they would be. Simply put, while there may be advertisements or claims that something has been used for many years, they do not prove that it is safe or effective. This is even more true when combined with your medications.
  • Talk to your doctor about what you should eat. People with cancer often wonder about the different foods to eat during treatment. However, it’s important to know that more than one particular food or diet has been shown to control cancer.
  • It’s always been important for you to have a healthy diet, especially when suffering from cancers. Do your best to take a comprehensive approach, eating a variety of healthy foods. 
  • Talk with your doctor before you use CAM. Cancer patients who want to use CAM should consult their doctor or nurse for proper recommendations. It’s also a good idea to learn if the therapy you’re thinking about has been proven to do what it claims to do. 

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