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complementary medicine

noun
1.
Also called alternative medicine. the treatment, alleviation, or prevention of disease by such techniques as osteopathy, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and acupuncture, allied with attention to such factors as diet and emotional stability, which can affect a person's wellbeing See also holism (sense 2)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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complementary medicine in Science
complementary medicine  
A method of delivering of health care that combines the therapies and philosophies of conventional medicine with those of alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and biofeedback.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for complementary medicine

alternative medicine

Alternative and complementary medicine covers a broad range of healing philosophies, approaches, and therapies. The Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines alternative and complementary medicine as "those treatments and health care practices not taught widely in medical schools, not generally used in hospitals, and not usually reimbursed by medical insurance companies." Many of these therapies are holistic, which means that the health care practitioner considers the whole person, including his or her physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual characteristics. Many treatments are also preventive, the practitioner educating and treating the person to prevent health problems from arising rather than treating the patient after disease has already occurred. Some of the commonly used alternative and complementary therapies are acupuncture, Ayurveda, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy, massage, meditation, naturopathy, prayer, shamanism, therapeutic touch, and yoga.

Learn more about alternative medicine with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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