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|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.
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.