Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine: What’s What?
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), defines complementary and alternative medicine as diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently part of conventional medicine. Some scientific evidence exists regarding complementary and alternative therapies, but for most there are many questions in need of answers through well-designed scientific studies.
Complementary medicine is used along with conventional medicine (for example, using massage and drug therapy to reduce the discomfort of fibromyalgia).
Integrative medicine combines mainstream medical therapies with complementary and alternative therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.
Last reviewedAugust 2012by Brian P. Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.