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Complementary or Alternative Medicine - Essay Example

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Contemporary and alternative medicines (CAM) represent a spectrum of diverse medical practices, old and new-age, designed to prevent or treat diseases and other health conditions. Comprised of different treatment approaches, medical traditions and philosophies, CAM has gained significant popularity during the last decades…
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Download file to see previous pages In contemporary context, many states that license for CAM certain practices, press coverage devoted to CAM and positive publicity naturally contribute to increase of CAM awareness among the general population. Those individual who seek to improve health and well-being, including the relief of symptoms associated with chronic illness or the side-effects to conventional treatment refer to CAM as to safe and reliable health alternative. From demographical perspective, millions of immigrants coming from various cultural backgrounds choose CAM treatments because it corresponds to their traditional beliefs, philosophy and expectations. For instance, it explains why Traditional Chinese Medicine became very popular recently. In addition, help-seeking individuals may refer to CAM providers because CAM medicine is generally perceived as more affordable than conventional western medicine, and thus seems to be more a logical and suitable choice for patients not covered by insurance. Furthermore, individuals are more likely to choose CAM health providers because traditional medicine became ineffective for them or failed to meet their expectations. According to Barnes et al (2008), common diseases and conditions for which people use CAM includes back, neck, or joint pain, arthritis, and mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, ADHA/ADD). Overall, 38% of adults had used complementary and alternative medicine in the previous 12 month, most commonly nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products, deep breathing exercises, meditation, chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, massage therapy, and yoga (Barnes et al , 2008). It is evident that the main underlying reason why CAM is so popular today among various population groups, is because it provides effective therapeutic solutions for many health conditions and is generally has positive patient outcomes.
Empirical evidence suggests that CAM can be very beneficial for the patients as a safe alternative to certain pharmaceutical medication treatments and other traditional medical interventions. For instance, Dunn, Sleep and Collett (2004) found the use of aromatherapy massage with patients in an intensive care unit, resulted in elevated mood and decreased anxiety. A study done by Styles (1987), reported the use of aromatherapy with 20 hospitalized children diagnosed with HIV who were experiencing pain. The outcomes of Styles' study (1987) included decreased chest pain, peripheral neuropathy, and muscles spasm, along with a decrease in requested analgesics. According to Thomas, aromatherapy using odorants "penetrate the bloodstream via the lungs causing physiologic changes," such as lowering blood pressure, which is associated with the reduction of adverse psychosocial symptoms including stress and anxiety (Thomas, 2002, p. 8). In another study, Lin, Chan, Ng and Lam (2007) found that the use of lavender may be a possible alternative in lieu of psychotropic medications in those diagnosed with dementia who are also experiencing agitation. Furthermore, one of the most popular CAM, acupuncture, has been shown to have positive outcomes in treatment of depression. To illustrate, a double-blind study involving 38 women (ages 18 to 45) demonstrated how acupuncture significantly reduced ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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