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Complementary Medicine or Alternative Medicine

Read the following statements from your course textbook and answer the following questions:

There is no complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). There is only medicine; medicine that has been tested and found to be safe and effective . . . Medicine that has been tested and not found to be safe and effective . . . and medicine that is plausible but has not been tested . . .

  • How would you apply the above statement to CAM therapies?
  • “Complementary therapy” and “alternative therapy” are the terms used interchangeably. Do you think a meaningful difference exists between these two terms? Why?
  • What barriers exist in traditional (allopathic) medicines for acceptance of CAM therapies?
  • Why is it insufficient to rely on a century’s worth of anecdotal evidence for alternative therapies?

Keeping in view the fact that CAM involves key components that often differ from those of contemporary Western medical practices, answer the questions below:

  • If CAM therapies focus on wellness, how does this focus differ from allopathic medicine?
  • Proponents of CAM believe that the body is self-healing. What is your view regarding the same? Give an example from the course textbook or your experience to support this contention.
  • What role do plants play in supporting CAM interventions?
  • CAM therapies are often personalized. How does this individualization contrast with modern allopathic medicine?