Complementary and Alternative Methods
Complementary and alternative methods of healthcare, also known as CAM, has not just been a buzz topic for the past couple of years, as history shows various methodologies and therapies date back well over 5,000 years. Complementary medicine refers to therapies that complement traditional western medicine using conventional techniques. While alternative methods refer to modern therapies that are used in place of traditional medicine to treat or ameliorate disease.
Countries from the middle and far east have developed unique methods of healthcare over the years that are deemed traditional and conventional in eastern culture, while considered non-conventional and complimentary in western culture. Depending on one’s place of birth or residence, religious practice, or common preference, CAM methods have continually evolved into integrative modern medicine today. These integrative methods have gained popularity recently, with the evidence of such athletes playing well beyond their projected years in respective sports.
In health care, CAM practices are grouped within five major domains:
Alternative medical systems, i.e., homeopathy or Ayurveda
Mind-body interventions, i.e., yoga or meditation
Biologically based treatments, i.e., diets and digestive herbs
Manipulative and body-based methods, i.e., chiropractic techniques and massage
Energy therapies, i.e., Reiki and magnet therapy, amongst other techniques.
Through these common practices and methodologies, the basic philosophy of complementary and alternative medicine involves holistic care, in belief that one’s body has the power to heal itself.
Some purists may view these modern methods as biased, however increasing evidence has proven that these modern techniques are continually becoming more ideal and highly sought after by many people, such as, preventing a lay person from having surgery or dealing with a highly conditioned athlete.
Take the current Super Bowl champion quarterback, Tom Brady (41 years old). He has delivered statistically some of his best years of his career after the age of 35, using a wide array of aids and diet to promote his longevity. Likewise, Lebron James, NBA Legend, continues to be a statistical machine, with over 16 years of professional experience in a stressful sport such as basketball, although it’s been largely reported that his camp spends over $1,000,000 annually on various aids and recovery methods.
As these alternative methods become more viable and available to the lay public, our advice is to research the therapeutic method, as well as the individual performing the therapy. Make sure you understand the benefits and the biological cost before you make the right decision for you.