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Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical and healthcare systems, practices and products that are not presently considered part of conventional medicine. CAM includes such products and practices as herbal supplements, meditation, chiropractic manipulation and acupuncture.

Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy to help lessen a patient's discomfort following surgery.

Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of alternative therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation or chemotherapy as recommended by a physician.

While some forms of CAM can be beneficial, others used in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments can be harmful. Cancer patients who are considering CAM should—before starting therapy—ask their doctors about the benefits, risks and side effects to ensure the therapy will not interfere with their conventional treatments.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine can include the following:

  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Chiropractic therapy
  • Diet therapy
  • Homeopathy
  • Massage therapy
  • Meditation
  • Naturopathy
  • Spirituality and prayer
  • Support groups
  • Yoga

Overlake has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary care provider. Any decisions about incorporating Complementary and Alternative therapies should be first discussed with your healthcare provider. The mention of any service or therapy is not an endorsement by Overlake Medical Center.