Types of CAM Modalities

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine divides the various CAM modalities into five categories: (1) alternative medical systems, (2) mind-body interventions, (3) biologically-based treatments, (4) manipulative and body-based methods, and (5) energy therapies. These modalities include a wide variety of approaches, from acupuncture to nutrition to meditation to chiropractic.

Alternative medical systems include medical practices that are traditional in other cultures, such as the ayurvedic medical system of India, Chinese traditional medicine, and traditional Native American and Hawaiian medicine.

COMPLEMENTARY AND

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES POPULAR IN THE UNITED STATES

CAM Category

Alternative medical systems

Examples

Acupuncture, Ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, traditional medical systems, such as aboriginal, African, Middle Eastern, Native American, Chinese, Tibetan, Central and South American

Mind-body interventions

Art therapy, dance therapy, hypnosis, meditation, mental healing, music therapy, prayer

Biologically-based treatments

Special diets and nutrition therapy, such as macrobiotic diet; herbal (botanical) therapy, vitamin/mineral therapy, orthomolecular therapy

Manipulative and body-based methods Chiropractic, massage therapy, osteopathic manipulation

Energy therapies

Biofield therapies, such as Qi gong, Reiki, and Therapeutic Touch; bioelectromagnetic therapies, which involve the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, magnetic fields, or alternating current or direct current fields

SOURCE: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Mind-body interventions recognize the connection between the physical body and the spiritual self, and include practices such as meditation, prayer, and music therapy. Biologically-based modalities are primarily nutrition-related and vary from special diets such as the macrobiotic diet to the inclusion of dietary supplements in the diet. Body-based methods involve hands-on manipulation of the body, and include such modalities as massage and chiropractic. The energy therapies are based on the concept that the body has an energy field that can be manipulated to promote healing.

Included among the nutrition approaches that make up the biologically-based modalities is the use of dietary supplements. Dietary supplements may be botanical (herbal) supplements or nutritional supplements, which include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, metabolites, nonpre-scription hormones, glandular extracts, and various amino acids, fatty acids, and other nutrients.

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