CAM – Complementary & Alternative Medicine

    There are hundreds of approaches to wellness and medical care around the world. That called Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM) is so labeled based on the primary medical practices of the dominant regional culture (e.g, chiropractic is not CAM in Denmark, acupuncture is not CAM in Asia,  and among Christians, faith/divine-healing is not CAM). As such, in the U.S. the dominant culture presently refers to any non-western medicine approaches to medical care as elements of CAM.

   Alternative medicine acknowledges outcomes, with less emphasis upon traditional evidence-based validation of the mechanisms of action. As such, the traditional physician simply prescribes “validated” primary intervention that insurers acknowledge if not congruent with patients’ personal beliefs. If a patient also favors other types of intervention that should cause no physical or physiological conflict with the primary physician’s intervention, alternative practitioners are willing to offer these interventions. This attitude abounds to the degree that the net care delivered bridges the beliefs of both the clinicians and patients; they are non-disruptive, even if not additive or synergistic.

  Cancer centers are often willing to market themselves as providing non-traditional, alternative services because their customary western approaches are often of limited effectiveness, and only very rarely fully curative. The specialty of Oncology primarily treats cancers with toxic chemicals, surgery, and radiation therapy.  So, these specialists are often pleased to accept the possible efficacy-enhancement of any other, non-toxic, non-harmful, concurrent interventions. These conciliatory gestures appeal to appreciative patients who are then more willing to take part in the full, traditional intervention as prescribed, as needed, and as they are capable of enduring.

   The inability to confirm the effectiveness of alternative interventions by methodologies comparable to those by which western-medicine interventions are assessed does not invalidate the alternatives. If the combined treatment succeeds, the patient thrives and is thereby pleased. The physician becomes a champion and the insurer may stop paying for treatment – everybody wins. Studies of alternative medicine intervention may be expensive, and not supported by industry representatives at risk for revenue loss if the alternatives are successful.

    In spite of not being able to see smartphone signals with our eyes, we capture them and reproduce sound. Some are simply unwilling to accept methods of healing as valid if they do not fit their models and belief systems. All health practitioners should be broadly versed and willing to recognize, if not defer to the abilities of others. By accepting delivery of health maintenance and disease management through alternative approaches as valid we may offer more comprehensive and wholly appealing plans to patients. ISG Health recognizes that your good health matters and wishes for all to live long and prosper.