Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) or Alternative Care
Conventional medicine has a long history of tried and tested interventions based on solid science. However, there is equally a very old tradition especially in the Orient of other alternative remedies and preventive measures that have been practiced and handed over to generations for millennia. Complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, refers to the use of naturally occurring non-biomedical interventions to supplement conventional medicine (Dimitrelis et al., 2017). In Europe and the United States, most of these alternative therapies are used for patients with chronic incurable illnesses such as cancer. These include herbal medicines, acupuncture, and homeopathy amongst others. The purpose of this paper is to present three different alternative and preventive therapies and to discuss their benefits and limitations. Complementary and Alternative Medicine And Alternative Care Essay
The alternative therapy of acupuncture comes from traditional Chinese medicine and has been practiced for very many years in that country. It involves the insertion of very thin needles at strategic places on the body and the objective is to relieve pain and other symptoms (Cho & Kim, 2021). The benefits of acupuncture are many and it is often used in the West to relieve cancer pain for terminal cancer patients. These include back pain relief, relief from stress, relief from headaches, and improved immunity amongst other benefits. The limitations of this alternative therapy are based on the fact that there is no mainstream science that validates the claim that it is efficacious in doing what it claims to do. As such, it does not yet meet the stringent requirements of evidence-based practice or EBP.
Mark and Lyons (2014) present a compelling argument for spirituality as an alternative method of care to conventional practice. Spirituality, in the authors’ opinion, is the belief in a higher, mystical entity that can cure you simply by connecting your attention to the spiritual realm. This enables the body to recover itself as a result. Spirituality, according to the authors, is a set of beliefs that pervade society as a whole. It is rooted in the mind-body-spirit link, according to them. Bringing all three of these elements into harmony necessitates a specific relationship with the spiritual realm, which is where spiritual healers come in. The benefits of spiritual care are that it is free, it relaxes he person and gives them hope, and it prevents the hopeless situation that arises out of medical futility. The major limitation is that it is based only on belief and not science.
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Homeopathy is an alternative or complementary therapy that is claimed to treat people by stimulating and strengthening their immune systems to respond better to illness and disease (Better Health, 2015). The method makes use of different preparations whose exact composition is not known. The advantage of homeopathy is that it complements conventional medicine especially at times that there is medical futility and a patient is desperate. An example is a patient who has terminal cancer and would like to try the intervention. The limitation is that this therapy has not been proven by research to be effective. The other limitation is that because of the lack of evidence for efficacy, using this therapy at the expense of proven conventional medicine may result in unwanted consequences.
Incorporation Into Patient Care
The above three alternative interventions can be incorporated into patient care after all conventional medical therapies have proved futile as in terminal cancer. This way they can give hope to the patient. However, spirituality can be used alongside conventional therapy because it does not have a direct harm but only strengthens holistic care. The patient population that would benefit most from this incorporation into patient care are cancer patients.
Alternative preventive therapies have been there for very many years. They complement conventional medical practices but unfortunately they do not have scholarly evidence proving efficacy. For this reason they have to be used with caution due to the various limitations.
Better Health (September 30, 2015). Homeopathy. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/homeopathy
Cho, E., & Kim, W. (2021). Effect of acupuncture on diabetic neuropathy: A narrative review. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(16), 8575-8595. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22168575
Dimitrelis, S., Perry, L., Gallagher, R., Duffield, C., Sibbritt, D., Nicholls, R., and Xu, X. (2017). Does nurses’ role, health or symptoms influence their personal use of ingestible complementary and alternative medicines? Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 35, 39-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2017.08.017
Mark, G., & Lyons, A. (2014). Conceptualizing mind, body, spirit interconnections through, and beyond, spiritual healing practices. EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing, 10(5), 294–299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2014.06.003
Complementary and Alternative Medicine And Alternative Care Essay