Naturopathic Medicine Schools Integrate Various Healing Methods
The practice of naturopathy takes into consideration the influence of nutrition and exercise on a patient's physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, while the main focus of traditional Western medicine has been to discover what has gone "wrong" with or how to "fix" a diseased body.
Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are those medical and health care practices and therapies not considered to be part of conventional medicine. However, these practices and therapies have evolved due to understanding gained through well-designed scientific studies and research, adoption of therapies by conventional medicine, and changing approaches to traditional health care. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is found in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is the government agency working for greater recognition of alternative and complementary healthcare treatments and practices in the U.S. through research and dissemination.
Complementary and alternative medicines are not parallel entities. Complementary medicine is often combined with traditional medical therapies to promote total health. Alternative medicine, on the other hand, replaces conventional medicine with complete and independent alternative medical systems of theory and practice developed long before conventional medicine. Alternative medicines include homeopathic medicine, Chinese medicine, naturopathy, Ayurveda, mind-body medicine, manipulation (chiropractic, massage), energy therapies (placing of hands), bioelectromagnetic-based therapies (use of electrical current), and others.
Today, hospitals and physicians are more often practicing the integration of complementary and alternative medicine into conventional Western medicine. Hospitals and health maintenance organizations are recognizing the many benefits of CAM therapies, insurance companies are covering some CAM therapies, and integrative medicine centers are forming close ties with medical schools and teaching hospitals.
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