Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Nov; 177(5): 1156-61.
The challenge of complementary and alternative medicine.
University of South Florida, Tampa, USA.
Complementary and alternative medicine can be defined as those medical systems, practices, interventions, and applications that currently are not part of the dominant or conventional medical system. There are more than 300 different topics under the term complementary and alternative medicine that can be divided into seven major categories on the basis of philosophy, approach to the patient, and orientation. Most patients seeking care from complementary and alternative medicine providers do so for the relief of signs and symptoms related to chronic illness while they are under the care of a physician. Clinical data derived from appropriately conducted clinical trials support the use and value of complementary and alternative medicine for selected indications. The challenge for both conventional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine is to fulfill the role of patient advocate by engaging in reciprocal open communication, facilitating the patient's informed choice, avoiding harmful or useless practices, and implementing an integrated evidence-based care plan.