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Alternative Medicine

The terms of complementary medicine and alternative medicine refer to a broad set of health care practices that are not part of the country’s own tradition or conventional medicine and are not fully integrated into the dominant health care system. They are used interchangeably with traditional medicine in some countries. [1]

“Any of the systems of medical diagnosis and treatment differing in technique from that of the allopathic practitioner’s use of drugs and surgery to treat disease and injury”.[2]

“Alternative medicine includes therapies and health care practices not widely taught in most medical schools”.[3]

“The term ‘alternative’ seems to be most commonly used in its broader sense as including all therapies outside of the biomedical paradigm. The narrower concept of ‘alternative’ medicine or therapies refers to therapies that are seen to provide an alternative medical system to Western biomedicine and to include in their body of knowledge diagnostic systems and treatments for the full range of conditions that impact on health and wellbeing”.[4]

  1. World Health Organization (WHO). WHO Traditional Strategy Medicine, 2014 – 2023. China: WHO; 2013.
  2. Mosby’s Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing and Health. 7th ed. United States of America: Mosby Inc.; 2006. 
  3. Merck Manual. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Introduction. [homepage on the internet]. [cited on 2007 June 8] Available from: http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec22/ch330/ch330a.html.
  4. Ministerial Advisory Committee on Complementary & Alternative Health. Terminology in Complementary and Alternative Health. Ministrial Advisory Committee on Comlementary and Alternative Health. New Zealand: 2002.