Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Also: Alternative Medicine

Complementary health practices are a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products whose origins come from outside of mainstream medicine. They include such products and practices as herbal supplements, meditation, chiropractic manipulation, and acupuncture.

Exactly what’s considered alternative medicine changes constantly as treatments undergo testing and move into the mainstream.  These therapies are classified by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM):

  • Whole medical systems
  • Mind-body medicine
  • Biologically based practices
  • Manipulative and body-based practices
  • Energy medicine

Safety of Complementary Health Approaches for Children (from the NIH):
Many complementary health products and practices aren’t tested for safety or effectiveness in children. It’s important to note that children may react differently than adults do to these approaches. Also, Federal regulations for dietary supplements are less strict than those for prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Some dietary supplements may be of poor quality or contain contaminants, including drugs, chemicals, or metals.

Make sure your provider is aware of all complementary and alternative health measures you child uses to ensure coordinated and safe care.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health:
A Review of evidence based CAM therapies by condition and supplement.

Information on drugs, supplements and herbs:

5 Things To Know About Safety of Dietary Supplements for Children and Teens:

CAM guide from the University of Maryland, can search by condition, supplement or treatment.

From Memorial Sloan Kettering: This information resource, presented by our Integrative Medicine Service, provides evidence-based information about herbs, botanicals, supplements, and more.

Belly breathing and Muscle Relaxation Techniques: