Complementary and Alternative Medicines for Your Child
When deciding if CAM treatments are best for your child, be sure to thoroughly research the treatment and clear it with your child’s doctor, before starting a regimen.
Although traditional medications and remedies are the go-to choice for most parents, recently there has been a shift in perceptions regarding other less popular forms of healing. Many people are now looking into complementary and alternative medicines (referred to as CAM).
When a child is experiencing problems, most parents want to ease their suffering, any way they can. According to the National Institute of Health, nearly 12% of American children (younger than age 18) have used or been given a complementary health product or practice.
Complementary and alternative medicines are basically any healing practices not part of mainstream medicine, and are not widely taught in medical schools. What really sets CAM apart is its focus on treating the whole person, including spiritual and emotional needs, not just the physical needs. There are four general areas of CAM care.
4 Types of CAM Care Include:
- biologically based practices, such as herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements, foods, teas and extracts. Beware, these are not regulated by the FDA.
- manipulative and body-based practices, such as massage therapy. These practices are based on manipulations and movements of the body to aid in healing.
- mind-body medicine, such as prayer, meditation, yoga, and music therapy. These practices are thought to influence the mind’s ability to affect the physical body.
- energy medicine, such as acupuncture, which is believed to work off of energy fields surrounding and penetrating the body.
Though CAM care is becoming more widespread, it is important to note that the majority of practices are not yet covered by insurance, because so few studies have demonstrated solid conclusions regarding their effectiveness.
However, there are new centers for integrative medicines, which offer both traditional and alternative treatments; and they may even be covered by some insurance carriers. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), located at the National Institute of Health (NIH), is currently the lead agency in scientific research of CAM.