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Alternative and Complementary Medicine

  • By: Evelyn Y. Ho
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used worldwide and is commonly defined as those therapies and practices that are not found in conventional allopathic or biomedicine. The article will cover the most important health communication issues in complementary and alternative medicine including: definition/terminology, prevalence of CAM, legal issues, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), current research in communication and CAM, and areas of future research.

CAM is itself a contested term. The various terms used to name this body of health practices carry with them important historical and political implications that affect what is known about CAM. Some would argue that definitions of CAM such as “that which is not biomedicine,” reinforce biomedicine as the center/standard despite CAM practices often being much ...

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