Grants for Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine refers to any practice outside of what western medicine accepts as conventional modern medicine. But even as we lean towards scientific proofs to back our claims, many people have come to accept complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as an effective way to treat anything from the common cold to colon cancer. Not all medical practitioners in the country reject it outright; there are doctors who are actively advocating alternative medicine and have made progress through their own research and development efforts in promoting its use in the country. In fact, surveys reveal that almost 40% of adults in the US admitted having used some form of alternative medicine at one point in their lives.

When used in addition to conventional western medicine, alternative medicine is referred to as complementary medicine, which becomes integrative medicine when used with conventional therapy.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) which is the lead government agency that provides grants for alternative medicine research in the country, classifies them into different types, namely: whole medical systems (e.g. Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine), biologically based therapies (e.g. herbal products and dietary supplements), mind-body medicine (e.g. prayer, meditation and metal healing), energy medicine (e.g. Reiki, therapeutic touch, and pulsed fields) , and manipulative and body-based systems (e.g. massage therapy and chiropractic manipulation). Each of these types embraces the different aspects of alternative and complementary medicine currently being practiced here and abroad.

Grants for Scientific Research of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

The NCCAM provides grants for scientific research of alternative and complementary medicine, including training of researchers and investigators. One such grant is given to help in the evaluation of such medical treatments. It can be used to investigate the impact of complementary and alternative medicine in effectively treating pain and inflammation, and improving general wellness, health and quality of life.

Few conventional doctors practicing in our modern times have received training in CAM methods of treatment. Those who choose not to look into the possibilities of accepting CAM into the mainstream medical therapy methods cannot be counted on to embrace soon the evidence of certain CAM therapies’ efficacy. The NCCAM grants can surely help in not only providing scientific proofs but also in promoting further the use of CAM that show great potential of being accepted as part of conventional medicine. Western doctors have good reason indeed to be always cautious of CAM, particularly because Western medicine has long been used and has been proven scientifically as effective treatment methods as opposed to CAM whose proofs have mostly been anecdotal. There are scientific proofs of CAM’s results but there are plenty more questions to be answered. There may also be some exaggerated claims by CAM practitioners but these don’t take away the inherent good qualities of CAM.

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