Department of Family Medicine and Public Health

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Medical practices have extremely developed since medical practices were first discovered. In the present time, treating a patient is much easier than the past because of the inventory of the medical equipment and medicines in the form of tablets or drinks. However, medicine is present since the old ages even when these developments were not present. So, medicine was practiced in traditional ways. Even though medical practices have improved, traditional medicine has not disappeared. Traditional medicine is still practiced through complementary alternative medicine. It is obvious now that complementary alternative medicine is very different from the standard medicine that the people are more familiar with.

Standard medicine is practiced by professional physicians who are carrying MD degree and related health majors such as nursing. On the other hand, complementary medicine differs from alternative medicine. Complementary medicine is a group of practices that are used together with professional practices. However, alternative medicine is a group of practices that are used instead of standard professional medicine not along with it like complementary medicine.

Alternative medicine in the following aspects:

  • What is “Complementary Alternative Medicine, CAM”?
  • What are the types of CAM?
  • What are the practices of CAM in Oman?
  • How can we integrate CAM and Modern Medicine?

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Definition

Complementary and alternative medicine is a group of practices that do not fall under standard medical practices. Oppositely to what most people think, complementary and alternative medicine practices are not identical. They have similar practices, but they are two different categories of medical practices that are not considered to be standard medical practices. To illustrate, complementary practices are used along with professional practices to increase the therapeutic value. For example, acupuncture is a type of complementary medicine that uses fine needles to affect particular points on the body. This practice is commonly used along with cancer treatments to increase the level of effectiveness. On the other hand, alternative practices are used to replace professional practices. For instance, acupuncture can also be used as an alternative pain reliever. Generally, complementary and alternative practices may overlap in the practices that they include.

Types of CAM

Complementary and alternative medicine is widely practiced in different cultures. The following graph shows the percentage of people using complementary and alternative medicine from diverse ages in the United States. This branch of medicine has various types and mechanisms that are differently used for different ages with different health issues. These types include acupuncture, Ayurveda, homeopathy, and naturopathy. First of all, acupuncture is one of the traditional Chinese techniques used for complementary alternative medicine. Acupuncture includes using fine needles to motivate sensitive spots on the human body. Moreover, it is thought that acupuncture relieves pain by affecting the nervous system.

Another type of CAM is Ayurveda. Ayurvedic medicine is a traditional Indian technique that includes using different combinations of plants and additions of animals and sometimes metal to be used as an alternative treatment for health issues like rheumatoid arthritis. Comparing to acupuncture and Ayurveda, homeopathy is the common CAM used in Europe regions. Homeopathic products are derived from plants, minerals, and animals. Furthermore, naturopathic medicine is a type of CAM that uses natural energy as a treatment for body and mind. Naturopathy can be practiced through some techniques involving exercise, massage, yoga, and diets.

CAM Practices in Oman

Complementary alternative medicine is increasingly being used in different regions of the world. These practices eventually reached our beloved country Oman. Besides, people in Oman believe in the ability of complementary alternative medicine in healing and treating certain diseases. Some CAM practices in Oman are associated with diabetes patients. Diabetic related CAM practices are all naturopathic medicine because they consist of techniques like using herbs and food supplements.

Another common method of CAM in Oman, especially between elderly people, is cautery. Cautery is the action of burning a spot on the skin because it is believed that it has some therapeutic value. Another example is cupping. Cupping is a common CAM technique in Arab regions including Oman. This technique involves heating small cups and using them to suck rotten blood through openings made by a fine needle. In general, Oman has lots of CAM practices that have therapeutic values and proven to help relieve pain.

CAM and Modern Medicine Integration

It is clear now that CAM has some therapeutic values that can benefit the patients. Hence, combining both complementary alternative and modern medicine will increase the therapeutic value, and it will provide a faster treatment process. As a result, CAM is being advised by physicians while continue providing professional health care. Specifically, in cancer treatments, complementary alternative medicine including its different types is used by doctors to reduce and relieve the pain which results from treating with chemotherapy. Likewise, complementary and alternative medicine is also used in patients with diabetes. It is valuable to use CAM practices such as herbal products and diet plans. The following table shows a study that was held in Malesia. This study shows types of CAM used in diabetes mellitus patients.


To summarize, complementary and alternative medicine is widely spread in all world regions. CAM is a branch of medicine that is not included in professional modern medicine. Complementary and alternative medicines share the same types, but they are different in the way of practice. Moreover, CAM involves a large number of types and methods. Some of them are acupuncture, Ayurveda, homeopathy, and naturopathy. Furthermore, CAM practices are not limited only to the western traditional medicine; they are also commonly used in Arab regions including Oman.

Omani CAM practices include herbal medications used by diabetic patients, cautery and cupping which both help in relieving pain. Also, integrating CAM and conventional medicine has a huge beneficial value to patients as it helps in relieving side effects on health care therapies as in cancer or regulating blood sugar as in diabetes mellitus. Integration between both medicine branches is accomplished by prescribing the CAM methods in health centers by professional physicians. All in all, complementary and alternative medicine is continuously used since the past due to its beneficial values.


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Cite this paper

Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. (2020, Nov 30). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/department-of-family-medicine-and-public-health/

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