What is Alternative Therapeutic Medicine?

The use of complementary and alternative medicine is on the rise. Alternative medicine is defined as the use of medical innovations other than those widely taught in medical schools and includes:

Dietary Supplements

One of the most widely accepted definitions of complementary and alternative medicine comes from David Eisenberg, MD, director of Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies at Harvard University:

“Complementary and alternative medicine are those practices explicitly used for medical intervention, health promotion, or disease prevention which are not routinely taught at United States medical schools, nor routinely underwritten by third party payers within the existing United States health care system.”

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines complementary and alternative medicine in a similar way, as “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine.”


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