Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is often defined as “health care approaches with a history of use or origins outside of mainstream medicine”. Examples include natural products (e.g. herbs, vitamins, probiotics) and practices (e.g. Traditional Chinese Medicine, massage therapy, mindfulness meditation).
Three things to know about CAM:
- CAM is commonly used used; 70% of Canadians use CAM (most often products, but also a variety of practices).
- CAM is not often discussed; most people use CAM without discussion with their health care provider.
- It is important to ask every patient at every visit about all the things they are doing to support their health - please give examples to help them understand what you mean (e.g. vitamins, herbs, supplements, changing their diet, seeing other providers). Good care requires open communication.