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Should unconventional forms of medicine be part of national healthcare?

Complementary and alternative healthcare and medical practices (CAM) is considered an aspect of healthcare that lacks reliable scientific support to prove its effectiveness.

Separating medicine as conventional and non-conventional makes no sense since there is only one medicine, just one proven and one unproven 1. The controversy with traditional medicine and its use in the national health system is a questionable issue that remains to be debated. However, by 2002, 36% of adults in the United States used some CAM method combined with conventional medical treatments 2. To this day, the use of CAM has only been on the rise.

Individuals should be free to choose any method they wish, as long as they are informed of its basis and effectiveness. 1  WHO plans that CAM can be safer and more professional to be included as a support to conventional medical practices by 2023. 3

The problem with including this unsupported practice is that it may cause people to forego truly effective treatments and attribute a placebo’s success to a CAM. Many people spend tons of money and time on alternative therapies that end up being quackery and lose the opportunity to take advantage of the ones that may have been more useful in the first place. 1

In the end, there is only one medicine, and to deprive or reject it is inhumane. Healthcare providers must understand what to extend should include CAM and for what purposes. Traditional medicine can be an opportunity, not a problem if managed strategically under appropriate health policies. 4