“The terms ‘natural therapy’, ‘complementary therapy’, ‘complementary medicine’, ‘alternative medicine’ and ‘complementary and alternative medicine’ (CAM)…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Complementary and Integrative Health Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Alternative Medicine Practices/Products/Remedies/Therapies/Treatments
  • Ayurveda/Ayurvedic Medicine
  • Chinese Medicine Remedies/Therapies/Treatments
  • Chiropractic
  • Complementary Health Practices/Products/Remedies/Therapies/Treatments
  • Complementary Medicine (CM)
  • Complementary Medicine Practices/Products/Remedies/Therapies/Treatments
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
  • Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH)
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Energy Medicine
  • Herbal Treatments
  • Homeopathy
  • Hypnosis/Hypnotherapy
  • Integrative Health Care/Medicine
  • Kinesiology
  • Manipulative and Body Based Therapies
  • Massage/Remedial Massage
  • Meditation
  • Mind and Body Approaches/Practices/Therapies/Treatments
  • Mindfulness
  • Natural Approaches/Practices/Products/Remedies/Therapies/Treatments
  • Naturopathy
  • Non Mainstream Health Care
  • Nutrition/Nutritional/Dietary Approaches
  • Osteopathy
  • Prayer
  • Psychotherapy
  • Qi Gong
  • Reflexology
  • Reiki
  • Relaxation
  • Remedial Therapy
  • Spiritual Healing
  • Supplements
  • Tai Chi
  • Therapeutic Touch
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
  • Traditional Medicine
  • Yoga

Terminology

Can complementary and integrative health (CIH) mean different things to different people?

I think the term CIH can be like the terms dietary supplements, herbal medicine and mind and body practices and mean different things, to different people, at different times, in different places.

When I use the term CIH what I mean may be different to what someone else means or what is meant in medicaltalk.

It can therefore be important when the term CIH is used to be clear about what is meant, so we may work out whether we are on the same page meaning the same thing or not. On page one in Natural Therapies & Supplements the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

“The terms ‘natural therapy’, ‘complementary therapy’, ‘complementary medicine’, ‘alternative medicine’ and ‘complementary and alternative medicine’ (CAM) are often used interchangeably to describe a wide range of healthcare practises, therapies, procedures and devices that are not presently considered part of conventional medicine. These therapies include acupuncture, herbal treatments, homeopathy, naturopathy, nutrition, massage and traditional Chinese medicine”.2

Traditional Medicine

What is traditional medicine (TM)?

DotS the definition of TM may vary. In Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine: About Us – Definitions: Traditional Medicine the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition is:

“Traditional medicine has a long history. It is the sum total of the knowledge, skill, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness”.3

Complementary

What is considered complementary?

DotS the definition of complementary may vary. In Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health? What’s In A Name? Complementary Versus Alternative the (United States) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s (NCCIH) definition is:

  • “If a non-mainstream practice is used together with conventional medicine, it’s considered “complementary””.4

Complementary Medicine

What is complementary medicine?

DotS the definition of complementary medicine may vary. In Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine: About Us – Definitions: Complementary Medicine the WHO’s definition is:

“The terms “complementary medicine” or “alternative medicine” refer to a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country’s own tradition or conventional medicine and are not fully integrated into the dominant health-care system. They are used interchangeably with traditional medicine in some countries”.5

Alternative

What is alternative?

DotS the definition of alternative medicine may vary. The NCCIH’s definition is:

  • “If a non-mainstream practice is used in place of conventional medicine, it’s considered “alternative””.6

Complementary Health Approaches

What are complementary health approaches?

DotS the definition of complementary health approaches may vary. In Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In A Name? Integrative Health: Types of Complementary Health Approaches the NCCIH elaborate on:

“Complementary health approaches include natural products and mind and body practices”.7

Natural Therapies

What are natural therapies?

DotS the definition of natural therapies may vary. On page one in Natural Therapies & Supplements the JH’s definition is:

“Natural therapies and CAM involve treating the whole person, including the underlying causes of problems and symptoms. This is why natural therapies are often called ‘holistic’ medicine, as they take into account other physical, mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of the disease”.8

Naturopathy

What is naturopathy?

DotS the definition of naturopathy may vary. The JH’s definition is:

“Naturopathy is an umbrella term that covers many (but not all) of the natural therapies”.9

Integrative Health Care

What is integrative health care?

DotS the definition of integrative health care may vary. The NCCIH’s definition is:

“Integrative health care often brings conventional and complementary approaches together in a coordinated way. It emphasizes a holistic, patient-focused approach to health care and wellness—often including mental, emotional, functional, spiritual, social, and community aspects—and treating the whole person rather than, for example, one organ system. It aims for well-coordinated care between different providers and institutions”.10

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

What is the mission of the (United States) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)?

In NCCIH Facts-At-A Glance and Mission: Our Mission the NCCIH explain:

“The mission of NCCIH is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health interventions and their roles in improving health and health care”.11

Tips for Talking

What are tips for talking to health care providers about CIH?

In 4 Tips: Start Talking With Your Health Care Providers About Complementary Health Approaches the NCCIH elaborate on:

Complementary and Integrative Health

  1. “List the complementary health practices you use on your patient history form…
  2. At each visit, be sure to tell your providers about what complementary health approaches you are using…
  3. If you are considering a new complementary health practice, ask questions…
  4. Don’t wait for your providers to ask about any complementary health practice you are using…”.12

Health Care Provider

What if I choose to use CIH?

If you choose to use CIH it may be in your best interest to also choose to talk with your health care providers about this.

In Are You Considering A Complementary Health Approach? Take Charge of Your Health the NCCIH note:

  • “Tell all your health care providers—complementary and conventional—about all the health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care”.13

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Complementary and Integrative Health?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Complementary and Integrative Health?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Natural Therapies & Supplements. Updated January 2017:1. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Natural_therapies.pdf Accessed: 12 September 2020
  2. Natural Therapies & Supplements. Updated January 2017:1. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Natural_therapies.pdf Accessed: 12 September 2020
  3. Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine: About Us – Definitions: Traditional Medicine. World Health Organization https://who.int/traditional-complementary-integrative-medicine/about/en/ Accessed: 12 September 2020
  4. Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In A Name? Complementary Versus Alternative. Last Updated: July 2018. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/complementary-alternative-or-integrative-health-whats-in-a-name Accessed: 12 September 2020
  5. Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine: About Us – Definitions: Complementary Medicine. World Health Organization https://who.int/traditional-complementary-integrative-medicine/about/en/ Accessed: 12 September 2020
  6. Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In A Name? Complementary Versus Alternative. Last Updated: July 2018. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/complementary-alternative-or-integrative-health-whats-in-a-name Accessed: 12 September 2020
  7. Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In A Name? Integrative Health: Types of Complementary Health Approaches. Last Updated: July 2018. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/complementary-alternative-or-integrative-health-whats-in-a-name Accessed: 12 September 2020
  8. Natural Therapies & Supplements. Updated January 2017:1. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Natural_therapies.pdf Accessed: 12 September 2020
  9. Natural Therapies & Supplements. Common Natural and Complementary Therapies –  Naturopathy. Updated January 2017:1. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/contents/documents/Resources/Fact_sheets/Natural_therapies.pdf Accessed: 12 September 2020
  10. Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In A Name? Integrative Health. Last Updated: July 2018. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/complementary-alternative-or-integrative-health-whats-in-a-name Accessed: 12 September 2020
  11. NCCIH Facts-At-A-Glance and Mission: Our Mission. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/about/nccih-facts-at-a-glance-and-mission Accessed: 12 September 2020
  12. 4 Tips: Start Talking With Your Health Care Providers About Complementary Health Approaches. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/tips-start-talking-with-your-health-care-providers-about-complementary-health-approaches Accessed: 12 September 2020
  13. Are You Considering A Complementary Health Approach? Take Charge of Your Health. Updated: September 2016. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/are-you-considering-a-complementary-health-approach Accessed: 12 September 2020

Topic Last Updated: 29 October 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 12 September 2020
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