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What is Complementary & Alternative Medicine Tourism?
WHO defines CAM (traditional medicines) as “the sum total of knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures that are used to maintain health, as well as to prevent, diagnose, improve or treat physical and mental illnesses.”
The term complementary and Alternative Medicine represents a group of varied medical and health care system which is not considered to be a part of conventional medicine.
- Complementary- together with conventional or in addition to conventional medicine
- Alternative medicine- in place of conventional medicine
- Integrated medicine- combination of complementary, alternative with conventional medicine
In recent times, more and more people have realized the concept and benefits of holistic healing. This has been evident by the increasing number of people turning towards ancient traditional system of medicine\therapies for the treatment as well as prevention of health disorders.
Growing popularity of CAM Tourism
The usage CAM has increased significantly since 2002, and as per WHO reports around 3 billion people (65-80 percent of global population) have used either form of alternative medicine as their primary form of healthcare. In some Asian and African countries, 80% of the population depends on traditional medicine for primary health care.
The trend of using CAM in combination with conventional healthcare treatment is gaining more acceptances in developed countries also. As per the NCCAM data, in the United States, approximately 38 percent of adults (4 in every 10) and approximately 12 percent of children (1 in every 9) rely on some form of complimentary or alternative medicine. In Europe, the herbal medications are very popular especially in Germany where people prefer to take herbal medicine instead of pure pharmacological compounds.
What are benefits of CAM treatment ?
People and patients switch to the complementary and alternative medicine especially for unmet medical needs and some reasons are as mentioned below:
- Prevention of disease or illness, with improvement in quality of life
- Control over chronic disease
- Disappointment with conventional medical care and want to explore every option to get rid of disease
- Overcome side effects caused by conventional medical care