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Complementary & Alternative Medicine: The healthcare sector also includes the practice of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Complementary and Alternative Medicine embraces professionals such as Acupuncturists, Homeopaths, Hypnotherapists, Oriental Medicine Practitioners, Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Yoga Instructors, Naturopathic Doctors and so on. Complementary & Alternative medicine practices and products are not considered to be part of conventional medicine, but are more widely accepted and often recommended to patients by medical professionals.
Often CAM therapies are used to treat illness or disease in conjunction with traditional medicine. Conventional medicine is medicine practiced by holders of Medical Doctor Degrees (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy Degrees (D.O.), along with registered nurses and allied health professionals.
Holistic Approach: Complementary and Alternative Medicine careers take a holistic approach to patient care. This means that the Complementary and Alternative Medicine practitioner treats each patient as a whole person, and does not focus on their symptoms. In Alternative Medicine there is a strong emphasis on disease prevention, and it is believed that the body has a natural ability to heal itself.
Some healthcare providers practice both Conventional Medicine and CAM. While scientific evidence supports some CAM therapies, it questions others. Even without scientific proof, often patients feel that their illness or injuries were helped and even cured by alternative medicine, when western medicine failed. The National Centre for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) provides training and information about of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Careers in CAM: Students interested in a career in CAM ideally will have a good background in science and will enjoy helping others. CAM is one of the fastest growing healthcare segments in the United States. Chiropractors, Acupuncturists and Massage Therapists are among the fastest growing careers. Cam professionals may work in a variety of settings including hospitals, healing centers and clinics.
Education: To practice as a Complementary and Alternative Medicine practitioner you will need a degree in your chosen profession and a license from the state in which you wish to work. Degrees can be completed in 2 to 4 years, and less for students who have an existing healthcare qualification.
Find a Health Education School: Use the red search box in the menu above, to find Health schools and colleges in your area that offer Natural Health / Alternative Medicine programs.
Below is a list of some of the various types of health career fields: