Complementary and alternative methods of medicine

Number 1 post: EW
Complementary and alternative medicine are terms used to describe medical practices that are not typically considered part of Western medicine and are often not used by official healthcare providers in the Westernized world (Edelman & Kudzma, 2018). Complementary medicine specifically references the use of nontraditional adjunct therapy with many facets of traditional Western medicine still involved (Edelman & Kudzma, 2018). For example, a patient who uses massage or acupressure to relieve cancer pain along with use of chemotherapy and/or radiation would be using complementary methods. This contrasts with alternative medicine which is the use of only non-Western methods, such as a patient who elects to only use herbal remedies to treat their diabetes instead of medication recommended by Western physicians (Edelman & Kudzma, 2018). Nurse practitioners have an important role in helping their patients to treat their conditions the way that they choose. There are many patients who want to use Western methods to treat their conditions but also want to incorporate complementary methods into their treatment plan. An example of this would be a patient who has anxiety and desires to treat their condition with therapy and meditation. The nurse practitioner can discuss with the patient how this type of treatment plan can work and ensure that it is safe for this patient. Meditation is a complementary method for treating anxiety and depression that has evidence-based practice behind it. A study by Takahashi et al. showed that people with severe anxiety who participated in an eight-week study of mindfulness had significantly decreased feelings of anxiety and depression following the meditative practice (2019). The nurse practitioner’s role in this case is to ensure the safety of their patient while also creating a plan that the patient agrees with and is willing to carry out.
Number 2 post: JC
Complementary and alternative methods of medicine (CAM) have been in practice for centuries. It is believed that CAM Therapies were used over 5000 years ago. CAM therapy is a term used for medical products and practices that are not considered standard medical care based on western medicine (NIH, 2021). In most cases alternative medicine is used alongside standard medical treatment to help patients deal with a medical diagnosis. When it comes to CAM therapy these practitioners play a vital role in its implementation into a patient’s plan of care. In order to emphasize health promotion, the advanced practice nurse needs to have a holistic approach to treat their patients to achieve a sense of overall Wellness. A great way to do this is to incorporate nontraditional medicine treatments into their plan of care. Initially a thorough assessment should be completed, and traditional health care practices should be analyzed to help provide care that is cultural and holistically minded. There are many forms of therapies that are considered alternative including acupuncture, massage therapy, music, guided imagery, and relaxation therapies. As our health care system continues to adapt to our patients needs the interrogation of complementary and alternative medicine is vital to meet its needs. there has been a recent trend in integrating complementary health approaches with conventional care in the acute care setting (Kramlich, 2017). I hope that once I become a nurse practitioner, I can be a part of this integration by implementing alternative therapies into my patient’s plan of care. I personally have seen how pet therapy has benefited my patient’s emotional status by bringing some normalcy and reducing stress and pain by its use. As demand for complementary health care practices continue to rise do to patient demands both acute care hospitals and primary care play an important role in its integration traditional health care practices.