This paper reports the findings of an interview conducted with a CAM practitioner based in Miami, Florida. CAM involves a more holistic approach and healing systems that differ from conventional Western medicine. It aims to find the physical cause of a specific condition or disease and treat it. For instance, a conventional doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to an individual with an infection to kill the bacteria. However, CAM practitioner takes a holistic approach to such a situation because they believe that disease and health involve a complex interaction of spiritual, physical, emotional, environmental, mental, social, and genetic factors (Olsson Möller et al., 2019). As a result, to treat a disease, a CAM practitioner treats the whole individual.
CAM practitioners collaborate with other CAM practitioners and conventional doctors to ensure positive patient outcomes and quality care. For example, a diabetic patient may require a collaborative effort from a physician, nurse, cardiologist, and CAM practitioner, depending on the patient’s lifestyle and recovery. Each of these professionals has valuable and unique insights into the patient’s condition. They recognize different symptoms and consider various possibilities. These individuals establish a more holistic and comprehensive view of the patient. Interpersonal collaboration also minimizes medical errors and enhances job satisfaction and staff relationships.
Environments where CAM Practitioners Practice
CAM practitioners practice can practice in diverse healthcare settings. Some environments include mental health facilities, nursing homes, palliative care, and long-term care facilities. They also practice in antenatal care and physiotherapy facilities.
Requirements for Becoming a CAM Practitioner
Training, education, licensure, and certification for various CAM practitioners vary depending on their specialization. For instance, no national licensure standards are established for alternative medicine practitioners in the U.S. However, there is a National Certification for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and State Licensing Board (“Selecting a complementary health practitioner: Credentialing, licensing, and education,” 2018). Even though not all states have alternative medicine regulations, licensing is managed at the state level. Therefore, licensure standards vary significantly from one state to another and across different practices. For example, in D.C., all chiropractors must pass special state examinations and be accredited Doctor of Chiropractor (“Selecting a complementary health practitioner: Credentialing, licensing, and education,” 2018). Chiropractors must also be registered under the General Chiropractic Council. In most states, massage therapists must have a certification, license, and registration. However, training requirements and standards vary by state. In most cases, a CAM practitioner must have a master’s or bachelor’s degree in a healthcare-related course and specialization training in the preferred CAM field.
Types of Health Conditions they Provide Care for
CAM practitioners provide care for diverse health conditions, including chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes. For instance, they help individuals with cancer cope with treatment side effects, such as fatigue, pain, and nausea (Olsson Möller et al., 2019). In addition, they recommend a special diet for cancer patients instead of undergoing chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation. Moreover, CAM practitioners provide care for arthritis, allergies, neck or back problems, lung problems, frequent headaches, digestive problems, anxiety attacks, chest pains, and heart problems. For example, meditation approaches, yoga, and biofeedback help in treating insomnia, depression, ADHD pain, and headaches, reducing the risk of suicidal thoughts and self-harm among mental health patients (Roberts et al., 2020). Acupuncture also helps in treating chronic pain.
Olsson Möller, U., Beck, I., Rydén, L., & Malmström, M. (2019). A comprehensive approach to rehabilitation interventions following breast cancer treatment – a systematic review of systematic reviews. BMC Cancer, 19(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-019-5648-7
Roberts, K., Dowell, A., & Nie, J. (2020). Utilising acupuncture for mental health; a mixed‐methods approach to understanding the awareness and experience of general practitioners and acupuncturists. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 39, 101114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2020.101114
Selecting a complementary health practitioner: Credentialing, licensing, and education. (2018, August 9). BrainLine. https://www.brainline.org/article/selecting-complementary-health-practitioner-credentialing-licensing-and-education