Office of Cancer Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
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Updated: 11/09/12

Categories of CAM Therapies

Alternative Medical Systems
Energy Therapies
Exercise Therapies
Manipulative and Body-based Methods
Mind-body Interventions
Nutritional Therapeutics
Pharmacological and Biologic Treatments
Spiritual Therapies

Alternative Medical Systems

Alternative medical systems are built upon complete systems of theory and practice. Often, these systems have evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used in the United States.

Examples:

Energy Therapies

Energy therapies involve the use of energy fields. There are two types:
Biofield therapies are intended to affect energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body. The existence of such fields has not yet been scientifically proven.

Examples:

Electromagnetic-based therapies involve the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, magnetic fields, or alternating current or direct current fields.

Examples:

Exercise Therapies

Exercise therapies include health-enhancing systems of exercise and movement.

Examples:

Manipulative and Body-based Methods

Manipulative and body-based methods in CAM are based on manipulation and/or movement of one or more parts of the body.

Examples:

Mind-body Interventions

Mind-body medicine uses a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptom.

Examples:

Nutritional Therapeutics

Nutritional therapeutics are an assortment of nutrients and non-nutrients, bioactive food components used as chemo-preventive agents, and specific foods or diets used as cancer prevention or treatment strategies.

Examples:

Pharmacological and Biologic Treatments

Pharmacological and biologic treatments include the off-label use of certain drugs, hormones, complex natural products, vaccines, and other biological interventions not yet accepted in mainstream medicine.

Examples:

Sub-category: Complex Natural Products

Complex natural products are an assortment of plant samples (botanicals), extracts of crude natural substances, and un-fractionated extracts from marine organisms used for healing and treatment of disease.

Examples:

Spiritual Therapies

Spiritual therapies are therapies that focus on deep, often religious beliefs and feelings, including a person’s sense of peace, purpose, connection to others, and beliefs about the meaning of life.

Examples: