Complementary and alternative medicine, dubbed as CAM, works by preventing and treating various conditions while employing such techniques as energy, healing touch and herbal medicines. For a long time, man has used complementary and alternative medicine to cure illness and alleviate pain. Below are five of the most common used CAM techniques.

Chiropractic medicine

Chiropractors manipulate and adjust the spine with the aim of achieving better body alignment. It is concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mechanical disorders. Chiropractors employ various techniques with a major focus on the manipulation of the spine. Besides the manual therapy offered by chiropractors, they also provide advice on exercise, lifestyle, diet and rehabilitation programmes. Chiropractic medicine offers relief for neck pain, lower back pain, migraine and other neck related headaches, whiplash, and joint conditions.


Acupuncture is an old Chinese technique that involves the insertion of thin needles into the acupuncture points of the body. It is believed that illness comes as a result of an imbalance of forces in the body. The insertion of thin, sterile needles to acupoints brings back the proper balance of good health and body energy.

People use acupuncture in the treatment of various disorders like asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, dental pain, addiction, headache, menstrual cramps, stroke, tennis elbow, and others. It also relieves pain brought about by cancer chemotherapy.

Magnetic field therapy

Magnetic field therapy employs magnets to treat illness and maintain good health. According to magnetic field therapy practitioners, the interactions between the earth, electromagnetic fields, and the body cause emotional and physical changes in humans. They believe that for an individual to maintain a health status, the body’s electromagnetic field has to be in perfect balance.

In the past people attached a lot of importance to magnets and believed that they had the ability to treat any form of health condition. This therapy is used in disorders like arthritis, depression, pain, cancer and others. Transcranial magnetic stimulation hastens recovery from stroke.

Herbal medicine

Herbal medicines are extracted from plants. They come in different forms which include powders, pills or liquid extracts. Herbal medicines treat an array of health conditions. This medicine can be classified into three categories thus:

a) Ayurvedic medicine which focuses on the body spirit and mind balance.

b) Traditional medicine like chamomile, flaxseed, cranberry, St John’s wort, and peppermint are a few of traditional herbs that have exhibited high effectiveness in relieving various body parts pains.

c) Chinese herbal medicine: These natural medicines do not treat a particular disease or symptom. They are taken with the aim of restoring the entire body’s balance. They exist as powders, pills and teas. Amongst the most popular are ginseng and gingko. There has not been an in-depth research into the effectiveness of Chinese medicines, but it is believed that they treat conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Patients using modern scientific drugs are advised to consult their doctor before they start using herbal medicine as they may serious side effects as a result of their interaction.

Massage therapy

Besides providing a comforting feeling, massage therapy is beneficial to the overall health of a person. Body massage improves various health conditions like stress, pain, arthritis, cancer, depression, fibromyalgia, and high blood pressure.

Massage therapy encompasses various techniques whereby massage therapists rub, press and manipulate soft body tissues and muscles. Massage therapists use their hands, fingers, elbows, forearms and feet to deliver a therapeutic massage.Massage therapies are medically beneficial because they improve blood circulation in congested points thus enhancing easier and deeper breathing as well as reducing chances of recurring headaches.


Reiki is a healing therapy whereby the therapist touches and channels energy into the patient’s body. This life force energy activates and restores the patient’s emotional and physical wellbeing. The touch reduces stress and enhances deep relaxation and a peaceful sense. This is important, especially when undergoing a difficult period or during pregnancy. Reiki practitioners do not diagnose, therefore, do not predict specific outcomes from Reiki treatment.

With the right approach in the application of complementary and alternative medicine, individuals can achieve good health.