Complementary and Alternative Medicine

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A topic that interested me from our psychology book, is complementary and alternative medicine. This, referring to medical products and practices that are not apart of standard care. There are claims that these practices, such as acupuncture and meditation work, but they have not been officially proved to be successful.

What surprised me, was that although CAM sounds promising, these therapies may even have potential negative effects as well. Our course book, Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding, states that "Some impure herbal preparations contain dangerous amounts of lead and arsenic". When the words "herbal" and "natural" come to mind, one thinks that it is obviously safe and beneficial to our health. We should not be mislead by these unproved claims. Furthermore, the FDA doesn't even monitor these products, so it's not guaranteed that these products even contain what they say they do. This is a scary thought. We could be using CAM methods that could put our health at extreme risks.

There is a debate about CAM therapies. Some believe that they are highly effective, while some believe they are no stronger then a deceiving placebo. When it comes to this argument, I tend to sit on the fence. Some therapies, such as acupuncture, are hard for me to believe. A lot of these therapies tend to fall into the extraordinary claims fallacy. Using acupuncture as an example, how can you prove that there are meridians that channel "subtle energy or life forces". These therapies, I am unsure of. However, therapies such as yoga and meditation, I can side with. For one, these activities have been correlated with heightened creativity, lowered stress levels, and higher self-esteem. It's unclear why these benefits come from these activities. I think it may be because activities like yoga are related to traditional exercise, and activities like meditation are deep relaxation techniques; which both increase circulation and feeling of accomplishment and well-being.

When it comes to CAM therapies, I believe that people just need to be aware of what they are putting into their bodies. I think one should have a clear understanding of what is good and what is not, however, we should not be mislead by false advertising and labels.

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This page contains a single entry by boli0119 published on December 4, 2011 5:11 PM.

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