National Institute for Health
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine
"The greatest barrier to discovery is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge."
- David Borstein
As an Integrative Health Coach Professional trained at Duke University Integrative Medicine Center, I can assist you in considering complementary and alternative medicine choices.  Please feel free to call me for an appointment.
This page provides additional information on the five classifications of complementary and alternative medicine I was taught about at Duke University Integrative Medicine Center while I was training to become an Integrative Health Coach Professional.  I will include some of the information we received from Shelley Wroth, M.D., our instructor for this section of our training, and I will include some links I have that can give you some additional valid information on some of these therapies and systems of health.  Duke was presenting all of the following therapies and modalities as valid health care treatments and systems.  I encourage you to google search anything that interests you.
There is a lot out there to choose from if you are looking for complementary and alternative medicine to complement your current health care system.  This list is a good starting point of what to consider.  YOU are in charge of your own body, mind, heart and spirit and YOU are 100% responsible for your own health care.  The Duke Wheel of Health (on this web site) places YOU at the center of your own life and health.  I encourage you to get informed and make your own health choices.  See the Patients' Bill of Rights, also under the 21st Century Medicine web page here.
The National Institute for Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine conducts research into the different modalities in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). These include the five NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) classifications:
  • Hypnosis
Look for a therapist who meets professional standards basic certification for practice:
  • An appropriate clinical degree
  • 40 hours of American Society of Clinical Hypnosis approved work shop training
  • 20 hours of individualized training
  • A minimum of 2 years of independent practice
  • Meditation
I am trained by Duke University Integrative Medicine Center to provide these services. Please see the Mindfulness Services page on this web site
  • Stress Reduction
I am trained by Duke University Integrative Medicine Center to provide these services. Please see the Mindfulness Services page on this web site   
  • Prayer
Many universities like Duke University and the University of Florida now have academic centers for spirituality and health care.  Research is demonstrating the effectiveness of many forms of prayer.  
"This is the great error of our day in treatment of the human being,
that the physicians separate the soul from the body."
- Plato
  • Botanicals
Herbs are less concentrated than drugs.  They are complex mixtures of multiple, interactive, synergistic and antagonistic agents. 
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Vitamins
I recommend the in-depth resources of The Life Extension FoundationThis organization founded by leading medical doctors and biochemists even has research-based disease protocols and an excellent search function for evidence-based information.  Every disease protocol and published article from their journals includes an extensive bibliography of research that you can share with your health care providers.  There are some other top quality, ethical companies producing excellent biologically based products.
Andrew Weil, M.D., considered the "father of integrative medicine" in the United States, has a great deal of information on his web site on all of the five classifications of integrative medicine and produces several free newsletters.  Dr. Weil frequently discusses biologically based medicines on his web site and in his books.  
Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., is another excellent resource on biologically based therapies. 
  • Chiropractic
Chiropractic treats illness by correcting misalignment of the spine in order to support or restore healthy nerve function.  The theory is that illness arises from blockages in nerve flow.  The scope of chiropractic practice varies a great deal.  Data shows chiropractic to be especially effective for back and neck pain. 
Chiropractic training is a four year Chiropractic College accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education.  Licensure is required to practice Chiropractic.
  • Therapeutic Massage
Medical Massage is manipulation of soft tissues.  Massage has beens shown to be effective in many conditions such as for physical relaxation, anxiety, pain, childhood asthma, acute low back pain, and lymphedema. 
Professional Training: The American Massage Therapy Association accredits 90 schools in the United States.  There is a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.  Therapeutic massage is licensed in 38 states. 
  • Osteopathy
Doctors of Osteopathy (D.O.s) practice in the United States on equal standing with M.D.s.  Osteopathy was developed by a Missouri physician, Andrew Taylor, in the late 1800s.  Osteopathy combines
  • Medications, surgery and diagnostic testing of conventional medicine with
  • Manipulation, including cranial osteopathy
  • Lifestyle factors of posture, diet, exercise and stress management
Osteopathic training is four years of medical training after a bachelor's degree, a medical residency, state licensure, and national certification
  • Feldenkrais
Feldenkrais was developed by a Russian physicist and athlete, Moshe Feldenkrais,  in the 1900s.  The focus is on common movements we all perform in our daily lives, learning how to move most naturally and easily. 
Benefits of Feldenkrais are:
  • Improved balance and mobility in older adults
  • improved quality of life in people with Multiple Sclerosis
  • Improved body image in people with eating disorders
  • Reduced neck and back pain
Training:  There is a four year training of 40 days per year but no national certification and no licensure. 
  • Alexander Technique
The Alexander technique is an education/guidance system to "improve posture and movement, and to use muscles efficiently" as defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).
Developed in the late 1800s by Australian F. Mattias Alexander, the goal of Alexander Technique is to discover how to do activities one is already doing as easily and efficiently as possible.  Benefits: 
Research on Alexander Technique shows:
  • Reduced back pain
  • Improved function in Parkinson's Disease
  • Improvement after repetitive strain injuries such as Carpal Tunnel
Alexander Technique is not considered a therapy, it is considered body-mind education.  
Training is three years, 1500-1600 hours.  There is no licensure or certification since this is not a therapy. 
Energy based therapies involve the use of energy fields.  You may have heard about or be familiar with the use of magnetic fields for therapy, or of the use of alternating or direct current fields such as in a simple TENS unit for therapy.  This is the least researched and most diverse health field. 
  • Healing Touch
Healing Touch is the conscious use of touch to influence the human energy system to support healing. Initial training for Healing Touch was through the American Holistic Nurses Association since the method was created by Janet Mentgen, a nurse, in the 1980s.  
A study of 237 patients undergoing heart surgery showed decreased anxiety and length of stay in the hospital and better patient satisfaction (2008)
There are five training levels of Healing Touch. 
Dr. Andrew Weil M.D., is considered the father of integrative medicine. Click here for one of Dr. Weil's pages on Healing Touch on his web site.
  • Therapeutic Touch
Therapeutic Touch was created by two nurses, Dora Kunz and Delores Krieger, in the 1970s.  It is primarily practiced by nurses.  The technique is said to smooth the energy field and remove blockages to promote healing.  Therapeutic Touch is a more active technique than Healing Touch - the practitioner seeks to move energy during the practice. 
Studies in 2008 and 2009 show decreased pain and fatigue while undergoing chemotherapy and 73% reduction in post-operative pain in the elderly.
  • Reiki
A 2008 review showed the greatest pain reduction for touch therapies with Reiki, especially Reiki provided by experienced Reiki practitioners.  Reiki is a form of energy healing that helps promote a person's own body's ability to heal. Click here to see a short video of Reiki provided by volunteers at one of Harvard Medical School's Teaching Affiliate hospitals.
Reiki was developed by a Japanese Buddhist, Dr. Mikao Usui, in the late 1800s.  The method accesses universal energy that is said to balance the recipient's physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies to promote the body's natural ability to heal and regulate itself.  Since Dr. Usui created the Reiki system of healing, many other Reiki systems have emerged from other Reiki teachers.  Today there are multiple systems of Reiki.  Usui Reiki is the original foundation system of healing. 
Studies in 2006 and 2004 showed:
  • Improved behavior and memory for people with Alzheimer's Disease
  • Significant reduction in distress for people suffering from depression and stress.  Results were maintained at one year follow-up after just a six-week Reiki intervention
Here are some additional excellent resources for accurate information on the medical use of Usui Reiki.
There are three levels of Reiki training in Usui Reiki - Levels 1 and 2 and the Master level.  If you are interested in Reiki training for your personal use or professional practice, please contact Pamela Chamberlynn, M.S.W. through this web site.  I am an Usui Reiki Master and provide Reiki training and supervision.  
  • Tai Chi
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that balances yin and yang energies and promotes the movement of qi.
  • 2010 study of osteoarthritis (82 women) showed increased knee extensor strength, bone mineral density, and decreased fear of falling
  • 2009 study at Tufts University (40 people) on osteoarthritis showed reduced pain and depression, improved physical function and quality of life
  • 2001 Cochrane Database Systematic Review included significant effect of Tai Chi for reduced risk of falls in the elderly
Qi Gong
Qi Gong is a traditional Chinese practice for energy cultivation that regulates the flow of Qi (chi) through the body.  It includes five types of practice.  In China Qi Gong Masters work as practitioners in the hospitals.
  • In a 2010 study of simplified Tai Chi Easy 330 participants showed significantly improved stress levels, sleep quality, and energy
Each of the following are complete health care systems of themselves.  They can be used to complement contemporary medicine or as an independent whole medical system.
  • Naturopathic Medicine
According to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges "Naturopathic medicine is defined by principles rather than by methods or modalities. Above all, it honors the body’s innate wisdom to heal."  The core beliefs of naturopathy are the use of natural substances, minimally invasive methods, and encouraging natural healing.  Naturopathy shares many of the same philosophies as integrative medicine.
The curriculum for training as a Naturopathic Physician parallels that of a medical doctor plus botanical, complementary and alternative medicine, nutrition, exercise and other natural treatments.  Naturopathic Medical Schools are four years of post-graduate education like contemporary medical schools for medical doctors.  15 states plus Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands have licensing laws for Naturopathic Physicians.
  • Homeopathic Medicine
Homeopathy was created by Samuel Hahnemann, M.D., in 1796.  The medical system is based on the theory that illness is a disturbance in the vital life force. 
Training as a Homeopath is 1- 4 years.  Online degrees are available.  There is a national certification but it is not recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.  Licensing as a Homeopathic Physician is only available to M.D.s and D.O.s in Arizona, Connecticut and Nevada to date. 
  • Ayurveda
Ayurveda is an Indian medical system based on ancient Sanskrit texts.  Ayurveda incorporates spirituality, emotions, individual characteristics, family history, seasons, and age.  Treatments include diet, yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, herbal therapies, and cleansing regimes.
  • A 2001 study of 261 people with osteoarthritis of the knee showed significant reduction in knee pain when walking or standing, improved status, and decreased pharmaceutical medication following a treatment with ginger extract taken twice a day
There are over one hundred colleges in India with 5 1/2 year training programs in Ayurvedic Medicine.  The U.S. National Ayurvedic Medical Association recognizes 12 programs with recommended 500 hour practitioner trainings.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
Chinese Medicine has been practiced for over 2500 years.  The theory is that health depends on the free circulation of blood and qi (chi.)  This medical system includes:
  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal medicine
  • Meditation
  • Qi Gong and Tai Chi
  • Nutrition
  • Feng Shui (aligning the human body with the energy meridians of land and home)
  • Body Work
Acupuncture is one of the most well researched medical systems.  A National Institute for Health (NIH) Panel on Acupuncture reports:
  • Proven efficacy in the use of acupuncture for adult postoperative pain, chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, and in postoperative dental pain"
  • Promising, but further research needed for addiction, stroke rehabilitation, head ache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma
A 1997 Consensus Conference on Acupuncture stated:
"Data for acupuncture are as strong as those for many accepted Western medical therapies."  "The incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than of accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions."
Professional Training:
There are multiple systems of acupuncture.  40 states in the United States either license or register Acupuncture Physicians.  It is estimated that there are 7000 - 9000 medical doctors in the United States who have also become Acupuncture Physicians.
  • Medical Acupuncture for a medical doctor: is 300 hours of training and certification by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture
  • Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) is full-time training programs for 3-4 years, approximately 2500-200 hours and national certification by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine