Complementary and Integrative Medicine

Complementary and Integrative Medicine

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MSLIS
Health Science Writing | Clinical Medical Searching
Posted February 28, 2016

What is Complementary and Integrative Medicine?

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), which is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and integrative health approaches, defines complementary and integrative medicine.

NCCIH generally uses the term, complementary, for practices and products that are not mainstream. NCCIH uses the term, integrative, when complementary practices and products are incorporated into mainstream healthcare. For example, an integrative approach might be incorporating meditation into mainstream treatment for relief of symptoms in cancer patients.

What Complementary and Integrative Approaches Do Americans Use?

The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is an annual survey in which tens of thousands of Americans answer questions about their health. Every five years, this survey includes a special section on complementary health approaches. The most recent data on complementary approaches were collected in 2012.

More than 30 percent of American adults and about 12 percent of children use healthcare approaches outside of mainstream medicine, according to key findings from NHIS 2012.

Natural Products, defined as dietary supplements other than vitamins and minerals, were the most popular complementary health approach in the survey. Almost 18 percent of American adults and almost five percent of American children had used a dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals in the past year.

Safety Information

Researchers at the NCCIH caution that natural does not necessarily mean safe. For example, dietary supplements are not regulated in the same way that prescription drugs are regulated. Dietary supplements do not require review or approval by the Food and Drug Administration before they are placed on the market.

To minimize the health risks of a non-mainstream treatment, consider these tips:

Start talking with your health care providers about complementary health approaches

If you are considering a complementary health approach, find out what the research says.

Be aware of things to know when selecting a complementary health practitioner .

Test Your Understanding

The NCCIH has produced interactive videos that you can follow at your own pace, to test your understanding of health related matters.

One video is called, Understanding Drug-Supplement Interactions.

Another video is called, Understanding Health News.

Be an Informed Consumer

Decisions about your health care are important, including decisions about whether to use complementary health products and practices. NCCIH has developed a series of Factsheets called, Be an Informed Consumer to help you get started.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Are You Considering a Complementary Health Approach ?
Summary Note: Fact Sheet to assist you in making your decisions about complementary health products and practices.
(Accessed 15 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Be an Informed Consumer .
Summary Note: Includes sections on Issues to Consider, Consumer Tips, Safety Information, Choosing a Practitioner, About Dietary and Herbal Supplements, and Understanding Health News.
(Accessed 22 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Children and Complementary Health Approaches.
Summary Note: Discusses what you should do if you are considering a complementary approach for your child. Lists ten most common complementary health approaches among children.
(Accessed 25 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In a Name?
Summary Note: Defines Alternative, Complementary, and Integrative. Lists ten most common complementary health approaches among adults.
(Accessed 24 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Five Tips: What Consumers Need to Know About Dietary Supplements.
Summary Note: Five basic things to know when considering dietary supplements.
(Accessed 25 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Four Tips: Start Talking With Your Health Care Providers About Complementary Health Approaches
Summary Note: Four tips to help you and your healthcare providers to start talking.
(Accessed 24 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health . Health.
Summary Note: Research-based information on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatments. All Health Topics from A to Z.
(Accessed 23 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Herbs at a Glance .
Summary Note: Series of brief fact sheets that provides basic information about specific herbs or botanicals, including common names, what the science says, and resources for more information.
(Accessed 23 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Paying for Complementary Health Approaches.
Summary Note: Includes information on Spending, Paying, and Questions You May Want to Ask Your Insurance Provider.
(Accessed 25 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Six Things to Know When Selecting a Complementary Health Practitioner
Summary Note: Six tips to help you to be as careful and thorough in your search for a complementary health practitioner as you are when looking for mainstream care.
(Accessed 24 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Terms Related to Complementary and Integrative Health
Summary Note: Brief descriptive introductions to common complementary and integrative health terms.
(Accessed 24 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Understanding Drug-Supplement Interactions. Test Your Knowledge.
Summary Note: Interactive 13-screen video on understanding drug-supplement interactions presents True or False statements and offers clickable Tell Me! Examples.
(Accessed 25 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Understanding Health News. Complementary Health Approaches in the News.
Summary Note: Interactive 12-screen video presents short news stories, then asks you, What Facts Are Missing? Includes Answers.
(Accessed 24 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Use of Complementary Health Approaches in the U.S.
Summary Note: Key findings from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 2012
(Accessed 27 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Complementary and Integrative Medicine.
Summary Note: MedlinePlus Home Page for Complementary and Integrative Medicine Health Topics
(Accessed 23 February 2016)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus Herbs and Supplements
Summary Note: A to Z list of dietary supplements and herbal remedies. Effectiveness, usual dosage, and drug interactions.
(Accessed 23 February 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Time to Talk Tips on Complementary Health Practices

Time to Talk Tips on Complementary Health Practices

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, M.A., M.S.
Posted June 02, 2015

Background

“Time to Talk Tips” is one of the resources in the “Time to Talk Campaign,” managed by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Like any health-related decision, your decision about whether to use complementary health practices is central to your health and safety. Yet, information you find on the Web is not always specific to your illness or based on scientific evidence.

The NIH monthly consumer-friendly series, “Time to Talk Tips,” discusses specific health topics, together with the scientific evidence related to those topics. The series is designed to encourage you and your medical doctors or other healthcare providers to talk about any complementary practice that you are considering.

Examples of “Time to Talk Tips”

Each month, the series highlights a health topic. For example, topics include “Natural Products for the Flu and Colds,” and “What Consumers Need to Know about the Use of Dietary Supplements.”

The series includes simple tips, such as, taking vitamin C regularly does not reduce the likelihood of getting a cold, but may improve some cold symptoms, and some dietary supplements may interact with prescription or over-the-counter medications or other dietary supplements.

Sometimes, a health topic targets a specific health condition, such as “Six Things You Need to Know about Cancer and Complementary Health Approaches , or, “Five Things to Know about Sleep Disorders and Complementary Health Approaches.”

The consumer tips accompany topics found in the NCCIH Clinical Digest for Health Professionals, which is a monthly e-newsletter for medical doctors and other healthcare providers. The Clinical Digest addresses the state of science on complementary health practices for a variety of health conditions.

 How to Make “Time to Talk Tips” Work for You

The same topics that are found in the NCCIH Clinical Digest and the “Time to Talk Tips” are discussed in monthly Twitter chats, allowing you, as a member of the public, to interact with NCCIH Information Specialists, to ask questions, and to receive answers in real time.

The NCCIH “Time to Talk Tips” monthly series on complementary health practices was started in 2012. If you access the NCCIH website, “Time to Talk Tips on Complementary Health Practices,” on a regular basis, you can see the list of tips grow, from month to month.

Stay informed in the following ways:

Resources for Patients from the National Institutes of Health

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

References

 National Institutes of Health. National Cancer Institute. Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM).
(Accessed May 24, 2015)

National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. NCCIH Clearinghouse.
(Accessed May 03, 2015)

 National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. NCCIH Clinical Digest.
(Accessed May 23, 2015)

National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. NCCIH E-Mail Us – Submit a Question or Comment.
(Accessed May 24, 2015)

 National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. NCCIH Live Chats with Experts.(Accessed May 24, 2015)

 National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. NCCIH Time to Talk Home Page.
(Accessed May 24, 2015)

 National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “NIH Launches Consumer-Friendly Tips Series on Complementary Health Practices.” NIH News. March 06, 2012.
(Accessed May 03, 2015)

 National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Time to Talk. “Time to Talk Tips.”
(Accessed May 24, 2015)

 National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).
(Accessed May 24, 2015)

 National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Medline Plus.
(Accessed My 24, 2015)

 

NCCIH Time to Talk Campaign

NCCIH Time to Talk Campaign

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, M.A., M.S.
Posted May 09, 2015

Background

“Time to Talk” is an educational campaign, managed by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Time to Talk” encourages patients and their medical doctors and other healthcare providers, to discuss the use of complementary health practices.

Complementary health practices include practices and products that originated outside of mainstream medicine, such as, acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbal supplements, and meditation.

Why Talk?

Nearly 40 percent of Americans use some form of complementary health practice, according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey.

In 2007, Americans spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket for complementary medicine. The $33.9 billion accounted for approximately one and one-half percent of total healthcare expenditures, and more than 11 percent of total out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures. Much of total out-of-pocket spending was self-care, that is, products, classes, and materials not specifically recommended by a healthcare provider.

The scope, self-care nature, and costs of complementary healthcare by Americans strengthen the need for individual patients and their healthcare providers to talk about the use and safety of complementary healthcare practices.

In 2010, a survey was conducted by the NCCIH (then known as, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), in partnership with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

The 2010 survey confirmed that patients and providers often do not discuss the use of complementary health practices. Primary reasons are that patients do not know that they should tell their providers about their use of complementary health practices. And, providers do not ask their patients about their use of complementary health practices.

How to Start the Conversation

Talk specifically about your own healthcare needs. For example, if you are taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, and you are considering complementary healthcare practices, ask whether there might be harmful interactions between the medications and the complementary practices.

When you tell your medical doctors or other healthcare providers about your use of complementary health practices, you can more easily stay in control of your own health. When medical doctors or other healthcare providers are aware of which complementary health practices you are using or considering, they can help you to make wise choices.

Four Tips to Start the Conversation

  • In advance of your visit to your medical doctor or other healthcare provider, make a list of the complementary health practices you use. Remember to include over-the-counter and prescription medicines, as well as dietary and herbal supplements. When you are filling-out a patient history form during your visit, you can refer to your list.
  • Take your list with you into the medical examining room, so that you can refer to it, as you talk with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider. Some complementary health approaches can have an effect on conventional medicine, so your provider needs to know.
  • If you are considering a complementary health practice, always ask questions. Ask your provider about its safety, effectiveness, and possible interactions with prescription and nonprescription medicines.
  • Don’t wait for your medical doctor or other provider to ask about any complementary health practice that you are using or considering. Start the conversation.

Order or Download Your Free Patient Packet

As part of the Time to Talk campaign, NCCIH has developed a Free Patient Packet of helpful materials, to help you begin a conversation with your medical doctors or other healthcare providers. Order your packet online. Or, call: 1-888-644-6226.

Each packet contains the following information:

  • Backgrounder: Resources from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • TELL tip sheet: Tips for talking with healthcare providers
  • Patient Wallet Card: Card to help you to keep track of your medications, including dietary supplements and other complementary health products. You can take this card with you to your visits with your healthcare providers.
  • Get the Facts: Facts you should know if you are considering complementary medicine

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

References

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).
(Accessed 07 May 2015)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. NCCAM (now, NCCIH) Strategic Plan 2011-2015. “Exploring the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
(Accessed 07 May 2015)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “Health Topics: A to Z: Researched-based information from acupuncture to zinc.”
(Accessed 03 May 2015)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). “NCCIH Clearinghouse.”
(Accessed 03 May 2015

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Time to Talk (Home page).
(Accessed 03 May 2015

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Time to Talk (About page). “Backgrounder.”
(Accessed 03 May 2015)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Time to Talk. “Tell Your Health Care Provider About Your Use of Complementary Health Practices.”
(Accessed 03 May 2015)

 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “Time to Talk with Your Health Care Providers: Four Tips to Start the Conversation.”
(Accessed 03 May 2015)

 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “Time to Talk about Dietary Supplements: Five Things Consumers Need to Know.”
(Accessed 03 May 2015)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Time to Talk. “Ask Your Patients About Their Use of Complementary Health Practices.”
(Accessed 03 May 2015

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Time to Talk.  “Encourage Your Members to Talk About Complementary Health Practices.”
(Accessed 03 May 2015)

 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Time to Talk. Press Room. NCCIH Press Releases.” 
(Accessed 03 May 2015)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Time to Talk. “Time to Talk Tips on Complementary Health Practices.”
(Accessed 03 May 2015)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Time to Talk. “Your Free Patient Packet (Order or Download).”
(Accessed 05 May 2015)