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Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Health Practices

Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Health Practices

The utilization of complementary and alternative medicine has grown rapidly globally. This growth has been attributed to the increasing evidence of their safety and effectiveness in the alleviation of some ailments. Complementary and alternative practices that are in use within the US include massage therapy, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture relaxation techniques, and herbs, among others. This paper seeks to highlight the difference between complementary, alternative, and integrative health practices and how they impact patient care.

Complementary and alternative medicine refers to treatment modalities that are not part of the mainstream health system and can be used to complement the conventional health system. The most widespread treatment modalities in use include traditional Chinese medicine, dietary supplementation, ayurvedic medicine, herbalism, and homeopathy, among others. The complementary use of these modalities of treatment has conferred significant clinical benefits to its users. Dietary therapy, for instance, has proven to prevent many disease states by enhancing immune functionality and thus ensuring a better quality of life (James et al., 2019). These clinical benefits, as evident in diet therapy, warrant the use of alternative medicine.

Integrative medicine refers to the provision of healthcare services in a manner that selectively incorporates modalities of treatment otherwise regarded as complementary/alternative to the mainstream conventional healthcare system. Integrative medicine emphasizes health and healing and not diseases and their treatment. It encompasses all dimensions of well-being and targets the holistic approach targeting the mind, spirit, and body. Interventions prescribed in this model of care such as proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, and any other lifestyle aspect that may promote healthy living (Steinhorn et al., 2017). Adequate sleep, for instance, has been shown to enhance immunity and decrease mental illnesses such as depressive states. This proof of effectiveness reinforces the need to integrate these treatment modalities into the mainstream system of care.

There is sufficient evidence pointing to the effectiveness of alternative medicine as well as integrative medicine. I would consider these interventions selectively in my nursing practice. Such treatment modalities as acupuncture and dietary supplements can be beneficial to my patients and need to be integrated into mainstream care. Additionally, integrative approaches that focus on the totality of healing have proved to be beneficial. Such aspects as dietary adjustments and relaxation training can be of great help to the patients and thus ensure better clinical outcomes.

Complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine interventions are increasingly being utilized among many populations globally. Their proof of effectiveness has been the underlying reason for this. Complementary and alternative treatment modalities such as acupuncture and herbalism are effective in alleviating human disease. Integrative approaches as well have had great benefits in their approach to target mind, body, and spirit as components of healing. The beneficial use of complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine is evident and therefore should be integrated into the mainstream system of care.


James, P., Wardle, J., Steel, A., & Adams, J. (2019). Traditional, complementary and alternative medicine use in Sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review. Advances In Integrative Medicine, 6, S75.

Steinhorn, D., Din, J., & Johnson, A. (2017). Healing, spirituality, and integrative medicine. Annals Of Palliative Medicine, 6(3), 237-247.


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Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Health Practices

Discussion Prompt
Discuss the differences between complementary, alternative, and integrative health practices and how they impact patient care. Describe one example of each. Discuss, with rationale, whether you would consider using any of these interventions in your advanced nursing role.

Initial Post:

Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Health Practices

Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Health Practices

  • Due: Thursday, 11:59 pm PT
  • Length: A minimum of 250 words, not including references
  • Citations: At least one high-level scholarly reference in APA from within the last 5 years

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