Complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, is more common these days. People prefer CAM due to the influence of friends, the media and sometimes because conventional therapies fail to resolve their symptoms (National Cancer Institute, 2022). CAM is widely applied in managing chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, depression, and cancer. Some commonly used complementary and alternative therapies for cancer include herbal and dietary supplements, mind-body therapies like yoga, meditation and tai chi, acupuncture, massage and chiropractic therapy (National Cancer Institute, 2022). Most patients use these and other naturopathic medicines, sometimes alone or combined with modern or conventional medication. Although the safety of some of these therapeutic practices has not been established, some, like yoga and meditation, are associated with positive effects for patients, including stress relief and enhanced coping (National Cancer Institute, 2022). The FDA does not have to approve herbal or dietary supplements. Therefore, patients must inform the physician when they take these medications to prevent adverse effects like potentially harmful interactions. Many patients with hypertension and diabetes prefer CAM over conventional medicines. Some common complementary and alternative therapies for managing diabetes and HTN include herbal medicine, nutritional supplements, spiritual healing, diet modification and relaxation (Owusu et al., 2020). Some herbal treatments have not had their effectiveness proven, but most therapeutic approaches are considered generally safe. Diet modification and exercise are ideal in modern medicine to manage hypertension and DM. Most patients also prefer CAM because of their convenience (they do not need a physician’s prescription) and because they are less expensive than conventional therapies (Owusu et al., 2020). Some of these medications are more effective than no treatment at all. Patients must inform their care provider whenever they have concerns about these medications because some may worsen their conditions. Other risks include infection and harmful drug interactions, for instance, with the famous St John’s Wort.
I believe holistic care effectively addresses patients’ dynamic health needs. This is not to say that allopathic medicine is less effective because it works for some people. However, holistic care promotes comprehensive patient care and enables patients to reach their full potential. I would accept a patient’s choice of allopathic or holistic medicine. I would, however, want them to know the potential benefits and risks of either form of therapy and help them make an informed choice. I would also ensure they are comfortable sharing their preferences and help them attain the best possible outcomes.