Complementary and Alternative medicines (CAMs) are treatments which stand outside of orthodox medicine and mainstream treatment. Most of these therapies are founded on basic principles and are not backed by sufficient scientific evidence and are therefore not acknowledged by a majority of independent scientists. CAM can include therapies such as colonic irrigation, herbalism, chiropractic, physiotherapy and acupuncture.

Complementary and alternative is mainly used as a single category but can be split into two separate methods. Firstly, complementary medicine is used alongside medical treatment in order to relieve the patient of symptoms of their problem. It can also be used solely for the pleasure it provides in itself which can improve the patient’s quality of life. On the other hand, alternative therapies are used instead of mainstream medicine in order to treat a health issue. However some treatments can be used in both ways, for example aromatherapy can be used as a complementary or alternative therapy.

CAM should be considered upon the evidence for its success and the insistence on seeing qualified practitioners. Only chiropractic and osteopathy are managed by professional statutory regulation. Chiropractors and Osteopaths must be registered with their corresponding council. Therefore anyone can practise other types of complementary and alternative treatments with limited experience. It is up to the patient themselves to find a practitioner who they are comfortable and satisfied with to carry out the therapy.

When searching for a therapist, take a look at their qualifications and professional accreditations before contacting them.