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HLSC 3370: Complementary and Alternative Medicine

What is Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Medicine?

The National Institute of Health's Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has outline the following definitions:

  • Complementary: when non-maistream approaches are used together with conventional medicine
  • Alternative: when non-mainstream approaches are used instead of conventional medicine
  • Integrative: bringing conventional and complementary approaches together in a coordinated way.

Evaluating Resources

Complementary and Alternative Medicine sometimes gets a reputation for being less effective or ethical than traditional medicine. Use the tools below to make sure the information resources you're using were responsibly researched and communicated.

If you don't think you have time to access this full website, remember to always ask these questions when you're exposed to new information or website:

  1. Who runs or created the site or app? Can you trust them?
  2. What is the site or app promising or offering? Do its claims seem too good to be true?
  3. When was its information written or reviewed? Is it up-to-date?
  4. Where does the information come from? Is it based on scientific research?
  5. Why does the site or app exist? Is it selling something?

Good Online Sources

There are some sources that we know are good places to start your research. Medline Plus, for example, is a website created by the National Library of Medicine and is written in language the general population can understand. We know this is a good resource because it is updated regularly, transparent about where it gets its information, and it is funded and created by a trustworthy organization.

Governmental resources tend to be trustworthy, since they have the public's health in mind. They have no motivation to sell consumers anything-- they're just trying to keep the country healthy. You can check out MedlinePlus and other trustworthy online resources below.