Complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) are treatments that fall outside of mainstream healthcare.These medicines and treatments range from acupuncture and homeopathy, to aromatherapy, meditation and colonic irrigation.This page covers: Defining CAMs Deciding to use complementary or alternative treatments Availability on the NHS Finding a CAM practitioner There is no universally agreed definition of CAMs.Although "complementary and alternative" is often used as a single category, it can be useful to make a distinction between the two terms.You can learn more about the evidence for particular CAMs by reading about individual types of treatment – see our index for a list of all conditions and treatments covered by NHS Choices.Some complementary and alternative medicines or treatments are based on principles and an evidence base that are not recognised by the majority of independent scientists.There are also various off-shoots of with microsites for gay and lesbian dating, Asian dating, Christian dating and Polish dating. The experts say: For those nervous about dating, this site puts the control in your fingertips allowing you access to thousands of profiles and the ability to chat to potential dates at the rate which works for you.
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The US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) uses this distinction: There can be overlap between these two categories.
For example, aromatherapy may sometimes be used as a complementary treatment, and in other circumstances is used as an alternative treatment.
A number of complementary and alternative treatments are typically used with the intention of treating or curing a health condition.
Examples include: To understand whether a treatment is safe and effective, we need to check the evidence.