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The 10 Most Commonly Used CAM Therapies and Conditions

complementary and alternative medicine, CAM therapies

What is CAM used for?

Complementary and alternative medicine (often referred to by the acronym “CAM”)  encompasses a wide range of therapies that fall outside the treatments offered by conventional medicine.  Repeated studies* have found that more than three quarters of Canadians use CAM therapies to treat a myriad of health conditions. The 10 most frequently reported medical conditions for which CAM therapies were used are:

  • Allergies
  • Back or neck problems
  • Arthritis or rheumatism
  • Difficulty walking
  • Frequent headaches
  • Lung problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Gynecological problems
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Heart problems or chest pain

Which CAM therapies are the most popular?

You might be surprised to learn that many commonly accessed or used treatments are actually included under the umbrella of complementary and alternative medicine. The 10 most commonly used CAM therapies in Canada are:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Prayer/spiritual practice
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Herbal therapies
  • Special diet programs
  • Energy healing
  • Naturopathy

While cancer is not on this list as it is less prevalent than the ten listed conditions, it is well known that people with cancer are high users of CAM. A paper in the 2006 Journal of Psychosocial Oncology estimated that 80% of adult cancer patients use at least one form of CAM during or after treatment (J Psychosoc Oncol 2006;23(4):35-60).

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