People often use “alternative” and “complementary” interchangeably, but the two terms refer to different concepts:
Most people who use non-mainstream approaches also use conventional health care.
Integrative health care often brings conventional and complementary approaches together in a coordinated way. It emphasizes a holistic, patient-focused approach to health care and wellness—often including mental, emotional, functional, spiritual, social, and community aspects—and treating the whole person rather than, for example, one organ system. It aims for well-coordinated care between different providers and institutions.
NIH: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
Original air date: April 11, 2011
Category: NCCAM Lectures
Description: The Complementary and Integrative Medicine Consult Service Lecture Series Sponsored by NCCAM Provides NIH Clinical Center Staff with Opportunities to Learn more about How the Integration of Various Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments Can Affect Approaches in the Research and Practice for Medicine.
Author: Eric Boyle, PhD. Stetten Postdoctoral Fellow, Office of History, NIH & Jack Killen, MD. Deputy Director, NCCAM, NIH