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Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Family and Community Medicine - Behavioral and Social Sciences


Behavioral and Social Sciences

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Integrative Medicine Sites

"Medicine" means different things to different people. Many people in the United States would not chew the white layer of bark from a willow tree to treat a fever, but they would take aspirin. And yet, from at least the time of Hippocrates, the powder of certain tree barks has been used to treat headaches, pains and fevers. It turns out an active ingredient of that bark is salicylic acid … known in its acetylated form as acetylsalicylic acid, which, of course, is aspirin.

When does CAM become traditional medicine in this country? What is available and what standards are required? What standards are actually met? What pieces of CAM have been integrated into "western medicine"? In parts of the world yoga, acupuncture and tai chi are essential parts of health care, and many physicians and patients in the U.S. are embracing different facets of this training. Of course, some “fads” are not tested rigorously and/or we do not yet have data in the form of evidence-based medicine. As with all questions about medicine, education is the best approach.

The mission of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research, and service to the community.


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