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Alternative and Complementary Medicine
General Resource Guide

teek.jpg (3467 bytes)   Explanation of terminology
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   Common Abbreviations

Categorized Information Resources:
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   Government resources
teek.jpg (3467 bytes)   Professional Associations
teeqpu.jpg (4050 bytes)   Web resources
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   Referral services see Choosing an Alternative or Complementary Medicine Practitoner
teeysh.jpg (3294 bytes)   Search services

For an explanation of the criteria for selection and organization of the resources, see the two introductions:

Introduction for Professionals
Introduction for Patients and Health Care Consumers

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A note on terminology

Alternative and complementary medicine encompasses a great number of practices and systems of healthcare. Some have been incorporated into standard care as in the many integrative or integrated medicine clinics that have recently opened, usually under the direction of a conventional physician or MD.

Conventional medicine or western biomedicine is sometimes referred to as allopathic medicine, derived from the Greek, allo, meaning opposite, and pathos, meaning suffering. In general, conventional medicine focuses on diseases and employs techniques to eradicate it. For example, antibiotic drugs for bacterial infections or anti-hypertensives for high blood pressure.

Alternative and complementary medicine is frequently referred to as CAM, although the two terms have different connotations. Alternative medicine is used to replace conventional treatments, so opting for a nutritional therapy for cancer instead of chemotherapy is alternative. Complementary therapies are used alongside conventional treatments. For example, acupuncture or herbs may be used for the nausea associated with chemotherapy.

Conventional biomedicine is sometimes referred to as traditional medicine. This is a misnomer. Traditional systems of medicine existed long before the development of modern western medicine. Traditional systems, such as Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), or Tibetan Medicine have developed distinctly different concepts of health and disease that usually combine concepts of body, mind, and spirit. Notions of cancer or infectious diseases have no direct parallels in these systems.

New perspectives on health and medicine, incorporating ideas of "life force", balance and harmony may be referred to as mind-body approaches. Yoga, guided imagery, biofeedback, hypnosis are examples. Novel approaches emphasizing spiritual practices and the wholeness of all aspects of human life are often referred to as holistic, wholistic, or New Age medicine.

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Common Abbreviations

Alternative medical practices have developed a set of credentials that can be confusing. The following are some of the most commonly used abbreviations:

ACT - Acupuncture Therapist
AHP - Advanced Heller Practice
AP - Acupuncture Physician
CA - Certified Acupuncturist
CAMT - Certified Acupressure Massage Therapist
CAC- Certified Acupuncturist
CAT - Certified Alexander Teacher
CBT- Certified Biofeedback Therapy
CBPM - Certified Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy
CHOM - Certified Homeopathic
CLMP - Certified Licensed Massage Practitioner
CHT - Certified Hypnotherapist
CLMT - Certified Licensed Massage Therapist
CMP - Certified Massage Practitioner
CMP- Certified Massage Therapist
CNS - Certified Nurse Specialist
CNP - Certified Nurse Practitioner
CR - Certified Rolfer
CST - Certified Structural Therapist
CTP - Certified Trager Practitioner
CVA - Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist
DAC - Doctor of Acupuncture
DCH - Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy
DC - Doctor of Chiropractic
DHOM - Diplomate of Homeopathic Medicine
DDS - Doctor of Dentistry
DHANP - Diplomate of the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians
DHMS - Diplomate of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery
DIPLAC - Diplomate of Licensed Acupuncturist
DO - Doctor of Osteopathy
DHT- Diplomate of Homeotherapeutics
DOM - Doctor of Oriental Medicine
DIPAC - Diplomate American Board of Medical Acupuncture
HHP - Holistic Health Practitioner
HMP - Homeopathic Medical Doctor
LAC - Licensed Acupuncturist
LN - Licensed Nutritionist
MDH - Medical Doctor of Homeopathy
MT - Massage Therapist
NCTMB - Nationally Certified Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork
NT - Nutritional Counselor
ND - Doctor of Naturopathy
OBT - Oriental Bodywork Therapist
NMD - Doctor of Naturopathy
OMD - Oriental Medical Doctor
PP - Polarity Practitioner
RCT - Registered Craniosacral Therapist
RAC - Registered Acupuncturist
RPP - Registered Polarity Practitioner
ST - Somatic Therapist
RSHOM - Registered with the Society of Homeopaths

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Categorized Resources

NOTEThe following resource listings are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to be used as a guide for treatment. They are provided for information only. The resources are selected and categorized to help you with your own research:



Bradly P Jacobs, MD, MPH, Katherine Gundling, MD
The ACP Evidence-Based Guide to Complementary & Alternative Medicine
ACP Press, 2009
Written from a generalist clinician perspective this guide from American College of Physicians provides accessible scientifically-based information on subspecialty areas with at-a-glance summaries.

boik.jpg (1555 bytes) Richard P Brown, Patricia L Gerbarg, Philip R. Muskin
How to Use herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care
FW.W.Norton & Company, 2009
A reference book for healthcare professionals and the public on integrative mental health approaches. The authors are clinical psychologists and medical school professors.

boik.jpg (1555 bytes) Kenneth Pelletier, Andrew Weil (introduction)
The Best Alternative Medicine
Fireside, 2002
Dr. Kenneth Pelletier provides an authoritative consumer reference guide that focuses on the existing body of clinical research and the safest applications of the 12 most common practices.

Wayne B Jonas & Jeffrey S Levin (Eds.)
Essentials of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 1999
Textbook, for physicians about the foundations of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and the safety of CAM products and practices. Overviews nearly two dozen CAM systems.

boik.jpg (1555 bytes) Spencer, JW and Jacobs, J (Eds.)
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Evidence-Based Approach
Mosby, 1998
Individual chapters deal with disease states and patient groups, along with information on and evidence for therapies used to treat them. Provides categorization of types of evidence and how the research has been evaluated.

micozzi.gif (16997 bytes) Micozzi, Marc (Ed.)
Current Review of Complementary Medicine
Current Medicine, 1999
Individual chapters deal with particular modalities or diseases.  Information on how to create an herbal formulary, insurance coverage and surveys of usage.

Fugh.gif (11097 bytes) Fugh-Berman, Adrian
Alternative Medicine: What Works
Williams-Wilkins, 1997
A comprehensive and readable review of the scientific evidence both for and against a range of therapies.

Institute of Medicine - Report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States
The IOM, component of the National Academies, collected information on the scientific and policy implications of the use of complementary and alternative medicine by the American public. The $1 million study was published in January, 2005.

Report to the National Institutes of Health, Office of Alternative Medicine
Expanding Medical Horizons
NIH Publication, 1994
Useful reference resource, covering a wide range of scientific, clinical and historical research on alternative medical approaches.


Andrew Weil, MD
Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimum Health
Houghton Mifflin, rev. ed, 2004
New edition of Dr. Weil's resource on preventive health maintenance and alternative healing is expanded to include advice about low-carb diets, hormone replacement therapy, Alzheimer's, attention deficit disorder, reflux disease, autism, type 2 diabetes, and more.

Roanne Weisman & Brian Berman, MD
Own Your Health
Health Communications, 2003
Weisman, a medical writer, used a range of alternative treatments to aid recovery after suffering a debilitating stroke. This reference book was inspired by her experiences.

goetlibb.gif (8205 bytes) Bill Gottlieb (Ed)
New Choices in Natural Healing
Rodale, 1997
A comprehensive guide to self-care using alternative therapies.

Gordon.gif (6500 bytes) James S. Gordon
Manifesto for a New Medicine
Addison Wesley, 1996
A guide for practitioners and patients on how to integrate the best of conventional and alternative healthcare.

weil.gif (10705 bytes) Weil, Andrew
Spontaneous Healing
Fawcett, 1996
General health guide based on the idea that the body has the power to heal itself, also applied to remissions of cancer and other life threatening diseases.

Goldberg.gif (10369 bytes) Burton Goldberg Group
Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide
Future Medicine Publishing, 1998, revised ed.
An encyclopedic guide to therapies and alternative treatments for a range of health problems, compiled through interviews with practitioners. Standard conventional diagnoses and treatments are also described.


grossinger.gif (6039 bytes) Grossinger, Richard
Planet Medicine Vol. I: Origins
Planet Medicine Vol. II: Modalities
North Atlantic Books, Rev. eds: Vol. I 2001, Vol.II, 2003
Description of the healing traditions in many cultures: Shamanic, Taoist, Ayurvedic, as well as modern alternative therapies and mind-body approaches.

See also the Resource Guide on Traditional Medical Systems:

Tibetan Medicine
Chinese Traditional Medicine

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      Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
      Published by InnoVision Communications, Boulder, CO. (303) 440-7402
      Peer reviewed academic journal with news items, 10 issues a year.
      Editor in Chief, Mark A. Hyman, MD.

      Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal
      Published by InnoVision Communications, Boulder, CO. (303) 440-7402
      Provides clinicians with peer-reviewed, scientifically accurate, practical information about the integration of conventional and natural medicine. editor, Joseph Pizzorno, ND

      F.A.C.T: Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies
      Published by the Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK
      FACT is a quarterly review journal that aims to present the evidence on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in an analytical and impartial manner.
      Editor-in-Chief, Edzard Ernst, MD

      Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine:
      Research on Paradigm, Practice, and Policy

      Published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Larchmont, NY. (800) M-LIEBERT
      Peer-reviewed academic journal, 10 issues a year. Editor-in-Chief, Kim Jobst, DM, MRCP.

      Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients
      Published by Jonathan Collin, MD, Port Townsend, WA. (360) 385-6021
      Scientific and anecdotal information from researchers, health practititioners and patients.  Editor-in-Chief:  Jonathan Collin, MD.


      Alternative Medicine: The Art and Science of Healthy Living
      Published by InnoVision Communications, Boulder, CO. (303) 440-7402
      Formerly Alternative Medicine Digest and Alternative Medicine Magazine (not affiliated with the Alternative Medicine Foundation, Inc.) Sections include, "Ask the Doctor" featuring a different CAM practitioner each issue, health matters, healing foods, and min-body topics.

      Prevention Magazine
      Published by Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA. (610) 967-5171 or NY (212) 697-2040
      Information on vitamins, minerals, herbs, diet and nutrition, as well as healthy recipes.

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      CAM on PubMed
      NCCAM and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) partnered to create a subset of NLM's PubMed. PubMed provides access to citations from the MEDLINE database and additional life science journals. High quality research resources are publicly available.
      This resource from the Department of Health & Human Services provides information on the integration of alternative and complementary medicine, with an emphasis on healthy lifestyles.

      MedlinePlus - Alternative Medicine (also called CAM)
      Authoritative consumer health information from the National Library of Medicine.

      National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NCCAM/NIH)
      NCCAM is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science; training CAM researchers; and disseminating authoritative information.

      NCCAM Public Information Clearinghouse
      P.O. Box 7923
      Gaithersburg, Maryland 20898

      Tel: 1-888-644-6226; outside U.S.: (301) 519-3153
      Fax: 1-866-464-3616 (Toll-Free)
      TTY: 1-866-464-3615 (Toll-Free)
      For fact sheets and information with government clearance. 

      Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM), National Institutes of Health
      OCCAM was established in October 1998 to coordinate and enhance the activities of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the arena of complementary and alternative medicine.

      Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health
      The mission of ODS is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating the public to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population.

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MedBioWorld has compiled listings of associations for every field of health and medicine. Link below for their complementary and alternative medicine listings.

MedBioWorld - Complementary Therapies Organizations

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Promotional and commercial sites are not included in this listing unless they provide significant impartial information resources.


      Directory of Databases
      Compilation of the major databases containing significant alternative medicine resources. The categorized listings are hyperlinked to existing Web sites where available, or to brief information on the resource, such as: how to obtain further details; type of literature covered; size of the holding; and mode of access.

      Extensive directory of pharmaceutical drugs with information on interactions, side effects, conditions, and news alerts.

      Information on a wide list of alternative medicine modalities, with more general resources for alternative medicine at

      Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
      Provides systematically assessed product information and product ingredient information. Searchable by natural product name, disease or condition, or drug name. Requires subscription for access.

      Natural Standard
      Validated rating scales are used to evaluate the quality of available scientific evidence. Information is incorporated into comprehensive monographs which are designed to facilitate clinical decision making. Subscription required for access.

      R & H Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
      A comprehensive and authoritative listing, from Columbia University, NYC, of complementary and alternative medicine resources .

      UK-Bandolier - Complementary and Alternative Therapies
      UK Site sponsored by the private health insurance company, BUPA, containing quality evaluated, primarily evidence-based information on alternative and complementary therapies.

There are many more sites that give listings of related sites and resources.  The following are the most comprehensive metasites:

Ask Noah - Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Continuum Center for Health and Healing - click on the pull down listing of therapies

Infoholix - global directory of information

Savvy Patients - Integrative Medicine on the Internet

InteliHealth: Alternative Health WorldwideHealth - from Aetna

MedWeb - Emory University listing on Alternative Medicine

University of Pittsburgh - Alternative Medicine Guide

Yahoo - Alternative Medicine


      Ask Doctor Weil
      You can search for advice on specific health problems and therapies. The site provides listings of integrative medicine practitioners who have graduated from the University of Arizona's Program in Integrative Medicine, by geographical location and specialty.

      Popular advice site but with a heavy emphasis on product sales.

      HealthWorld Online
      Provides expert articles and summaries on a wide range of topics.

      Revolution Health - Natural Health & Alternative Medicine
      Health portal founded by Steve Case has a section on alternative medicine.


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NOTE:  The Alternative Medicine Foundation cannot provide referrals.

For a listing of organizations that do provide practitioner listings, see Choosing an Alternative or Complementary Medicine Practitioner, and click on Practitioner Listings.

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 The following organizations provide customized literature searches for a fee.

      American Holistic Health Association (AHHA)- Health Information Search Services
      This web page lists details and costs for several organizations which offer fee-based searches or packets on health issues.

      Herb Research Foundation
      4141 15th St.
      Boulder, CO 80304
      Tel: (303) 449-2265
      VM: (800) 748-2617
      Fax: (303) 449-7849
      Email: Click on Contact Us for email form on web site
      Provides searches on specific herbal treatments and dietary supplements. Herb information packets are customized to your specific needs.

      World Research Foundation
      41 Bell Rock Plaza
      Sedona, AZ 86351
      Tel: (928) 284-3300
      Fax: (928) 284-3530
      Provides information packets on many health topics, as well as books and videos. These can be ordered for a varied donation, based on size and scope of packet.

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Last Updated: May 6, 2010
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© Copyright © 1998-2010 Alternative Medicine Foundation Inc., Potomac, Maryland.
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