Are you one of many Crohn's patients looking for ways other than drugs and surgery to treat your disease? If so, you are not alone. The use of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (CAM) therapies in preventing and treating disease is growing. Almost 40 percent of adults, particularly those over age 50, practice one or more forms of alternative medicine. 1

The medical community recognizes the value of CAM and acknowledges consumers' increasing interest in alternative treatment options. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is the Federal Government's lead agency for the scientific research of CAM practices, and has numerous disease-specific studies underway. This may be good news for Crohn's patients. In September 2008, for example, researchers at Montana State University were awarded a grant to study CAM methods as counter measures against infectious and inflammatory diseases.2

NCCAM is one of the 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes on Health.

Complimentary and Alternative Medicine describe a range of treatment options not generally considered part of conventional medicine. The primary emphasis of CAM is on disease prevention, while conventional medicine focuses on diagnosing and treating disease. CAM's approach is to treat the whole person, not just their symptoms. CAM is often used in conjunction with traditional medical therapies.

These are some of the more familiar therapies that fall under the CAM umbrella.

  • Acupuncture
  • Homeopathic medicine
  • Herbs
  • Chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation
  • Massage
  • Hypnosis
  • Meditation
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Biofeedback

CAM is used to ease the pain and symptoms of Crohn's disease. If you are not getting the results you want from your current treatment plan, you may want to consider CAM therapies. Seek care from trained professionals. Most of these therapies will not cause harm and can be safely used along with conventional treatments. However, some do have side effects and others may interfere with prescribed medications, so it's important to discuss all therapies with your physician.

A holistic approach to treating and managing Crohn's disease can include elements of both conventional and alternative medicine.




Last Updated: 2008-12-10 13:41:36 -0400 (Reuters Health)