C.A.I.M. and ABLE
C. = Complementary
A. = Alternative
I. = Integrative
M. = Medicine
The ABLE physician will integrate C.A.I.M. into his/her current practice. There are approximately 50 different fields that are currently listed under "Complementary and Alternative Medicine."
The mainstays of C.A.I.M. are:
- Psychological/Spiritual Enhancement - meditation, yoga, visualization, prayer, or other mental experience
- Physical Stimulation - movement therapy, chiropractic, massage, osteopathy, physical therapy, energy field, Qi Gong, acupuncture
- Nutritional Instruction
- Vitamins, Minerals, Homeopathic, Herbal, Food Supplements
ABLE physicians should take a questioning approach as they open themselves to self and formal education in complementary/alternative medicine.
- Read conventional and alternative medicine journals, some of the latter are readily available and even free at natural food stores.
- Listen with a positive, encouraging, and curious attitude to what your patients can tell you: Some of them are doing alternative things and with some success!
- Contact educated peers and your local (Connecticut) Holistic Health Association as a resource when you have questions.
- Spend time speaking with the people who work at natural food stores and ask them about what is popular and, in their best guess, what is most effective.
- Always intellectually challenge yourself as you go about this education. Have confidence and be willing to cautiously try what seems to be reasonable and safe. You will naturally come to a state of creativity where you begin to use fact plus your own "best guess" as you commonly do in your current practice. Only 50% of what physicians now do is supported by evidenced based medicine.
- Try to answer patients' questions in a fair fashion about the risks and benefits of either the conventional and/or the alternative approaches.
As we enter a new age of medical enlightenment, the Preventive Medicine Center is available to ABLE physicians who are interested in learning about the integration of C.A.I.M. with conventional practice in order to enhance the strengths of both and to avoid the problems of either.
A November 1998 survey in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 42% of Americans have used some form of Alternative Therapy, however very few are discussing these choices with their physicians.
H. Robert Silverstein, MD