Integrative medicine, as defined by the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (http://www.abpsus.org/aboim) and the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health (https://www.imconsortium.org/), is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient. It focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and it makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.
CAM systems are whole medical systems, complete systems of theory and practice that have evolved independently over time in different cultures and apart from conventional medicine or Western medicine. Some of these systems are practiced by individual cultures for millennia before the development of natural science-based, conventional medicine.
Examples of these CAM systems are found in Asia, where for example TCM exists for more than 4,000 years and where ayurveda is practiced for more than 3,000 years in India. Other CAM systems have developed next to conventional medicine within the western cultures. For example in Europe, homeopathy is practiced since the middle of the 18th century, and anthroposophic medicine (AM), and naturopathy since the early 20th century. CAM prevention and treatment strategies have been developed on the basis of their holistic worldviews and longstanding traditional use, long before the application of results of epidemiologic studies into (evidence-based) medicine.
The main CAM preventive strategies are lifestyle measures or interventions and medical measures or interventions. Their aim is to improve the physiological ability to self-manage and adapt to infections.
The main treatment (curative) strategies of CAM are the medicinal and non-pharmaceutical treatments that support the organism to overcome the infection by itself by means of strengthening the self-regulating abilities of the organism.