Compare and Contrast the Complementary Modality with Traditional Interventions

Compare and Contrast the Complementary Modality with Traditional Interventions


In the recent past, developments made in the medical field have called for the use of complementary and alternative (CAM) care as opposed to traditional interventions. Traditional interventions are centered around the theories and beliefs of different indigenous cultures. Traditional interventions are used to maintain health, prevent diseases, treat illness, and improve health. On the other hand, complementary alternative medicine is the use of a wide range of health care practices that are used sometimes together with traditional medicine. Traditional medicine and practices used in CAM are not part of the culture of the user country. CAM is borrowed from traditional Chinese interventions, thus the two methods have several similarities.

Compare and Contrast the Complimentary Modality with Traditional Interventions

In the field of medicine, a modality is a physical agent used for therapeutic purposes. Mind-body treatment has been at the heart of traditional interventions going back to 3000 years (Lia, 2013). However, in the western world, the technique came to being in the late 20th century. Patients were tired of the side effects of conventional medicine thus turned to the ancient interventions. In CAM, mind-body intervention uses a wide array of behavioral and lifestyle interventions coupled with traditional medical interventions. Similar to its application in traditional intervention, the patient is understood as a totality of mind, body, and spirit (Pinzón-Pérez & Pérez, 2016). Treatment is, therefore, directed according to these aspects of the patient. Health awareness has increased among people in the recent decades and people want to incorporate the best health practices to improve the quality of their lives. Many people have, therefore, embraced traditional interventions as modern medicine is seen to have adverse effects in the long run. For example, when treating manic-depression, modern methods focus on giving medicine such as lithium to the patient. This can, however, dampen the creativity of the patient. The mind-body intervention as used in CAM creates a partnership among different specialists such as psychologists, mental specialists, yoga teachers, nutritionists, chiropractors, nurses and other specialists (Pinzón-Pérez & Pérez, 2016). This way the mental health of a patient is not observed as an isolated situation but as situation affecting both body and mind.

Similar to CAM, traditional interventions are holistic. However, unlike CAM, traditional methods are natural and involve stimulating the healing mechanism of the body. Traditional interventions take into account all aspects of the patient’s life instead of just treating the symptoms of one ailment. Traditional interventions practitioners view the body as the network of complex interconnected parts rather than as separate organs part of a bigger concept referred to as Qi. Qi is supposedly healed by acupuncture a method used both in traditional and modern interventions (Wainapel and Fast, 2013).. According to traditional interventions, Qi is translated to ‘circulating life force’ which in the western world can be translated as energy (Lia, 2013). The Qi philosophy encourages enough sleep, a nourishing diet, and reduced toxin intake. The traditional practitioners believe that stress is the make the body weak and vulnerable to diseases.  Traditional interventions aim to correct imbalances in the body. This is contrary to CAM modalities that focus an already existing ailment using the traditional intervention methods.

CAM methods involve the use of traditional interventions in modern medicine as a way to complement modern medicine. One of the famous models used in CAM is the acute care model and it has produced tremendous results. The model is mechanistic in nature and is based on the dichotomy of mind and body (Pinzón-Pérez & Pérez, 2016). The model follows symptom-oriented interviews, advanced imaging studies, and extensive lab tests during treatment of a patient. In the CAM modality, treatment models rely on more pharmacology and less on surgical intervention. Physicians using the acute care model acknowledge the importance of diet, exercise while treating a patient but these aspects of the patient’s ailment are only used when conventional therapy fails. Psychological wellness comes second while treating a patient and psychologists are treated as secondary caregivers (Pinzón-Pérez & Pérez, 2016). This is different from traditional mind-body interventions that treat psychological wellness equally or more equal to physical wellness. In traditional interventions herbs are used as methods of healing while CAM highly depends on pharmacology.

The main aim of traditional interventions is to correct imbalances in the body since the method assumes most ailments originate from an imbalance (Lia, 2013). External factors include working environment, neighborhood, financial status, work-related issues among other external factors that might be causing an imbalance in the body. The mind-body intervention in the traditional context aims at helping the patient relate to his/her internal emotions (Doleys, Meredith and Ciminero, 2012). Traditional interventions encourage activities such as reflection, meditation, and Yoga. Traditional interventions also seek to improve an individual’s lifestyle including diet and exercise.

The mind-body traditional intervention seeks to maintain body balance by focusing on the body organ such as the kidneys, liver, lung, and heart. Chronic ailments treated using traditional interventions include chronic pain, infertility, arthritis, liver disease, fatigue, indigestion, high blood pressure, headaches, and cancer recovery. Traditional interventions used include herbal medicine, nutrition, cupping therapy, exercise, moxibustion, and massage. Traditional interventions do not rely on the use of one method of treatment and this is similar to the CAM method. However, unlike the CAM method, traditional interventions rely on other traditional methods. For example, when treating skin break out in a patient; traditional interventions rely on herbal medicine, nutrition, and exercise.

Similar to the traditional interventions, patients in the CAM treatment plan are involved actively at the beginning of their treatment. Psychosocial and behavioral interventions are prioritized during interventions. Actively engaging the patient from the beginning ensures the patient takes more responsibility in their lifestyle and psychosocial aspects of their life. The caregiver or physician makes it known to the patient that the doctor is not solely responsible for their well-being. The patient is encouraged to take care of their lifestyle to prevent further damage to their health or to boost their health. In the traditional intervention context, taking care is part of the intervention and not a complimentary part of the process. Though behavioral interventions are prioritized to some extent in CAM, they are part of the intervention and not the only intervention.

Traditional interventions are a way to unlock the potential and sometimes restore it and help the body develop its own strength and immunity. CAM interventions, on the other hand, restore the body’s potential but in support of modern medicine. Both CAM and traditional interventions focus on treating each individual health problem but traditional interventions are more based on this idea that CAM. This is because CAM uses similar therapeutic methods such as chemotherapy when treating cancer patients. CAM modalities do not depend entirely on the body’s ability to heal itself. However, traditional interventions believe that individuals are born with a natural self-healing ability and that the body has a regenerative capacity.

Benefits and Risks of both Traditional and Complementary Interventions

The benefits of traditional interventions include lower inflammation which offers increased protection from cancer, reduced chronic headaches and other chronic pains, improved fertility and balanced hormones, protection to cognitive health, improvement in individuals’ liver health, lower body stress and preserve of muscle flexibility, balance, and strength (Lia, 2013). Complementary interventions, on the other hand, provide a holistic approach by which diseases can be treated (Doleys, Meredith and Ciminero, 2012). Complimentary interventions do not focus solely on treating the symptoms but focuses on symptom-oriented interviews, advanced imaging studies, and extensive lab tests. All these aim to provide a bigger picture of the causes of the ailment and how the ailment can be treated. Traditional interventions can lead to fatalities and other risks because they solely depend on traditional methods that are not scientifically tested. Complementary interventions, on the other hand, have side effects arising from the uses of pharmacology.

How Traditional and Complementary Interventions can be Combined

Traditional and complementary options can be combined during the treatment of a patient. Patients should be made aware of both traditional and complementary interventions at the beginning of their treatment. Where complementary interventions fail, traditional interventions can be used and vice versa. Both interventions are important but should be used to complement the disadvantages of each.

Experience of the Modality

I interviewed a practitioner dealing with aromatherapy. I needed a solution to an acne problem that developed in my adolescence. The practitioner recommended natural oils which I used extensively to apply on the affected areas of my skin. Apart from healing the skin, the natural ointments penetrate the skin and go into the blood stream. The fragrance from the ointment also served to stimulate the brain.



Wainapel, S. F., & Fast, A. (2013). Alternative medicine and rehabilitation. New York: Demos.

Liao, Y. (2013). Traditional Chinese medicine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Pinzón-Pérez, H., & Pérez, M. A. (2016). Complementary, alternative, and integrative health: A multicultural perspective. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Son Publishers.

Doleys, D. M., Meredith, R. L., & Ciminero, A. R. (2012). Behavioral Medicine: Assessment       and Treatment Strategies. Boston, MA: Springer US.