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Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and alternative medicine are nonconventional approaches to healthcare. Complimentary medicine uses nonmainstream practice together with conventional treatment. Conversely, alternative medicine uses nonmainstream practice as opposed to conventional treatment. Some examples of complementary and alternative medicine include using remedies such as acupuncture, natural products, massage, and body and mind-body (Kebede et al., 2021).

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One complementary and alternative medicine is acupuncture. Acupuncture is the earliest Chinese practice of balancing the energy of life, chi. It is believed that chi is a flow of energy that courses along paths called meridians within the human body (Kisling & Stiegmann, 2020). In acupuncture, small needles are trans-dermally placed along the meridians to redirect chi. The needles are then manipulated either clockwise or anticlockwise to further stimulate the chi, depending on the goal of the treatment. In a new form of acupuncture called electroacupuncture, the needles are connected to electric stimulators that provide continuous or intermittent electric stimulation. This form of therapy is used in the treatment of symptoms such as pain, depression, allergic rhinitis, gastrointestinal issues, and specific goal-oriented approaches like fertility treatment (Kisling & Stiegmann, 2020).

Apart from patient assessment, treatment, and general care of patients, nurses have a role in complementary and alternative medicine. The nurse practitioner assesses the condition of the patient, deliberates their medical history, and collaborates with them to decide whether acupuncture is the most appropriate additional plan of treatment (Liu et al., 2023). Furthermore, the nurses can educate patients about the benefits of acupuncture in addressing certain symptoms or conditions. Also, the nurse should ensure patients receive acupuncture services from licensed and qualified practitioners to minimize risks. Additionally, Liu et al. (2023) note that nurses should know the current acupuncture practices, safety, and guidelines that they will use to protect and inform users.


Kebede, E. B., Tan, J., Iftikhar, S., Abu Lebdeh, H. S., Duggirala, M. K., Ghosh, A. K., Croghan, I. T., Jenkins, S. M., Mahapatra, S., Bauer, B. A., & Wahner-Roedler, D. L. (2021). Complementary and alternative medicine use by patients from the Gulf Region is seen in the international practice of a tertiary care medical center. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 10, 21649561211010129.

Kisling, L. A., & Stiegmann, R. A. (2020). Alternative medicine. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing.

Liu, F., Zhan, T., Xu, Y., Lu, X., Zhou, Y., Huang, X., Zhuo, Y., & Yang, Z. (2023). Practitioners’ perspectives on acupuncture treatment for postpartum depression: A qualitative study. PLOS ONE, 18(3), e0282661.


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Discussion Prompt

Define complementary and alternative medicine. Choose one example of complementary and alternative medicine. Describe the nurse practitioner’s role in utilizing your chosen complementary and alternative medicine. Support your answer with evidence-based research.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and Alternative Medicine


Initial Post:

Length: A minimum of 250 words, not including references
Citations: At least one high-level scholarly reference in APA from within the last 5 years

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