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Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Home

An overview of complementary and integrative medicine including history, branches of practice, professionals, and research methods.

Websites for Further Exporation



This guide is designed to provide an overview of complementary and alternative medicine. It provides information and guidance on:

A monk practicing meditation

Public Domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons

What is Complementary Medicine? 


Simply put, complementary medicine and therapies are health care approaches developed outside of mainstream Western, or conventional, medicine. 


There are three terms that are often used interchangeably but that should be identified separately: complementary, alternative, and integrative. 

  • Alternative: a non-mainstream practice that is used in place of conventional medicine
  • Complementary: a non-mainstream practice that is used together with conventional medicine
  • Integrative: bringing conventional and complementary approaches together in a coordinated way

Today, the use of alternative medicine is uncommon. Most people use these approaches in tandem with conventional treatments. 

Note: Some links and resources featured in this guide are only available to current Duquesne University students, faculty, and staff. You may be prompted to enter your MultiPass credentials to access materials off-campus.