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) represent traditional approaches in the sense that they have been used in some cultures for thousands of years, much longer than most allo¬pathic approaches. For most people liv¬ing in Asia, for example, use of herbs for healing is literally traditional. Because of the cultural relativity and thus ambiguity of the term, many authors have suggested we avoid using the terms traditional and nontraditional altogether when discussing complementary approaches to health.
The terms medical and medicine also warrant revisiting in this context. Although some commonly refer to complementary or alternative medicine, the focus of many complementary approaches is on wellness, health, and prevention, in contrast to the common physically curative approaches of allopathic medicine. Of course, one might also consider whether the distinc¬tion of “Eastern” versus “Western” ap¬proaches is appropriate, given the degree of transnational and multicultural influ¬ence on formal and informal approaches to wellness today. Complementary and inte-grative approaches have taken on great import globally, as they reflect important philosophical viewpoints regarding well-ness and holistic health.
Attention to such distinctions in ter-minology is reflected in progressive name changes for what was founded as the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Alternative Medicine in 1991.
The NIH created that office in recogni¬tion of the need for an evidence base to support practices that were considered “nontraditional” in comparison to West¬ern medicine. The office was renamed the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 1998, and then given its current name, the National Cen¬ter for Complementary and Integrative Health, in late 2014 (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health).
Most complementary approaches to health in general may be categorized as mind-body practices or natural product use. Mind-body practices include mind¬fulness meditation or mindfulness-based stress reduction, hypnotherapy, guided imagery, biofeedback, massage, acupunc¬ture, herbal medicine, chiropractic, osteo¬pathic manipulation, prayer, yoga, reiki, qi gong, and tai chi.
Natural product use includes the use of herbs and nutritional supplements. Additional general complementary ap-proaches include traditional Chinese medi-cine, homeopathy, naturopathy, and tradi-tional healers (most of these having overlap in terms of how they are defined and meth-ods used). Of course, there are numerous variations and complexities within each of the categories of practice mentioned.
Some natural products have been said to help slow cognitive decline or pre¬vent dementia. However, the evidence base for this to date is not very strong. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has been reported in observa