complementary and alternative medicine (KOM-pleh-MEN-tuh-ree... all-TER-nuh-tiv MEH-dih-sin)
A term used to describe a medical product or practice that is used together with (complementary) or instead of (alternative) standard medical care. Usually, less is known about most types of complementary and alternative medicine than about standard treatments, which go through a long and careful research process to prove they are safe and effective. Complementary and alternative medicine may include dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, special teas, acupuncture, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation. Also called CAM.