According to the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, there are 5 categories of complementary and alternative medicine, which are healing practices that do not fall into the category of conventional or mainstream medicine –
- Combination of theory and practice characterize the non western, alternative medical systems that could include Ayurveda, Chinese herbal medicine, homeopathy, Tibetan medicine, Native American healing practices, acupuncture, and naturopathy.
- Mind body interventions heal using a combination of conventional medicine and also behavioral, social, psychological and even religious methods. This field of alternative medicine includes meditation, yoga, laughter therapy, music therapy, hypnosis, dance therapy, biofeedback and guided imagery.
- Manipulative and body based techniques such as Rolfing, chiropractic therapy, massage, the Alexander technique, acupressure, the Trager Approach, therapeutic touch and so on seek to bring out healing using body manipulation.
- Herbal medicine, dietary supplements, orthomolecular medicines and multivitamins constitute biological based therapies that heal by using botanicals and animal derived extracts.
Reiki, magnet therapies, Oi gong, pulsed fields, and alternative current and so on are energy therapies that try to bring about healing by using, modifying and manipulating energy fields – both external and of the body.