CAM Use and Children
A wide range of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)
therapies are used in children, including herbs and dietary supplements, massage, pressing, rubbing, and moving muscles and other soft
tissues of the body, primarily by using the hands and fingers. The aim is to increase the flow of blood and
oxygen to the massaged area., acupuncture, a family of procedures that originated in traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is the
stimulation of specific points on the body by a variety of techniques, including the insertion of thin metal
needles though the skin. It is intended to remove blockages in the flow of qi and restore and maintain health.,
chiropractic care, naturopathy, a whole medical system that originated in
Europe. Naturopathy aims to support the body's ability to heal itself through the use of dietary and lifestyle
changes together with CAM therapies such as herbs, massage, and joint manipulation., and homeopathy, a whole medical system that originated in Europe.
Homeopathy seeks to stimulate the body's ability to heal itself by giving very small doses of highly diluted
substances that in larger doses would produce illness or symptoms (an approach called "like cures like").. This
fact sheet from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) offers information for
parents who are thinking about using a CAM therapy for their child.
- CAM is used by American children, including
- Children are not small adults. Their bodies can react
differently from adults' bodies to medical therapies, including CAM.
- In general, CAM therapies have not been well studied in
- Tell your child's health care providers about any CAM therapy
you are considering or using for your child. This helps to ensure coordinated and safe care.
Patterns of CAM Use in
The 2007 National Health Interview Survey
gathered information on CAM use among more than 9,000 children aged 17 and under. Nearly 12 percent of the children
had used some form of CAM during the past 12 months. CAM use was much more likely among children whose parents also
used CAM. Adolescents aged 12–17, children with multiple health conditions, and those whose families delayed or did
not use conventional medical care because of cost were also more likely to use CAM. The accompanying figures show
survey findings on CAM use by children, including top therapies and
In addition, a 2001 survey of 745 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics found
that 87 percent of pediatricians had been asked about CAM therapies by a patient or a parent in the 3 months prior
to the survey. The pediatricians were asked most often about herbs and dietary supplements.