Firstly, let me answer the question most everyone reading that title is probably asking: CAM stands for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and refers to any kind of medical treatment that you won't (or probably won't) find in an MD's clinic. This includes massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, guided imagery, reiki & energy healing, meditation, herbal medicine, and a whole gamut of other things. If it's not surgery, drugs, or physical therapy, it's probably considered CAM. And yes, it is usually a derogatory term when used by the medical establishment. But that's a discussion for another day.
A US Army-sponsored study by the Samueli Institute published at the end of January indicate that in 2012, nearly 45% of active-duty military personnel use CAM therapies to deal with stress and pain, as compared to only 36-38% of civilians from comparable studies. The CAM therapy most commonly used by the military respondents was massage therapy (14.1%).
No word on how many of the military personnel surveyed are combat veterans, but if it's good enough for their stress and pain, then it's probably good enough for the rest of us too.
Of note is the following quote by Lt Colonel (ret) Wayne Jonas, MD (president and CEO of the Samueli Institute):
Studies continue to find that conventional medicine alone is not considered sufficient by many to address both the visible and invisible wounds in our Warfighters... Increasingly, research shows that integrative medicine—a coordinated combination of conventional and alternative approaches—is working to enhance healing for these Service members. The general public and the military have already moved in that direction and it is time the medical profession begins to catch up.
The mission of the Samueli Institute is to produce scientifically meaningful research on healing, and to facilitate the adoption of wellness and healing modalities as part of the healthcare system.
Find Samueli's original article here.
Jesse Jones, LMT
Owner and therapist at Warrior Massage