Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is any practice that has the healing effects of medicine but is not based on Western medical scientific philosophies.
It’s been around for thousands of years, especially in Asian countries (such as Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM and Ayurveda) and is now becoming more popular in other countries too.
People are increasingly turning to Complementary and alternative medicine because it’s thought to be much less invasive than Western medicine.
Is complementary and alternative medicine safe for children?
CAM is popularly used by adults. But some experts argue that it is not entirely appropriate for children, mainly because there is no scientific research that supports how it is beneficial in paediatrics.
Still, you are your child’s parent, it really is up to you to decide if CAM is best for your child. If you do here are some tips on how you can find an appropriate CAM practitioner in Singapore for your child.
Complementary and alternative medicine in Singapore
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Singapore has plenty of CAM practitioners, the most popular without a doubt being Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners.
While it is simple to find any TCM practitioner just by asking your neighbour, mother or grandmother, it is probably a better idea to first check if the TCM practitioner of your choice is registered with the Ministry of Health (MOH). Ideally, they should be registered. It is also a good idea to check if the practitioner you choose treats children and babies.
Where can I find more details about TCM practitioners?
For more information, go to www.tcmpb.gov.sg where you can search for a registered and qualified TCM practitioner of your choice.
What about if I need to find a chiropractor in Singapore?
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Our story on the chiropractor in Australia who allegedly injured a baby’s neck may have had you worried. But if you go to a professionally trained chiropractor, you shouldn’t have cause to worry. In Singapore, chiropractors are not registered with the MOH. But The Chiropractic Association (Singapore), or TCA(S) tries to maintain the highest standards possible for the profession in Singapore.
Accordingly, TCA(S) has worked with experts of self-regulation for chiropractors in Singapore. They have developed a Self-Regulation document that sets down a code of ethics and guidelines in line with international standards. So if you need to find a chiropractor, go to http://chiropractic.org.sg/ where you can search for one who suits your needs.
Where do I find information on other CAM practitioners?
The best place to get this information from is the MOH. Visit their website (https://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home.html) and speak to someone there about how best to find a suitable CAM practitioner for your needs. Or speak to your regular doctor.
If you are interested in CAM therapies for your child, you could also mention this to your paediatrician, who could then guide you in the right direction.
Here are 7 tips on how to prepare for a visit to a CAM practitioner
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- Research, research, research! Before you go, do your homework. Find out what exactly the area of CAM you are thinking of using for your child involves. What are the methods it uses? If you are overwhelmed with the amount of information on the internet, contact your regular doctor and ask if they can direct you to a valid source, or recommend someone.
- If your chosen CAM practitioner has a website, visit it. See if there are testimonials. What are your practitioner’s credentials? Has he/she treated children in the past?
- Once you are at the practice, ask the CAM practitioner exactly what he or she is going to do to your child. If herbs will be used, find out what they are and what their properties are.
- It is very important to tell the practitioner if your child is already on any kind of Western medication. This is because some herbs used in areas like Ayurveda or TCM can react negatively with certain pharmaceutical drugs.
- Let the practitioner know if your child has any other medical conditions,
- Find out if your practitioner is willing to work with your child’s paediatrician if needed. Coordinated care is safe care.
- Tell your child’s paediatrician about all CAM approaches you are using, and about all practitioners who are treating your child.
If you decide to use CAM for your child(ren) at some point, we hope this article has helped you understand what you need to be asking from and finding out about your CAM practitioner.
CAM can be the right choice for your child – just remember to do your homework as you would do before choosing any treatment or medical practitioner for your child. If you have already tried some form of CAM for your child, please do share your experience with us – we would love to hear from you!