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Challenges in Research Complimentary Therapies

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Challenges in Research Complimentary Therapies
The past decade has seen increased research and application of complementary and alternative medicine. This has been boosted by the involvement of recognized unions like the WHO and White House commission of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in strengthening research and incorporation of successful therapies in healthcare facilities (Bowling, 2014; South-Paul et al., 2015). However, there are immense challenges faced in complimentary research as compared to conventional research practices in medicine. This paper will review a post of medical research articles on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and indicate some challenges that need to be addressed to strengthen it.
Clarise indicates the need for intensive research in Complementary and alternative modalities to provide enormous databases that can contribute to critical thinking and application of evidence-based clinical practice. She mentions the difficulty in getting appropriate methodologies as well as the change of people’s perspective that CAM as mythical. Another challenge lies in the definition and measurement of practices as well as determining productive environments for conducting CAM research, as documented by Micozzi and colleagues (2019).
In the post, Clarise mentions two research articles and the methodologies applied. In one report, comparative analysis of conventional medicine and the use of acupuncture in the management of low back pain showed that acupuncture is superior when used for three months. The onset of activity was considered fast and duration of efficacy long. As much as the results were good, the study was biased concerning the number of participants, lack of consistent techniques, the frequency of application of treatments as well as the overall time of the study (Bowling, 2014). This is an indication that there is a need to consider all scientific research aspects to get reliable data. There is a need for the development of regulatory policies in how CAM research should be conducted to improve its quality.
The second study shows how the combination of two alternative therapies can promote qualitative care. The results indicate that the combined use of acupuncture and Palmjihwang-hwan, an herbal medication, showed a significant reduction of low back pain as compared to the sole utilization of acupuncture. The study had an acceptable size of participants and was randomized. However, the study was based on unproven data of the herbal medication. There were no efficacy and toxicity studies that prompted the need for conducting clinical trials. As such, there is an issue of unethical practices and a lack of regulation in complementary research (Chatfield, 2018). However, proof indicates the need to increase funding of complementary research and the need for elimination of misconception about the use of CAM therapies.

Challenges in Research Complimentary Therapies

Bowling, A. (2014). Research Methods In Health: Investigating Health And Health Services. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.
Chatfield, K. (2018). Traditional and complementary medicines: Are they ethical for humans, animals and the environment?.
Micozzi, M. S., Koop, C. E., & Lundberg, G. D. (2019). Fundamentals of complementary and alternative medicine.
n South-Paul, J. E., In Matheny, S. C., & In Lewis, E. L. (2015). Current diagnosis & treatment: Family medicine.

Review the post by Clarisse. Comment on the post. Your reply posts should integrate course readings and/or other scholarly work. All references should be in APA format.

It is important for complementary alternative modalities to continue to develop through evidence-based practice. Complementary alternative modalities are any treatment or technique that is supposed to help with health but is not part of “mainstream” medicine (Crowley & Martin, 2020). Despite the studies that have shown CAM as being useful with patients, it is still seen as mythical to some. Some of the research challenges that come with researching holistic nursing would be the difficulty in defining and measuring practices. Researchers are also usually challenged in defining what a holistic environment entails and the effectiveness of this environment.

Acupuncture was originated in China approximately 2000 years ago. It is seen as one of the oldest medical procedures still being done to this day. The first article chosen is to find out if acupuncture is helpful for low back pain. Acupuncture was compared to other treatments such as medications, sham acupuncture, no treatment, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Acupuncture was shown to be superior to all other studies lasting 3 months compared to other methods, which lasted less than 3 months. Acupuncture showed to reduce intensity of pain and increase in function almost immediately. The limitations to this study would be the number of participants was small, the different use of techniques, the number of treatments, and the duration of treatments. Also another issue that arises is the pain tolerance those who participated in the study differ from one another. Some people have more tolerance to pain than others.

The second study chosen speaks about the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine to treat low back pain. An herbal medication called Palmijihwang-hwan is used frequently in clinical practice but has had no reports of the efficacy, cost-effectiveness or safety that it has presented. The study uses a randomized study of 84 participants with a control group and a treatment group. The controlled group gets acupuncture treatment for 20 minutes twice a week for 6 weeks while the treatment groups receives the same acupuncture treatment but with the herbal medication as well. The outcomes show that the herbal medication is helpful to treat those who have low back pain. Uses of herbal medications can be useful to treat patients but are deemed as unsafe. There needs to be more research done so that we are able to use CAM as treatment for our patients.
Challenges in Research Complimentary Therapies


Clemente Fuentes, R., Organ, B., Creech, J., Broszko, C., & Nashelsky, J., (2020). Acupuncture for Low Back Pain. Canadian Family Physician, 66(3), 186-187. Retrieved on May 20, 2020 from
Crowley, K., & Martin, K., (2020). Patient Education: Complementary and Alternative Medicine (The Basics). Retrieved on May 20, 2020 from
Dossey, B. M., & Keegan, L. (2015). Holistic nursing. A handbook for practice (7th ed.) Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Sung, , W. S., Jeon, S. R., Hong, Y. J., Kim, T. H., Shin, S., Lee, H. J., Seo, B. K., Park, Y. C., Kim, E. J., & Nam, D. W., (2019). Efficacy, Safety, and Cost-effectiveness Analysis of Adjuvant Herbal Medicine Treatments, Palmijihwang-Hwan, for Chronic Low Back Pain: AStudy Protocol Randomized, Controlled, Assessor-Blinded, Multicenter Clinical Trial. Trials, 20 (1), 1-11. Retrieved on May 20, 2020 from
Challenges in Research Complimentary Therapies