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“ Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) is about far more than attacking a single disease or condition”

In the past two decades, more Americans have begun to use complementary medical therapies than ever before. For some, this may simply mean taking regular vitamin supplements or echinacea when coming down with a cold; for others, it may involve more structured activities or techniques, such as meditation, exercise, dietary regimens, or T'ai Chi.

Complementary medicine is defined by this remarkable diversity. In its most general sense, the term includes any healing practice that supplements but lies outside conventional medical treatments – a definition which suggests that calling a therapy "complementary" usually depends on ones point of view. In fact, treatments classified as complementary in this country have often been used for centuries as primary therapies in others.

However, when these therapies are combined with the breakthrough treatments of conventional academic medicine, the result represents a powerful new approach to preventing and treating chronic disease, termed Complementary and Integrative Medicine. As practiced at Weill Cornell's Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, integrative medicine moves beyond any single approach to preventing and treating disease, bringing together the best of both medical worlds. From breathing techniques, herbal remedies, and guided imagery to cutting-edge medical care, the Center combines effective complementary therapies with the highest quality academic medicine to care for patients with a broad range of chronic diseases.

Yet at its best, CIM is about far more than attacking a single disease or condition. It is about treating the entire person, emphasizing healing in a way that acknowledges the complex nature of chronic illness. Complementary and integrative treatments foster both psychological and physical healing. And at Weill Cornell's Center, we strive to validate complementary therapies by the same standards of scientific evidence as academic medicine. Instead of operating outside the scientific community, CIM at Weill Cornell encourages scientists to explore mind-body strategies and natural treatments.

In the end, CIM blends the best of complementary and academic medicine. It is founded upon the belief that complementary techniques open some of the most exciting avenues for future research, and that their success as therapies must ultimately be validated by the same methods as conventional treatments. And it unites patient and doctor in the search for novel strategies to prevent and treat chronic disease and improve quality of life.

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