1. Articles from nccam.nih.gov

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    1. Massage Therapy Holds Promise for Low-Back Pain

      Massage Therapy Holds Promise for Low-Back Pain
      Massage therapy helped reduce pain and improve function more rapidly than usual medical care in people with chronic low-back pain, according to researchers at Group Health Research Institute and the University of Washington in Seattle, the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and the University of Vermont in Burlington. The purpose of the NCCAM-funded trial—published in the Annals of Internal Medicine—was to compare the short-term and long-term effects of structural massage, relaxation massage, and usual care for people with chronic low-back pain. Back pain is an important health problem that affects millions of Americans and is the most common medical condition for which people use complementary and alternative medicine practices, such as massage therapy.
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    2. NCCAM Clinical Digest: Irritable Bowel Syndrome and CAM

      NCCAM Clinical Digest: Irritable Bowel Syndrome and CAM
      Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder that interferes with the normal functions of the colon. IBS is characterized by symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. IBS is challenging to study because its symptoms vary and may disappear for long periods, and because people with IBS tend to respond well to placebos. This issue summarizes research on some of the most popular complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies people try to treat symptoms of IBS. Overall, although there is some emerging evidence suggesting that some CAM therapies may be helpful for IBS, there have been few large well-designed studies, and most of the studies have had methodological flaws. Systematic reviews generally conclude that more well-designed studies are needed to firmly establish whether CAM therapies are helpful treatments for IBS.
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    3. NIH Launches Web Resource on Complementary and Alternative Medicine

      Do Americans aged 50 and older discuss the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with their health care providers? What do they talk about&or why don't they? To help answer these questions, in October 2010 AARP and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health partnered on a telephone survey. The survey builds on a similar study conducted in 2006.
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    4. Mindfulness Meditation Is Associated With Structural Changes in the Brain

      Mindfulness Meditation Is Associated With Structural Changes in the Brain
      According to a recent study, practicing mindfulness meditation appears to be associated with measurable changes in the brain regions involved in memory, learning, and emotion. Mindfulness meditation focuses attention on breathing to develop increased awareness of the present. Previous research has demonstrated that mindfulness mediation may reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, but little is known about its effects on the brain. The focus of the current study—published in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging—was to identify brain regions that changed in participants enrolled in an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program.
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    5. Study Shows Cranberry Juice Cocktail Is No Better Than Placebo at Preventing Recurrent UTIs

      Study Shows Cranberry Juice Cocktail Is No Better Than Placebo at Preventing Recurrent UTIs
      Drinking cranberry juice is no better than placebo for preventing the recurrence of urinary tract infections (UTIs), according to researchers at the University of Michigan. The study, supported by NCCAM and published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, was conducted among college-aged women, since they have the highest incidence of UTIs annually.
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    6. In the News: Echinacea for the Common Cold

      In the News: Echinacea for the Common Cold
      Echinacea is an herb that has traditionally been used to treat or prevent colds, flu, and other infections. According to the 2007 NHIS, echinacea was the most commonly used natural nonvitamin/nonmineral supplement among children, and the third most commonly used supplement among adults. These products vary widely, using different echinacea species, plant parts, and preparations. The many clinical trials of echinacea for colds have also varied widely, in terms of products studied, research methodology, and study results. Recently, an NCCAM-funded study in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that echinacea had no effect on reducing the severity or length of the common cold. People who are using or are considering using dietary supplements, including echinacea, should discuss this decision with their health care provider.
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    7. Rheumatoid Arthritis and CAM

      Rheumatoid Arthritis and CAM
      Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a health condition that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. Conventional medical treatments are available for RA; however, some people also try complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. This fact sheet provides basic information on RA, summarizes scientific research on the effectiveness and safety of selected mind-body therapies, dietary supplements, and other CAM therapies that have been studied for RA, and suggests sources for additional information.
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    8. In the News: Red Yeast Rice

      Red yeast rice is made by fermenting a type of yeast (Monascus purpureus) over rice. In dietary supplement form, red yeast rice is typically used to control cholesterol. According to the 2007 NHIS Survey, cholesterol is one of the top 10 conditions prompting complementary and alternative medicine use among adults. Recently, a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that the amounts of active ingredients contained in different formulations of red yeast rice appear to be inconsistent. Also, of the 12 products studied, one in three had detectable levels of a potentially toxic compound. People who are using or are considering using dietary supplements, including red yeast rice, should discuss this decision with their health care provider.
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    9. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and CAM: At a Glance

      Irritable Bowel Syndrome and CAM: At a Glance
      As many as one in five Americans have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Many people with IBS turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to help relieve their symptoms. This fact sheet provides basic information on IBS and "what the science says" about CAM practices that many people with IBS use. If you are considering a CAM therapy for IBS, this information can help you talk to your health care provider about it.
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    10. Study Examines the Effects of Swedish Massage Therapy on Hormones, Immune Function

      Study Examines the Effects of Swedish Massage Therapy on Hormones, Immune Function
      Massage is used for many health purposes, but little is known about how it works on a biological level. A recent study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine examined the effects of one session of Swedish massage therapy—a form of massage using long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping—on the body's hormonal response and immune function.
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    11. Chronic Pain and CAM: At a Glance

      Chronic Pain and CAM: At a Glance
      Pain is the most common reason for seeking medical care. Because chronic (long-term) pain can be resistant to many medical treatments and can cause serious problems, people who suffer from chronic pain often turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for relief. This fact sheet provides basic information on chronic pain and "what the science says" about the effectiveness of CAM therapies that many people with chronic pain use. If you are considering a CAM therapy for chronic pain, this information can help you talk with your health care provider about it. Millions of Americans suffer from pain that is chronic, severe, and not easily managed. Although the human costs of chronic pain are beyond measure, its annual economic cost—including health care expenses, lost income, and lost productivity—is estimated to be $100 billion. Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute ...
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      Mentions: CAM
    12. Omega-3 Supplements: An Introduction

      Omega-3 Supplements: An Introduction
      Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids that are important for a number of functions in the body. They are found in foods such as fatty fish and vegetable oils and are also available as dietary supplements. People take omega-3 supplements to improve their health and prevent various diseases. This fact sheet provides a general overview of omega-3 fatty acids—with a focus on dietary supplements—and suggests sources for additional information. Key PointsOmega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats found in foods and are also available as dietary supplements. Omega-3s are the natural product (defined as nonvitamin/nonmineral supplements) most commonly used by adults in the United States.Omega-3 fatty acids are being studied for a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Studies show that fish oil supplements are effective in reducing several cardiovascular disease risk factors and may help with some aspects of rheumatoid arthritis. Evidence ...
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    13. Massage Therapy: An Introduction

      Massage Therapy: An Introduction
      Massage therapy has a long history in cultures around the world. Today, people use many different types of massage therapy for a variety of health-related purposes. In the United States, massage therapy is often considered part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), although it does have some conventional uses. This fact sheet provides a general overview of massage therapy and suggests sources for additional information. Key PointsScientific evidence on massage therapy is limited. Scientists are not yet certain what changes occur in the body during massage, whether they influence health, and, if so, how. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is sponsoring studies to answer these questions and identify the purposes for which massage may be most helpful.Massage therapy appears to have few serious risks if it is used appropriately and provided by a trained massage professional.Tell your health care providers about any complementary and ...
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    14. Hoodia

      Hoodia
      This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb hoodia—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Hoodia is a flowering, cactus-like plant native to the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. Its harvest is protected by conservation laws. How Hoodia Is UsedDried extracts of hoodia stems and roots are used to make capsules, powders, and chewable tablets. Hoodia can also be used in liquid extracts and teas.Hoodia products often contain other herbs or minerals, such as green tea or chromium picolinate.
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      Mentions: Nccam
    15. Hawthorn

      Hawthorn
      This fact sheet provides basic information about hawthorn—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Hawthorn is a spiny, flowering shrub or small tree of the rose family. The species of hawthorn discussed here are native to northern European regions and grow throughout the world. What Hawthorn Is Used ForHawthorn fruit has been used for heart disease since the first century. It has also been used for digestive and kidney problems.More recently, hawthorn leaf and flower have been used for heart failure, a weakness of the heart muscle that prevents the heart from pumping enough blood to the rest of the body, which can lead to fatigue and limit physical activities.Hawthorn is also used for other heart conditions, including symptoms of coronary artery disease (such as angina).
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      Mentions: Nccam
    16. Tai Chi May Benefit Patients With Fibromyalgia

      Tai Chi May Benefit Patients With Fibromyalgia
      People with fibromyalgia may benefit from practicing tai chi, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by muscle pain, fatigue, and other symptoms. People with fibromyalgia have chronic widespread pain, as well as "tender points" on areas of the body, which hurt when slight pressure is applied. Although exercise appears to be an important part of fibromyalgia treatment, many people with fibromyalgia need medication to control symptoms and are unable to maintain muscle strength, flexibility, and overall fitness.
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      Mentions: Fibromyalgia
    17. Green Tea

      Green Tea
      This fact sheet provides basic information about green tea—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. All types of tea (green, black, and oolong) are produced from the Camellia sinensis plant using different methods. Fresh leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant are steamed to produce green tea. What Green Tea Is Used ForGreen tea and green tea extracts, such as its component EGCG, have been used to prevent and treat a variety of cancers, including breast, stomach, and skin cancers.Green tea and green tea extracts have also been used for improving mental alertness, aiding in weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels, and protecting skin from sun damage.
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      Mentions: Nccam
    18. Grape Seed Extract

      Grape Seed Extract
      This fact sheet provides basic information about grape seed extract—uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. The grape seeds used to produce grape seed extract are generally obtained from wine manufacturers. The leaves and fruit of the grape have been used medicinally since ancient Greece. What Grape Seed Extract Is Used ForGrape seed extract is used for conditions related to the heart and blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poor circulation.Other reasons for the use of grape seed extract include complications related to diabetes, such as nerve and eye damage; vision problems, such as macular degeneration (which can cause blindness); and swelling after an injury or surgery.Grape seed extract is also used for cancer prevention and wound healing.
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    19. Goldenseal

      Goldenseal
      This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb goldenseal—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Goldenseal is a plant that grows wild in parts of the United States but has become endangered by overharvesting. With natural supplies dwindling, goldenseal is now grown commercially across the United States, especially in the Blue Ridge Mountains. What Goldenseal Is Used ForHistorically, Native Americans have used goldenseal for various health conditions such as skin diseases, ulcers, and gonorrhea.Now, goldenseal is used for colds and other respiratory tract infections, infectious diarrhea, eye infections, and vaginitis (inflammation or infection of the vagina). It is occasionally used to treat cancer. It is also applied to wounds and canker sores, and is used as a mouthwash for sore gums, mouth, and throat.
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      Mentions: Nccam
    20. Ginkgo

      Ginkgo
      This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb ginkgo—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. The ginkgo tree is one of the oldest types of trees in the world. Ginkgo seeds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and cooked seeds are occasionally eaten. What Ginkgo Biloba Is Used ForGinkgo leaf extract has been used to treat a variety of ailments and conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, and tinnitus (ringing or roaring sounds in the ears).Today, people use ginkgo leaf extracts hoping to improve memory; to treat or help prevent Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia; to decrease intermittent claudication (leg pain caused by narrowing arteries); and to treat sexual dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, tinnitus, and other health conditions.
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    21. Ginger

      Ginger
      This fact sheet provides basic information about the herb ginger—uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Ginger is a tropical plant that has green-purple flowers and an aromatic underground stem (called a rhizome). It is commonly used for cooking and medicinal purposes. What Ginger Is Used ForGinger is used in Asian medicine to treat stomach aches, nausea, and diarrhea.Many digestive, antinausea, and cold and flu dietary supplements sold in the United States contain ginger extract as an ingredient.Ginger is used to alleviate postsurgery nausea as well as nausea caused by motion, chemotherapy, and pregnancy.Ginger has been used for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and joint and muscle pain.
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      Mentions: Asian Nccam Cama
    1-24 of 93 1 2 3 4 »
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