Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) refers to a range of therapies, treatments, and practices that are not considered part of conventional Western medicine. These practices aim to promote wellness, prevent illness, and treat various health conditions. In Panama, CAM has become increasingly popular in recent years, and many people are turning to these therapies as an alternative or complement to conventional medicine.
CAM Practices in Panama
Panama has a diverse range of CAM practices available, including:
Traditional Indigenous Medicine
Traditional Indigenous Medicine (TIM) is an ancient system of medicine that originated in the indigenous communities of Panama. It involves the use of natural remedies, such as herbs, roots, and bark, to treat various health conditions. TIM practitioners also use massage, cupping, and other techniques to promote wellness and prevent illness.
In Panama, TIM is widely practiced in indigenous communities, and many practitioners offer their services in traditional markets and fairs. However, there is currently no formal regulatory body for TIM in Panama.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to promote the flow of energy (known as “qi”) throughout the body and can help treat a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, and digestive disorders.
In Panama, acupuncture is not widely practiced, and there are few registered practitioners. However, some healthcare centres and hospitals offer acupuncture services.
Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine based on the principle of “like cures like.” It involves using highly diluted substances that would cause symptoms in a healthy person to treat similar symptoms in someone who is ill. Homeopathy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including allergies, asthma, and digestive disorders.
In Panama, homeopathy is not widely practiced, and there are few registered practitioners. However, some healthcare centres and hospitals offer homeopathic services.
Herbal medicine involves the use of plant extracts and other natural substances to treat various health conditions. It is one of the oldest forms of medicine and has been used for centuries to promote wellness and treat illness.
In Panama, there are many herbal medicine practitioners available, and the Panamanian Association of Natural Medicine (Asociaci—n Paname–a de Medicina Natural or APANAMNAT) is the main professional organisation for herbal medicine practitioners. Their website (https://www.apanamnat.com/) provides information about herbal medicine, a list of registered practitioners, and a search function to find a herbal medicine practitioner in your area.
Chiropractic is a form of manual therapy that focuses on the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. It involves the use of spinal manipulation and other techniques to alleviate pain and improve function.
In Panama, chiropractors are not widely available, and there is currently no formal regulatory body for chiropractic in the country.
Naturopathy is a holistic approach to healthcare that aims to promote wellness and prevent illness. It involves the use of natural therapies, such as nutrition, herbal medicine, and lifestyle changes, to help the body heal itself.
In Panama, naturopathy is not widely practiced, and there are few registered practitioners.
Regulation of CAM in Panama
In Panama, CAM practices are not regulated in the same way as conventional medicine. However, many CAM practitioners belong to professional organisations that have established their own regulations and standards of practice. These organisations help ensure that practitioners are properly trained and qualified to provide CAM services.
Integration of CAM and Conventional Medicine
The Panamanian healthcare system has a growing interest in integrating CAM and conventional medicine. Some hospitals and healthcare centres in the country offer CAM services alongside conventional medical treatments.