Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medicine. Complementary means treatments that are used along with conventional medicine. Alternative means treatments used in place of conventional medicine.

CAM focuses on the whole person and includes physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. For example, CAM includes mind-body medicine (such as meditation, acupuncture and yoga), manipulative and body-based practices (such as massage therapy and spinal manipulation), and natural products (such as herbs and dietary supplements).

Most CAM studies in the U.S. show that few people forgo conventional medicine. So the term "integrative medicine" is increasingly preferred. Integrative medicine combines, or integrates, the best of conventional medical care with the best of evidence-based CAM.

  • Specialized program. For several years, Mayo Clinic has offered treatment in the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program. This program helps address increased interest in wellness-promoting activities that have not typically been part of conventional medical care.
  • Integrative approach. Mayo Clinic complementary and integrative medicine specialists work with other doctors to incorporate appropriate complementary therapies and wellness programs into the treatment plan. Mayo Clinic's program follows the principles of the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.
  • Evidence-based approach. Mayo Clinic doctors are committed to providing evidence-based care and use only the complementary and integrative therapies that have been tested for effectiveness and safety. They can provide you with information about the risks and benefits of alternative medicine treatments. Mayo researchers conduct studies to improve complementary and integrative medicine treatments.


Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Complementary and integrative medicine specialists at Mayo Clinic in Arizona provide consultations to discuss services that might complement and enhance your medical care.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Specialists in complementary and integrative medicine at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota provide consultations and services such as acupuncture, meditation training, biofeedback, massage therapy, counseling and stress management. Treatment is provided by medical doctors, psychologists, licensed acupuncturists and massage therapists.

Currently, appointments for complementary and integrative medicine services are available only to established Mayo Clinic patients. You'll need a referral from a Mayo Clinic provider in Minnesota.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic doctors conduct clinical studies involving complementary, alternative and integrative medicine to learn which treatments and therapies work and to share findings. Read more about complementary and integrative medicine research at Mayo.


See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on complementary, alternative and integrative medicine on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Jan. 24, 2014