The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    Integrating CAM into pain management at the end of life

    Dr. Perry Fine — an anesthesiologist from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City — has published an excellent review of this topic. It is essential reading for healthcare professionals as well as family and patient caregivers.

    Among other issues, it provides good perspective on the role of CAM approaches to pain management in palliative care, which I have summarized here.

    Rehabilitation/physical therapy

    • Mobility may be improved
    • Carefully assess the home environment and the degree of hands-on physical assistance needed
    • Make the decision to use these modalities on a case-by-case basis


    • Family members can be taught simple, safe techniques of massage
    • Hospice programs can often provide trained, certified massage therapists

    TENS (transcutaneous/percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)

    • Evidence supports its use for persistent low back pain and knee pain


    • Consider for patients with cancer and other end-stage pain
    • Evidence that it be an effective antidepressant
    • Might have a positive effect on COPD, difficulty breathing during end-stage cancer, and asthma

    Cognitive interventions

    • Several cognitive interventions are available
    • Involving patients in self-care may improve mood and increase coping behaviors

    Music therapy

    • Reduces anxiety and improves mood
    • Low-cost
    • May reduce chronic pain
    • Improves quality of life by enhancing comfort and relaxation
    • Doesn’t interfere with technical aspects of care

    Illustration: Association of Children’s Hospices

    10/20/06 19:57 JR

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