The International Certification Board of Clinical Hypnotherapy is a worldwide hypnosis association organization that provides education to the public and professionals via live training classes and homestudy courses about the benefits of clinical hypnosis, and recognizes hypnosis certification programs and hypnotherapy certification courses.


Conclusions about Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)?

The National Science Foundation stated that defining Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) poses challenges because of its constantly evolving nature and multiplicity of types.  However, the American Psychological Association (APA, 2007) defined CAM as “a group of therapies and health care systems that fall outside the realms of conventional western medical practice.  These include but are not limited to Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Meditation, Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Osteopathy, Touch therapy, Reflexology, Reiki and the use of certain dietary supplements” (p. 205).

CAM is widely used throughout the world and often involves approaches to achieving health that differ from biomedical approaches (Nguyen, Davis, Kaptchuk, & Phillips, 2010). 

Physicians consider the traditional biomedical model, which emphasizes the causes, effects, and nature of diseases from a biological point of view, the gold standard for the treatment of diseases (King, 2010; Wong et al., 2009).  However, the biomedical model of health does not incorporate the impact of social factors and individual choices in the pathology, physiology, or treatment of diseases (Taylor, 2012).

What Model of Health Does CAM Use?

In contrast to the biomedical model, CAM typically incorporates the bio-psychosocial model (Zachariae, 2009).  The bio-psychosocial model recognizes biological, psychological, and social factors as important factors in the etiology of health and illness (Taylor, 2012). 

Is CAM Pseudoscience? 

Although some practices of CAM might be questionable due to the different standards required to practice, all CAM cannot be classified as pseudoscience.  Some varieties of CAM have been successfully utilized to treat certain medical problems (Segerstrom, 2010).  For example, the effectiveness of hypnosis and imagery and relaxation in treating allergic reactions has been documented (Freeman, 2009).  Moreover, CAM interventions help to support immune functions by reducing the impact of stress (Campbell & Edwards, 2009).  Although the effectiveness of CAM cannot always be verified through the use of experimental methods such as randomized clinical trials, some types of CAM have been very successful in achieving health and wellness. 


American Psychological Association. (2007). APA dictionary of psychology. Washington, DC: Author.

Campbell, C. M., & Edwards, R. R. (2009). Mind-body interactions in pain: The neurophysiology of anxious and catastrophic pain-related thoughts. Translational Research, 153, 97-101. doi:10.1016/j.trsl.2008.12.002

Freeman, L. W. (2009). Mosby’s complementary & alternative medicine: A research-based approach (3rd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

King, L. A. (2010). Experience psychology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Nguyen, L. T., Davis, R. B., Kaptchuk, T. J., & Phillips, R. S. (2010). Use of complementary and alternative medicine and self-rated health status: Results from a national survey. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 26(4), 399-404.

Segerstrom, S. C. (2010). Resources, stress, and immunity: A ecological perspective on human psychoneuroimmunology. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 40, 114-125. doi:10.1007/s12160-010-9195-3

Taylor, S. E. (2012). Health psychology (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Wong, E. L., Sung, R. Y., Leung, T. F., Wong, Y. L. Cheung, K. L., Wong, C. K., . . . Leung, P. C. (2009). Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of herbal therapy for children with asthma. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(10), 1091-1098.

Zachariae, R. (2009). Psychoneuroimmunology: A bio-psycho-social approach to health and disease. Journal of Psychology, 40, 645-651. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9450

Why is Cultural Competence Important in CAM Healthcare?

Culturally competent care is important in all types of healthcare systems, especially in CAM.  Many practitioners are pursuing best health outcomes using CAM; therefore, CAM providers must ensure that they provide quality, culturally competent care.  This ensures that caretakers (a) become aware of how patients’ cultures view treating illnesses, (b) know how receptive the culture is regarding gender of care givers, and (3) know how the culture views the use of CAM (Freeman, 2009).

In addition to providing high quality care CAM providers can help reduce disparities in health as several ethnic disparities influence healthcare services.  In the CDC report (Akinbami, Moorman, & Liu, 2011) ethnic disparities were seen during the 2009-2010 vaccination period for influenza; African Americans and Hispanics were less likely to have received vaccination.  Between 2007 and 2009 African Americans were more likely than any other minority ethnic group to be living in inadequate or unhealthy housing, followed by Hispanics and Native Americans (Akinbami et al., 2011).  Ethnic minority groups were also more likely to live in areas with unhealthy air.  Another factor that affects ethno-cultural issues in health is participation in the healthcare system (Myers & Hwang, 2008).  The CDC report (Akinbami et al., 2011) revealed that Hispanics and African Americans are the least likely to have healthcare insurance.  Additionally, Caucasians were more likely to obtain colorectal cancer screening than any other ethnic group. 

These significant findings suggest socioeconomic status affects the ability to afford healthcare insurance.   Ethnic minority groups are more likely to be obese and might be less likely to have all the facts related to the importance of treatment compliance (Akinbami et al., 2011).  Moreover, believing myths related to CAM can result in compromised health.  For example, if it is culturally acceptable to use unsafe treatments to lose weight patients’ lives can be put in danger. 

CAM providers demonstrate cultural competence when they actively seek to increase healthcare accessibility and affordability to meet the cultural needs of diverse populations (Freeman, 2009).  The CAM provider is in a position to act professionally by communicating with stakeholders and other healthcare providers and conducting research into meeting these needs. 

It is, therefore, extremely important that the CAM health care provider thoroughly evaluate each client and become aware of patients’ cultural beliefs about health and illness so that patients can be given appropriate information that is accurate and beneficial to their health.  

What is Meant by the Phrase: Cultural Competence is a Life-long Journey?

It is critical for everyone to be culturally sensitive and culturally educated.  Everyone should have the right to access culturally competent care.  Cultural diversity is not static; different cultures evolve on a regular basis.  Caregivers must, therefore, dedicate themselves to lifelong learning about different beliefs, values, customs, behaviors, and practices. 

Healthcare providers must be aware of cultural changes and be particularly sensitive to changes occurring in the populations they serve (Freeman, 2009).  Continuing education for healthcare providers should include courses in the current trends in multicultural perspectives and diversity issues.  The knowledge gained through this lifelong adventure enables healthcare providers to better serve a diverse and dynamic population and increase the credibility of their profession.


Akinbami, L. J., Moorman, J. E., & Liu, X. (2011). Asthma prevalence, health care use, and mortality: United States, 2005–2009 (National Health Statistics Report No. 32). Hyattsville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.

Freeman, L. W. (2009). Mosby’s complementary & alternative medicine: A research-based approach (3rd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Myers, H. F., & Hwang, W. (2008). Ethnocultural issues in behavioral medicine. In L. M. Cohen, D. E. McChargue, & F. G. Collins (Eds.), The health psychology handbook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Retrieved from



Ethnomedicine and Cultural Competence Care

What is Culturally Competent Care?

Today’s society is highly diverse culturally and different cultures experience unique challenges and have different needs.  A basic need common to all cultures is good health and it is commonly known that many factors influence health.  According to the National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS), ethno-cultural issues significantly influence the type or quality of healthcare some individuals or ethnic minority groups receive, critically affecting health outcomes (Office of Minority Standards, 2007).  Evidence suggests that these individuals or groups do not receive care that is tailored to their cultural differences.  Some cultural issues that affect minorities include biological predispositions, poor behavior/health practices, and limited access to health care (Myers & Hwang, 2008).  Myers and Hwang (2008) noted that ethnic minorities suffer from more health-related illnesses related to lack of appropriate health care, and have poorer prognoses and treatment outcomes than the majority group.

Certain factors that contribute to the inferior health of some ethnic minority groups cannot be eradicated.  A major factor is biological predisposition, which comprises the health status of affected ethnic minority groups (Myers & Hwang, 2008). 

Some people are more prone to developing certain illnesses and diseases because of their genetic makeup.  For example, African Americans develop hypertension more often than other ethnic groups and have poorer prognoses (Myers & Hwang, 2008).  In “The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Health Statistics Report”  (2008) it was revealed that African Americans die from heart disease or stroke at higher rates than other ethno-cultural groups and experience infant mortality rates 2.4 times higher than Caucasians.

Obesity was found to be higher in African Americans and Mexican Americans than Caucasians (CDC, 2008).  All ethnic minority groups except Asians continue to see an increase in the incidence of obesity; however, the rate of change in African American obesity is higher than in other ethno-cultural groups.  Moreover, in 2007 more pre-term births took place among African Americans than any other ethno-cultural group. 

With regard to cigarette smoking, American Indians and Alaska Natives were much more likely to be smokers than members of other ethno-cultural groups (CDC, 2008). 

Although genetic predispositions to unfavorable health outcomes cannot be removed, healthcare workers can provide altered care to increase the benefits or prognoses in ethnic minority groups with health conditions.  Members of these ethnic minority groups require care that is culturally competent, and healthcare workers must ensure that they bring together diverse and culture-specific mindfulness, knowledge, and expertise accordingly (Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 2010).  Healthcare providers must appreciate and be aware of the customs, standards, and principles that characterize specific racial, ethnic, or cultural groups and must modify their behavior as necessary (VandenBos, 2007).  In addition, they must evaluate others’ viewpoints and do everything possible to try to understand the behavior of others in order to understand their own cultural assumptions and realize how their own culture, life experiences, attitudes, values, and biases influence them (Beagan, 2003), thereby facilitating recognition of the similarities and differences among different cultural/ethnic groups (Beagan, 2003).  Providers will understand why different cultures might have different views, values, and needs, and will also be motivated to tailor the treatment of patients to meet their cultural needs. 

When patients receive high-quality care tailored to meet their needs regardless of their race, ethnicity, or culture, and without any bias, they can say that they receive culturally competent care.  The APA (VandenBos, 2007) defined cultural competency as” possession of the skills and knowledge that are appropriate for and specific culture to a given culture, and the capacity to function effectively in different cultural settings other than one’s own. This usually involve a recognition of the diversity both between and within cultures, a capacity forcultural self-assessment, and a willingness to adapt personal behaviors and practices” (p. 249). 


Beagan, B. L. (2003). Teaching social and cultural awareness to medical students: “It’s all very nice to talk about it in theory, but ultimately it makes no difference.” Academic Medicine, 78(6), 605-614. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). Behavioral risk factor surveillance system survey data. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Overweight and obesity. Retrieved from

Corey, G., Corey, M. S., & Callanan, P. (2011). Issues and ethics in the helping professions. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Myers, H. F., & Hwang, W. (2008). Ethnocultural issues in behavioral medicine. In L. M. Cohen, D. E. McChargue, & F. G. Collins (Eds.), The health psychology handbook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Retrieved from

Office of Minority Health. (2007). National standards on culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS). Retrieved from

VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2007). APA dictionary of psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Herbal Supplements and Weight Loss

Many people use herbal supplements (e.g., huang) to aid weight loss.  However, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Nutrition Guidelines Task Force (2003), a review of 18 studies using herbal supplements for weight loss revealed that they were all unsafe and ineffective. 

In some studies examining ma huang as a weight loss treatment some reduction in weight occurred, but those studies tended not to meet the minimal requirements necessary to be considered reliable and valid.  For example, study sample sizes were very small, participants were not observed for long time periods, or the treatment had adverse side effects and the benefits did not outweigh the risks to participants. 

One unintended consequence of using ma hung for weight loss is the potential to develop strokes and heart attacks (Bray, 2008).  Manore (2012) declared that weight loss supplements with ingredients such as caffeine, ephedra (ma huang), or synephrine pose serious health risks.  Manore (2012) acknowledged ma huang is effective in reducing weight, but only when used in conjunction with caffeine; however, the reduction in weight is extremely small and the benefits do not outweigh the increased risks of strokes and heart attacks.

 Some researchers disagreed and proclaimed ma huang safe and effective (e.g., Greenway, Jonge, Blanchard, Frisard, & Smith, 2012).  

Using safe methods to make necessary lifestyle changes that help patients lose weight and improve their health is important. 

Hypnosis can help motivate positive changes in your life.  Eating a healthy diet and incorporating exercise will add to your lifestyle and help your body naturally reprogram itself to your ideal weight.  You will find hypnosis a very satisfying vehicle to motivate you to do exactly what you need to do to lose weight, reduce and manage stress, and assist you in maintaining a healthy body weight.


American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Nutrition Guidelines Task Force. (2003). American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for the clinical use of dietary supplements and nutraceuticals. Endocrine Practice, 9(5), 417-470.  Retrieved from

Bray, G. A. (2008). Are non-prescription medications needed for weight control? Obesity, 16(3), 509-514. doi:10.1038/oby.2007.100

Greenway, F. L., de Jonge, L., Blanchard, D., Frisard, M., & Smith, S. R. (2012). Effect of a dietary herbal supplement containing caffeine and ephedra on weight, metabolic rate, and body composition. Obesity Research, 12(7), 152-157.

Manore, M. M. (2012). Dietary supplements for improving body composition and reducing body weight: Where is the evidence? International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 22,139-154.



The Effect of Spiritually and Religion on Patients’ and Caregivers

What Role Should Caregivers’ Own Religious or Spiritual Backgrounds Play when Relating to the Spiritual Needs of Patients? 

Spirituality is an important vehicle to help enhance patients’ recoveries from diseases.  Caregivers who are spiritual are motivated to speak with patients about their spirituality and also enjoy doing so (Pike, 2011).  This situation would auger a meaningful relationship for both patients and caretakers.  Additionally, caretakers could share appropriate stories about how they or others obtained meaning in difficult situations. 

The symbiotic spiritual relationship between spiritual caregivers and patients helps both find peace and comfort in the situation (Yang & Wu, 2009).  Consequently, patients not only tend to experience less pain and suffering, but prognoses show a similar positive increase.  Similarly, caretakers tend to feel more hopeful and satisfied about their role and it as extremely important (Hayden, 2012).  This increase in self-worth will help the caretaker have a greater sense of peace if a patient dies, even if death results from terminal illnesses.

Alternatively, non-spiritual caretakers experience a discrepancy between their ability to provide spiritual guidance and understanding and their personal belief systems (Hayden, 2012).  Such caretakers might display the tendency to ignore or avoid conversations with patients about situations that have spiritual meaning to them. 

In addition to avoiding patients with spiritual concerns, these caretakers might also provide inadequate advice to these patients.  These dynamics can result in inner conflict and arouse in the caretaker uncomfortable feelings that lead to awkwardness when talking about spiritual needs or refusing to indulge in such matters.  Consequently, caregivers who are not religious or spiritual are inclined to experience serious emotional distress after conversing with a patient about the patient’s spirituality (Sessanna, Finnell, Underhill, Chang, & Peng, 2011).  Therefore, it is important for caretakers to be aware of the impact they have on patients’ spiritual wellbeing and should avoid opposing or disagreeing with patients in matters pertaining to patients’ spiritual beliefs, values, or practices.  Spirituality is extremely important in healing and overall wellbeing of all involved.


Hayden, D. (2012). Spirituality in end-of-life care: Attending the person on the journey. British Journal of Community Nursing, 16(11), 546-551.

Pike, J. (2011). Spirituality in nursing: A systematic review of the literature from 2006-10. British Journal of Nursing, 20(12), 743-749.

Sessanna, L., Finnell, D. S., Underhill, M., Chang, Y., & Peng, H. (2011). Measures assessing spirituality as more than religiosity: A methodological review of nursing and health-related literature. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67(8), 1677-1694. doi:10.1111/j.1365.2648.2010.05596.x

Yang, K., & Wu, X. (2009). Spiritual intelligence of nurses in two Chinese social systems: A cross-sectional comparison study. Journal of Nursing Research, 17(3), 189-198. doi:10.1097/JNR.0b013e3181b2556c

The Effect of Spiritually and Religion on Patients’ Wellbeing

Today I would like to discuss the concepts of spirituality and religion and their effects on patients and caregivers.  What are the roles of nurses or physicians in relation to patients’ spirituality?  Research has shown that a higher level of spirituality is positively related to greater improvements in health and overall life satisfaction (Motyka, Nies, Walker, & Schim, 2010; National Cancer Institute, 2012). 

Patients who are spiritual tend to comply with treatment plans better than those who are not (Van Dierendonck, Rodriguez-Carvajal, Moreno-Jimenez, & Dijkstra, 2010).  Spirituality is extremely important in helping patients cope with diseases (Hilbers et al., 2010) and reducing mortality rates (Van Dierendonck et al., 2010); therefore, nurses and physicians should play a role in maintaining the spiritual wellbeing of patients. 

A system should be implemented to assess patients’ spiritual beliefs during the initial assessment phase.  An instrument such as the Spiritual Wellbeing Scale (Paloutzian & Ellison, 1982) can be used to assess patients’ spiritual needs.

Evidence shows that nurses are aware of the powerful impact attending to patients’ spiritual needs has on their recovery; however, many nurses reported that they did not feel they were given enough training to take care of patients’ spiritual needs (McSherry & Jaimeson, 2010) even though they recognized the importance of their role in supporting patients’ spiritual needs.  According to the American Association of Colleges of Nurses (2008), nursing schools have become aware of this deficit and have started including spiritual care in the curriculum for new nursing students. 

How Could Spirituality or Religion Affect Patients’ Compliance with Treatment?

Patients’ spiritual beliefs affect their values as well as the decisions they make regarding their health.  Some religious organizations view pharmacological or surgical interventions unnecessary and forbid members to use the services of physicians who employ the medical model as their main treatment modality.  Adherence to such beliefs can result in serious negative consequences, such as increases in mortality and morbidity rates, among individuals who are prone to adverse health effects.

Alternatively, some religious organizations believe physicians can create healing inspired by God in the form of pharmacological or surgical interventions.  These beliefs motivate patients to comply with prescribed treatment plans.  Physicians must be aware of patients’ spiritual beliefs so they are better able to predict and understand factors that influence patients’ compliance with treatment.  Remembering that spirituality and religion effects patients’ recovery processes as well as their compliance with treatment is important. 


American Association of Colleges of Nurses. (2008). Essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges of Nurses.

McSherry, W., & Jaimeson, S. (2011). An online survey of nurses’ perception of spirituality and spiritual care. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20, 1757-1767. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03547.x

Motyka, C. L., Nies, M. A., Walker, D., & Schim, S. M. (2010). Improving the quality of life of African Americans receiving palliative care. Home Health Care Management and Practice, 22(2), 96-103. doi:10.1177/1084822309331609

National Cancer Institute. (2012). Spirituality in cancer care. Retrieved February 18, 2013 from

Paloutzian, R., & Ellison, C. (1982). Loneliness, spiritual well-being and the quality of life. In L. Peplau & D. Perlman (Eds.), Loneliness: A source book of current theory, research and therapy. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Van Dierendonck, D., Rodriguez-Carvajal, R., Moreno-Jimenez, B., & Dijkstra, M. T. M. (2010). Goal integration and well-being: Self-regulation through inner researches in the Netherlands and Spain. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40(5), 746-760. doi:10.1177/0022022109338622