The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) was created by Congress in 1998 as part of the National Institutes of Health. As interest in alternative and complementary therapies among healthcare providers and consumers has increased in recent years, the NCCAM has provided research funding to determine the efficacy of various types of unconventional treatments. The Center also provides research training and acts as a clearing-house for information dissemination to practitioners and the general public. Inclusion and exclusion criteria for alternative and complementary medicine as defined by the NCCAM are provided. Interest in these non-traditional treatments will likely continue to increase over the next few years. The NCCAM is playing a vital role as it provides avenues to determine how these therapies can lead to enhanced quality of life for individuals as we enter the new millennium.

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