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Complimentary and alternative medicine explained

Meditation is often used as alternative medicine.
Meditation is often used as alternative medicine.
Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

These days, making your own choice in medical treatments is common. Your family physician is no longer the only option. Alternative medicine refers to the use of non-traditional treatments as an alternative to conventional medicine. Complementary medicine refers to the use of non-traditional treatments along with and as a compliment to conventional treatment.

Complimentary and alternative medicine make use of the same treatments. Alternative medicine uses those treatments exclusively. It utilizes no conventional treatment at all. Complimentary medicine uses both types of treatment in conjunction with each other. It allows your regular physician to stay informed about your alternative treatments.

Why should you choose complementary medicine over alternative? It's vitally important when you have a major illness which requires intensive treatment, prescription drugs or surgery. If you choose alternative methods of treatment, your physician has to know what medications or herbs you are using to avoid negative reactions. He can also monitor your progress with conventional medical testing.

Complimentary and alternative medicine are based on the same principals. Some of these principles are shared by traditional medicine. For instance, prevention is a very important element in all three. Things like practicing good nutrition and getting adequate exercise can keep you from becoming ill in the first place.

Complimentary and alternative practitioners treat the whole person, not just the illness. They consider body, mind and spirit, when formulating a treatment plan. They believe that nature provides the ability to heal. They are there to guide and educate you as you utilize alternative treatments.

Complimentary and alternative practitioners provide a multitude of treatment options. Just like a "regular" physician, they advise you of those options according to your needs, symptoms, and lifestyle. The following are some of the treatments you may be offered, dependent on your condition.

*Herbal medication and dietary supplements - Often given as a substitute for traditional drugs and pain killers. Take care that none of these react with anything you are already taking, just like with traditional medicines.

*Massage - Given to stimulate sluggish circulation.

*Acupuncture, magnetic therapy and reiki - Many ancient people believed in a life force that circulates through the body. They felt that when this force became misaligned or blocked you became ill. A complimentary or alternative practitioner might want to use one of these or many other similar techniques as re-alignment.

*Meditation and yoga - Used to strengthen your connection between mind and body. There are other therapies that work on this connection as well. These include hypnosis and relaxation.

This is just a small selection of alternative treatments. Your practitioner can help you choose the treatment that best suits your needs. Whatever therapy you choose it's recommended that you keep your regular physician well informed. Doing so could save your life.

This article was previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.

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