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What is Complementary medicine?

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The word Complementary has several definitions one being; forming a satisfactory or balanced whole. Basically, complementary medicine covers various therapies and practices that are used in conjunction with or to complement orthodox western medicine. The main point is to use ideas and therapies to enhance and support Western medicine that has been proven through scientific research.

There are many different types of complementary medicine, a few are; Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Massage Therapy, Yoga etc... Most complementary medicine focus on the individual as a whole, the over all well being of the individual is addressed during sessions with a practicing therapist. Often the therapist will ask their patient many questions about their life, personality, health etc... This can be a very rewarding experience to an individual suffering with a chronic illness as it acts like renewal process.

As there is a wide range of complementary medicine available and little scientific medical research to support them there is not a governing body that oversees all the complementary medicine practices. This means that not all therapists practicing complementary medicine are providing the same care or that there is a common standard to meet.

Complementary medicine is mostly used in preventative terms. For example; elderly people who want to decrease the chances of arthritis may practice yoga. An athlete might have a sport massage after each practice to prevent injury. A highly stressed individual might enjoy aromatherapy baths to decrease their anxiety. A depressed individual could take the supplement St. Johns Wart to help them deal with depression. As you can see Complementary medicine is a broad umbrella term.

Complementary medicine covers many different therapies. Many people can testify to the countless benefits gained through complementary medicine. Doctors will recommend certain complementary medicine in conjunction with their medicine. The aim of complementary medicine is to provide the individual with the tools to increase and maintain good overall health.



By Jessica Carney
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