I am sure that you have heard of a home remedy that has been passed down from generation to generation. Maybe your family even has a favorite one? Many people swear that home remedies can work wonders on everything from a runny nose to a rash. These types of practices are just a small part of what health care providers call complementary medicine (CM).
Complementary medicine is just a fancy name for practices or treatments that are not part of what you might call “standard medicine”. A couple of examples are massage therapy or using herbs/vitamins. All of these treatments are focused on bringing healing and improving well-being and quality of life. These kinds of practices have become more popular in recent years. The health care community has continued to study their safety and how well they work. Let’s take a look at how your health care team may use some of these methods in your treatment plan!
Integrative medicine (IM) is a combination of standard and complementary treatments. They are often used together to help get better results and usually involve two or more types of treatments. An example would be to combine physical therapy and yoga, or maybe medication and massage after someone had an injury or fall. This approach to care looks at treating the whole person. It also takes into account how different body systems affect each other. This style of treatment has become popular in managing symptoms in conditions such as chronic pain and even cancer.1
You may already be using these types of therapies in your care plan and do not realize it. Do you go to a chiropractor or eat a special diet as part of your care plan? If so, then you are already using integrative medicine. One very important thing to remember is to talk to your health care provider before beginning any kind of treatment. While using non-standard treatments can do great things for you, there are also risks involved. For example, some prescription medication has been known to have dangerous interactions with certain herbal supplements or types of food. Talking to your pharmacist and health care team can help you to avoid problems and get the most out of your therapies. These non-standard treatments are not meant to replace or substitute your regular medical care but to be paired with your usual care plan.
For more information about the types of treatments that may be used as part of IM check out this post and crossword puzzle.
Have you tried integrative medicine? What did you think? What advice do you have for someone thinking about talking to their health care provider about IM? Let’s chat!
1. Complementary, alternative, or Integrative Health: What's in a name? (no date) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/complementary-alternative-or-integrative-health-whats-in-a-name. (Accessed: February 14, 2023).