Difference Between Complementary And Alternative Therapy

Alternative verses complementary therapy

Ever feel like conventional medicine does not have the right solution your health condition?

A common non-serious scenario typically goes something like this:

Doctor giving patient bad news

Doctor: “Lets review your results. Seems like your glucose number is in the borderline high range, so we will have to keep an eye on it and monitor it.”
You: What can I do about it in the mean time?
Doctor: “Modify your diet more, and exercise more. We’ll see what the number is next year.”
You: (Confused since you are already doing the diet and exercise thing) Really, that’s it?…okay!

The most likely outcome is you will end up on medication. Most conventional doctors are trained to treat conditions with either medication or surgery.

[Tweet “More than 30% of American adults adopt healthcare approaches originating from outside of mainstream traditional medicine.”] Why? Because alternative treatments have a place within conventional medicine, it assists the body in restoring itself.

First, let’s clear up one thing, people often use complementary and alternative therapy to describe these approaches interchangeably, but both terms refer to different concepts.

Alternative Therapy

Alternative therapy replaces conventional medical treatment and takes the place of main-stream treatment for that condition.

There will be times when medications or surgical procedures have success probabilities equal to alternative therapies. This means the success rate for either therapy is a 50/50 shot. This puts conventional treatment on par with alternative therapies and are worth researching. Given the side-effects involved in medications and rehab involved in some surgeries, it is up to you to research what will work best for your health condition.

Good tips to use while on alternative treatment. Continue to see your regular doctor to monitor the progress of the condition while on alternative treatment. You can always request diagnostic tests from your doctor and track if the alternative treatment is working. If the condition gets worst, stop and reassess the best option. Have a time limit for how long you are willing to go on alternative therapy ahead of time rather than not having an end-point.

Complementary Therapy

A complementary therapy is any form of therapy used with conventional medical treatment. Listed below are several common types of complementary therapy’s:

  • Visualization: A means of controlling the symptoms and effects of different health conditions through guided imagery.
  • Aromatherapy: As the name suggests, aromatherapy is based on the aroma. You have to inhale the fragrance from different aromatic sources for improving your health and inducing relaxation.
  • Yoga: You perform different poses, stretching muscles and breathing to shift focus inside of you.
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into different parts of the body for treating specific conditions and providing pain relief.
  • Dry Needling: Dry needling also involves insertion of needles but the focus here is on relieving pain caused by conditions such as myofascial pain syndrome.
  • Massage Therapy: Massage stimulates the flow of blood in the area being massaged and is used widely around the world, especially for relaxation and connection.
  • Acupressure: Acupressure involves stimulating these specific points by using the fingers to place pressure. This stimulation initiates a reaction in the body, which is the essence of this treatment method.
  • Gaston: A form of massage therapy where small instruments are used for massaging different parts of the body.

The lines between the 2 types of therapies can be blurred in certain situations. A new term you might also hear is Integrative therapy which brings coventional and complementary therapy together.

For example, Integrative therapy can be going to your chiropactor for treating your back pain, but also by you supplementing your treatment with manual self therapy using trigger point, or myofascial release between appointments to complement the chiropactoric work.

Common Complementary Therapies

It’s important to remember no treatment, whether conventional or alternative, is 100% perfect. The 2 types of treatments can co-exist, and using them wisely can work in your health benefit.

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