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Why Do People Use Complementary Therapies



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Many people find that complementary therapies may help them feel better by:

  • Reducing the side effects of disease or treatment (such as pain, nausea and fatigue)
  • Reducing menopausal symptoms 
  • Reducing stress and feelings of sadness
  • Improving positive mental outlook
  • Improving quality of life
  • Relaxing

Others feel these therapies offer a sense of hope and self control [16].   

Culture and complementary therapies

Culture can also play a role in the use of complementary therapies. People from different backgrounds may choose complementary therapies because such therapies are part of standard medical care in their home countries. In India, Ayurveda is practiced in the national health system. In China, acupuncture, Tai Chi and qi gong are offered alongside conventional Western treatment in many hospitals. For people raised in these health systems, complementary therapies are often a usual part of care.

Talking to your health care provider

Complementary therapies should never be used instead of, or apart from, standard medical care. Any decisions about complementary therapy use should be made jointly with your health care provider. Talking to him/her about using any of these therapies with standard medical treatment helps ensure all the risks and benefits to your health are carefully considered.

Complementary therapies are not recommended in place of standard medical treatments. However, some complementary therapies have become accepted as an integrated part of medical care. When complementary therapies are used with standard medical treatments, they are often called integrative therapies.

Learn more about talking to your health care provider about integrative and complementary therapies.

Updated 05/25/12



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