When people are sick, they are often bombarded with suggestions about new and novel approaches to heal them. It can be hard to filter through the information and find what is right for them. That’s why some people turn to complementary therapies, a category that includes a wide variety of medical and health care treatments, practices, products, or disciplines not typically considered part of conventional medicine.
complémentaire santé therapies can include herbal remedies, yoga, acupuncture, deep breathing or meditation, massage, and special diets. They can help relieve pain and other symptoms, but they can also affect the body’s emotional and mental states. For example, meditating can cause feelings of calm and relaxation, while hypnosis can put the person into a trance-like state.
Whether used alongside or instead of traditional treatment from your doctor or healthcare provider, complementary therapy can be helpful if it’s safe, has no known harmful side effects and works with your existing treatments. However, it can be harmful if there’s no evidence supporting these therapies or if they replace, delay or interfere with treatments that are evidence-based and advisable.
It’s important to tell your healthcare providers, both conventional and complementary, about all health-related therapies you use. This can help prevent drug or therapy interactions and other potential problems. It also can improve coordination of your care. And, if you’re trying something new, your healthcare professionals may be able to suggest ways to enhance its benefits. NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health describes integrative health as “a patient-centered approach to wellness that integrates conventional and alternative medicine.” This type of health care takes into account physical, functional, social, spiritual and emotional needs and treats the whole person.