Different treatment methods exist today, both that are clinically tested and those that are well, on trial, per se. But there’s always a good reason why a person would opt to try a different type of treatment other than what’s been prescribed. While it might always seem right to do this, you’ll want to check in with your physician before trying out any treatment methods outside what has already been prescribed.

There are quite a several reasons why people opt for complementary medicine. Quite frankly, they are the same reasons why people use conventional medicine or what is commonly referred to as standard medicine. They all do this to improve their wellbeing. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a broad term referring to treatment and therapies not associated with standard medicine. Surprisingly, most of these treatments have gained traction in the mainstream and are now being used alongside various conventional treatment methods, especially in patients who have chronic ailments and chronic pain. With that in mind, below are seven things most people don’t know about alternative and complementary medicine.

1. CAMS Can Be Helpful

Complementary and alternative medicine can help in treating various health conditions when used together with standard medicine or alone. When used together, it’s called integrative medicine. Integrative medicine aims to treat the body, mind, and spirit.

In various situations, Doctors will prescribe CAMS to patients suffering from cancer, diabetes, depression, and other physical ailments. Complementary and alternative medicine involves the use of practices such as massage therapy, Tai Chi, yoga, acupuncture, and drinking herbal teas just to mention but a few. Various meditation practices such as yoga and Tai Chi can help to restore the balance in one’s system. But if you click here, you’ll realize that there are other alternatives and complementary practices that can help alleviate various effects of lifestyle changes such as unhealthy weight gain. Practices such as the use of detoxifying body wraps, the use of plant-based diets, mind and body practices, and other traditional medical practices have been found to help in the area of weight loss. However, the efficacy and effectiveness of such practices will depend on a person’s body structure and genetic makeup. Other CAMs practices include:

  • Massage therapy – helps in relieving body pains, improving circulation, and decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Acupuncture – Reduces mild pain and treats nausea.
  • Music therapy – This art promotes healing and improves the quality of life.
  • Prayers, on the other hand, will offer spiritual comfort hence improving one’s emotions.

2. CAMs are Safe

While you’ll need to be extra cautious before trying some herbal remedies, some have undergone clinical tests and have been carefully evaluated and passed as fit for human use and consumption. But then again, natural doesn’t always mean safe! This will further be clarified in the next pointer. Nevertheless, there is a great need for further evaluation and testing on some commonly used herbal medicine, traditional therapies, and herbal supplements. Among the reasons slowing research on the various alternative and complementary medicine include lack of funding, time constraints, regulatory issues, and insufficient equipment and research facilities. The major CAMs categories often used along with western medicine include:

  • Biologically based treatments – Herbs, vitamins, foods, and dietary supplements
  • Energy therapies – Magnetic field therapy
  • Mind interventions – Meditation and yoga
  • Ancient/traditional medicine – Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Manipulative and body-based therapies – Reflexology

3. Natural Doesn’t Always Mean Safe!

Some patients turn to traditional herbs as a source of treatment. This, they do without confirming the side effects they might experience in the process. While there are various complementary forms of treatment that have been found to work, there are more that are yet to be tested and confirmed as safe; these you’ll need to steer clear from. As earlier mentioned, you’ll need to consult with your physician before trying any complementary and alternative treatments. You just don’t want to end up with serious complications on top of what you’re already ailing from.

4. CAMs Are Poorly Regulated

Poorly, in the sense that not all CAMs practitioners are regulated. There are of course many CAMs practitioners who are in regulatory bodies of professional associations. But the thing is, joining such umbrellas is voluntary. Unfortunately, some practitioners are still operating unregulated and are below the standards set by the said regulatory bodies. However, for osteopaths and chiropractors, they must be registered by their corresponding regulatory councils; the General Osteopathic Councils and the General Chiropractic Council. The existing regulatory bodies have helped to protect patient’s safety, but this doesn’t mean that a certain CAM treatment is scientifically proven to be effective. It’s therefore important that you learn more about the effectiveness and the evidence supporting that particular treatment.

5. CAMs are Not a New Thing

Complementary and alternative medicines have been in existence long before western medicine jumped into the bandwagon. CAMs practices have been used from all over the world starting with ancient Chinese medicine to the far east where various chiropractic practices originated from. So if you thought that yoga and acupuncture are a new thing, well, you’ll have to dig deeper into your history books. But as old as these practices can be, there still needs to be sufficient research and testing to confirm their efficacy.

6. CAMS and Your Health Insurance

There are quite a majority of progressive insurance companies that will agree to cover complementary treatment and alternative medicine services. But before you take our word for it, it’s best that you first check in with your health insurance provider and confirm if they can cover your alternative and complementary treatment.

7. CAMs Specialists are In High Demand

Some doctors have opted to specialize in alternative and complementary medicine due to its prevalence. For instance, physiotherapists are specialists in massage therapy and reflexology. Most chiropractors are professionals in their various fields of practice and are regulated by the general chiropractic council. As the use of CAMs becomes widespread, there’s a great need for professionals in these fields as well as for researchers and analysts.

You are now in the know zone concerning complementary and alternative medicine. But the importance of consulting with your physician before using any CAMs treatments cannot be reiterated enough. Be safe and stay healthy!