Alternative medicine, alternative therapy, holistic therapy, and traditional medicine are some of the other names of complementary therapy. There are many kinds of treatments that exist under complementary therapy, and each has its own unique theory and practice. But to give it a general definition, complementary therapy is any type of medication, treatment, or technique that is not part of the modern, conventional medical system. Some of the most popular ones are aromatherapy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and yoga.
It is becoming more common for people to use complementary therapies together with their conventional treatments because of the advantages alternative healing provides. Yet others remain skeptical and hesitant to try natural treatments because of their disadvantages.
List of Advantages of Complementary Therapies
1. They teach you to become more responsible for your health.
Holistic healing teaches you to regain the balance between your mind and body because the illnesses and pains that you feel are brought about by imbalances in your system. It focuses on helping you to pinpoint the root cause, and how to heal that root cause rather than just the symptoms. You will also learn how to maintain your overall wellness for long-term optimal health, so you become more empowered and proactive in taking care of your mind and body.
2. They may not be as costly as modern therapies and medications.
Some complementary therapies involve using only natural ingredients in medications and treatments, and these are usually readily available in your kitchen cabinet, your garden, or from your natural surroundings. Yoga, a popular alternative therapy, requires only a mat. Plus, you can do it almost anywhere without the need for special equipment.
3. They can work as sole, primary, or supportive treatments.
Recent studies show that certain herbs and foods help to control and heal cancer and diabetes. Those who have anxiety and depression also benefit from doing yoga and taking certain herbs according to certain tests. Therapeutic massage has been reported to also help relieve muscle and joint pain.
List of Disadvantages of Complementary Therapies
1. They take time to work.
Most alternative treatments do not heal instantly. It usually takes several hours or even months before you can see any positive effects. This can be discouraging for some, especially if you have a nagging headache that you want to go away immediately. This is why some practitioners will not recommend complementary therapy for emergency situations.
2. They require lifestyle changes.
You have to commit your time, energy, and sometimes even your finances if you really want to adopt holistic medicine as your method for gaining optimum health. This means having to make some major changes to your lifestyle, such as changing your diet and adopting a different mindset when it comes to dealing with the stressors in life. But if this leads you to improved overall well-being, then maybe this can be more of an advantage than a disadvantage.
3. They might interact with certain medication.
Some herbal remedies might interact with prescription drugs, while some types of natural therapies might have contra-indications for your existing condition. That is why you must always inform your conventional or complementary practitioner about the medicines you are currently taking and the true status of your condition, and ask for their professional advice regarding incorporating alternative therapies for your healing.
More conventional medical practitioners are becoming more open to the use of complementary therapies as supportive treatments. However, you must still make sure that you make informed decisions before adopting any form of treatment, whether it is conventional or alternative.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.