Many times patients look for complementary therapies TO DO IN PARALLEL with more traditional treatments.
There are advantages to some of these treatments, for example acupuncture can help with pain and to relax.
But there are also many potential problems, for example chemical interactions with your medication that need to be avoided.
As a result, it is crucial that these treatments are first discussed with your doctor, who always has your best interest at mind. Your clinical team is there to make you better, and to discuss any questions or issues you bring up.
Always be honest with the team that takes care of you.
Alternative and complementary therapies are NOT the same thing
Many times we use the term alternative and complementary therapies as if they mean the same thing. They can even be combined in the acronym CAM – complementary and alternative medicine.
They are NOT the same though.
While a complementary therapy is used alongside conventional medicine, alternative therapies are used instead of conventional medical treatments.
All conventional/traditional medicine goes through extensive testing before being used in patients. Alternative therapies do not, and so far have no scientific evidence supporting their claims. Further, they might be dangerous and harm patients.
An often-contentious issue is the fact that people using non-conventional therapies feel better, even if science has proven that these treatments have no effect over their condition.
These patients can in fact feel better – however, research has shown that this improvement is also seen with a placebo (a non-active pill, for example a sugar pill).
What this reveals is that the effect is not a specific result of the non-conventional therapy.
This is called the placebo effect.
However, it is crucial to understand that this improvement is always temporary, and will not treat the disease.