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What is complementary medicine, and does it work?

complementary medicine

The incredible world of medicine is constantly evolving to produce more and more illness curing procedures.

But alongside the many traditional courses of treatment, we’re also beginning to see an increase in less conventional types. These are known as complementary medicines and can have countless health benefits for different ailments.

In this article, we explore exactly what complementary medicine is and how it works to combat health problems.

What is complementary medicine?

Simply put, complementary medicine is a treatment that falls outside of what is deemed as traditional medicine. There are two strains to this – complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

According to NHS.UK, “when a non-mainstream practice is used alongside conventional medicine, it’s considered complementary. When a non-mainstream practise is used instead of conventional medicine, it’s considered alternative”.

You can also combine these by having a mixture of traditional medicine with complementary methods – as well as switching to just one or the other throughout the healing process.

What different types of complementary medicines are there?

There are a handful of different types of complementary medicines that are useful to be aware of.

Here are a few of the main ones alongside their benefits:

Chiropractic – this is a form of treatment where a medical professional, also referred to as a chiropractor, specialises in relieving pain within muscles and joints – particularly within the spinal area. Chiropody is not an invasive course of treatment, much like a physiologist, the practitioner simply uses their hands and a formation of stretches to help alleviate trapped tension within the body. Chiropractors can perform radiography, such as X-rays when diagnosing problems.

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Osteopathic – this treatment is considered a therapeutic line of medicine and is very similar to that of chiropractic, using repetitive soft tissue massage techniques to realign the body. Unlike a chiropractor, however, an Osteopath cannot perform X-rays, though they can easily request for them to take place where necessary. Osteopathic treatment mainly releases pain and tension from bones and joints.

Acupuncture – this treatment derives from old Chinese remedies and involves placing a formation of fine needles beneath the skin’s surface. This is said to stimulate nerves which in turn triggers the body to release endorphins – known as the body’s natural form of pain relief. Acupuncture is a widely recognised course of treatment that can be used on any part of the body where the pain is present. It’s a popular therapeutic form of complementary medicine that is used for ailments such as chronic pain, postoperative pain, joint pain, and migraines.

When should you seek complementary medicine?

Anyone who is experiencing pain or discomfort can turn to complementary medicine for help. More often than not, it has great success stories and is widely known as a branch of medicine for pain management. Just be sure to seek advice from your GP first so that they can direct you towards the best course of treatment for your specific health issues. Remember, if you have experienced a personal injury that wasn’t your fault, you could make a claim. If you’re unsure, seeking professional legal advice can reveal exactly what you may be entitled to. 

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