Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a term used to describe medical products and practices that are not part of standard medical care. CAM therapies include a wide variety of botanical and nutritional products, such as dietary and herbal supplements, vitamins, yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy, phototherapy, acupressure, and aromatherapy. While some of these therapies have been found to be generally safe and effective, others may not work, can be harmful, or could interact negatively with medications. It is estimated that up to two-thirds of people in Australia use complementary and alternative therapies.
The National Health Service recommends acupuncture for migraines and chronic pain, and some people with chronic pain find that acupuncture helps improve their mental health. Acupuncture is often used to relieve chronic pain, which could be contributing to anxiety, sleep problems, or a depressed mood. Some studies suggest that CAM therapies are more effective when used in combination with other treatments rather than being sufficient on their own. For instance, the Alexander Technique emphasizes that movement must be economical and requires only the minimum amount of energy and effort.
Hypnotherapy involves a hypnotherapist putting you in a state of deep relaxation. Phototherapy uses intense light to simulate sunlight and lift your spirits. Acupressure is thought to relieve obstructions so that energy can flow freely again and restore well-being. The different odors and chemical components of aromatherapy oils can produce different emotional and physiological reactions. However, it is important to note that misuse of complementary therapies, misdiagnosis, or delay in using conventional treatment can pose a greater risk to your health.
To learn more about specific complementary and alternative medicine therapies, the National Cancer Institute provides evidence-based medical data (PDQ) information on many CAM therapies for both patients and health professionals. In conclusion, while some CAM therapies have been found to be generally safe and effective, it is important to understand the potential risks associated with each therapy before using them in combination with acupuncture treatments. It is also important to note that CAM therapies are more effective when used in combination with other treatments rather than being sufficient on their own.