What are Complementary Health Approaches?
Decisions about your health care are important – including decisions about whether or not to use complementary health approaches. Complementary health approaches include natural products and mind and body practices.
Natural products include herbs (also known as botanicals), vitamins and minerals, and probiotics. Natural products are widely marketed, readily available to consumers, and often sold as dietary supplements.
Mind and body practices include a large and diverse group of procedures or techniques that are administered or taught by a trained practitioner or teacher. Examples are yoga, meditation, and acupuncture.
Some complementary approaches may not neatly fit into either of the two groups above—for example, the practices of traditional healers, Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy, and functional medicine.
When considering complementary health approaches, it’s important to take charge of your health by being an informed consumer. Find out and consider what scientific studies have been done on the safety and effectiveness of the product or practice that interests you.
Discuss the information with your health care provider before making a decision. When looking for a complementary health practitioner, consider asking your health care provider, a local hospital, or a professional organization.
References: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
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