In light of supportive research over the past decade highlighting the benefits of alternative and complimentary therapies, more and more traditional Western doctors are beginning to accept these approaches for their patients. With a more integrative approach, patients can benefit from both conventional Western medicine and alternative therapies for optimal health.
Integrative Approaches Work
According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, researchers studied health outcomes for patients who utilized a combination of both conventional Western medicine and alternative therapies regarding pain and functional status. The researchers from Brown University, Harvard and Group Health Research Institute in Seattle discovered that patients who were able to use combined therapeutic approaches had better health outcomes than those who only used conventional Western medical interventions.
Alternative therapies used in this study included massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, nutritional counseling and mind-body approaches. Conventional medical interventions included use of NSAID medicines (ibuprofen, naproxin, etc.) for pain control, physical therapy, bed rest and patient education. Working with a multi-disciplinary team who customizes treatment according to patient needs may be the best approach to healthcare needs.
Changing Healthcare Design
As doctors begin to accept a more integrative approach to healthcare, patients may begin to feel more comfortable talking about complimentary therapies and working with their doctor to develop treatment programs that provide the best outcomes for them. Providing individuals with more control over their healthcare choices allows patients a degree of control that often has been unavailable within conventional Western medical treatment.
Integrative treatment takes a team approach to healthcare, which is an aspect of holistic treatment. Instead of focusing only on the physical needs of patients, doctors may be more open to including other aspects, such as spiritual, emotional and mental needs also.
If you are interested in using complimentary or alternative therapies as part of your healthcare, talk to your doctor about it. It is important to tell your doctor if you are using herbal or other supplements, since they may interact with prescribed medications. If you want to use complimentary treatments and your doctor is unreceptive, consider talking to your alternative provider and asking for a referral to doctors they recommend.
Do you use alternative or complimentary healthcare? What types work for you and what are you treating?
– The Alternative Daily