December 9, 2012

Going Complementary Medicine

If you decide to try out any form of complementary medicine for yourself, first consider the following:

Find out as much as you can about the therapy. Find out what it involves, what it may be good for, what evidence supports its use, and what the safety warnings or possible side effects are.

Check out the qualifications and experience of any practitioner you’re thinking of consulting. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and to ask for an explanation of letters after the practitioner’s name, their membership of a professional and/or regulatory body, and their years of experience – particularly with your specific type of health problem. Don’t use unqualified, unregistered practitioners that aren’t members of a reputable professional body.

Check that the practitioner is fully insured and follows standards for safe practice, such as using disposable needles for acupuncture and disposing of them properly.

Ask about and consider the number of treatments that you’re likely to need, what sort of improvements you may expect, and what the likely costs are. Investigate whether the therapy is available on the NHS or covered by health insurance if you have any.

Consider consulting or informing your doctor about having complementary medicine. Very few people do inform their doctor about this, fearing that such information won’t be well received, but many doctors are now better informed and open to complementary medicine, and most complementary practitioners are happy to communicate with general practitioners too.

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