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Learning About Using Complementary Medicine Safely

What is complementary medicine?

Complementary medicine is a non-standard treatment that is used by some people along with their standard medical care.

This type of treatment may include:

  • Acupuncture.
  • Yoga.
  • Herbs and other natural health products.
  • Massage.

How can you use these therapies safely?

  • Tell your doctor if you use or want to use this type of treatment.
  • Some of these therapies—such as acupuncture, massage therapy, or yoga—are very safe when people who are healthy go to a well-trained professional. Choose this person just like you would choose a doctor.

Know the risks

  • Don't use these therapies in place of standard care. You may miss important treatment that could save your life.
  • Use these treatments wisely. Natural health products like dietary supplements and herbs may not be standardized in their manufacturing. This means that how well they work or any side effects they cause may differ among brands or even within different lots of the same brand. The form you buy in health food or grocery stores may not be the same as the form used in research. Also, they may cause side effects or interact with medicines that you take.
  • Your provincial health plan or private insurance may not cover this type of therapy.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.