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Deciding About Using Complementary Medicine

How can you decide about using complementary medicine?

What is complementary medicine?

Complementary medicine is any non-standard therapy that you use along with your doctor's standard care. This may include having acupuncture, taking natural health products, or doing yoga.

You may choose to add complementary medicine to your treatment or wellness plan. Or you may choose to use only standard treatment.

If you choose to use complementary medicine, it should be in addition to treatment from your doctor. Otherwise you may miss important treatment that could improve your health.

What are key points about this decision?

  • Many forms of complementary medicine have been around for hundreds or thousands of years. But for many of these therapies, there isn't clear proof about how safe they are or how well they work.
  • Some therapies may affect standard medical treatments. For example, some natural health products might interact with medicines you take and may cause harmful effects. Check with your doctor if you have questions about therapies that you'd like to try.
  • Your provincial health plan or private insurance may not cover the cost of some types of complementary medicine. Check with your health plan to find out what they will cover.

Why might you choose complementary medicine?

  • You may feel more in control of your health.
  • You may feel that you'll get better results by using complementary therapies along with your standard care.
  • Your doctor may suggest that you try a therapy that has been shown to be safe.

Why might you choose not to use complementary medicine?

  • You may be content with your current standard medical care.
  • You may feel that complementary therapy is not worth the cost.
  • You may take medicines that could be affected by natural health products.

Your decision

Thinking about the facts and your feelings can help you make a decision that is right for you. Be sure you understand the benefits and risks of your options. Think about what else you need to do before you make the decision.

Where can you learn more?

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