Complementary healthcare is a term used to describe therapies or healthcare approaches that are used in addition to, or alongside, conventional care.
Common uses of complementary healthcare include improving quality of life for those living with chronic conditions or in palliative care; post-surgical care; and helping anxious patients to complete orthodox treatments and procedures that have unpleasant side effects, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy. People with chronic or life-limiting conditions such as multiple sclerosis, mental health problems (i.e. mild depression and anxiety), weight problems, musculoskeletal problems, or a history of substance misuse (including alcohol and drugs), can be greatly supported using complementary healthcare alongside conventional care.
As the burden of complex chronic disease increases more people are turning to complementary healthcare and need guidance in making their healthcare choices. Complementary healthcare should never be used in place of orthodox medical care or medication. Always consult your doctor for medical care and diagnosis. Always advise your doctor or other healthcare professional (i.e. midwife or consultant) if you are receiving complementary healthcare.
To find out more about how complementary healthcare could be of benefit visit the following support organisations:
- MS Society
- Parkinson’s UK
- The Royal Marsden Guide to support, practical help and complementary therapies
There is much debate about the evidence-base for complementary therapies and the challenges of gathering that evidence. CNHC registered health practitioners are encouraged to use evaluation tools in order to build the evidence base for complementary therapies.
The Research Council for Complementary Medicine (RCCM) is a charity which, since, 1983 has focused on developing and promoting research into good quality evidence.