Whether your back hurts, migraines keep you from work or you just can’t seem to lower your blood pressure, complementary medicine may help. About 38 percent of adults use some kind of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), healthcare practices that may be used along with standard treatments to treat specific health problems. Many people use CAM just for general wellness and stress relief. Before you try any complementary therapies, talk with your healthcare provider. Below are some popular options:
What to expect: An acupuncturist places thin, solid, metallic needles into specific points on your body to balance your “chi,” or flow of energy patterns, to relieve pain.
Try it if you have: low-back pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis
What to expect: A therapist measures bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing, muscle movement and skin temperature, using noninvasive sensors. You then study the information, or feedback, to help you control your brain activity, blood pressure and heart rate.
Try it if you have: high blood pressure, headaches. It’s also being evaluated for asthma and irritable bowel syndrome.
What to expect: A chiropractor examines the alignment of your body, focusing on the spine. He or she may take X-rays and will use his or her hands or a device to move the joints, correct alignment issues and relieve pain.
Try it if you have: low-back pain, headaches, neck pain and arm and leg joint pain
Treatment: Massage therapy
What to expect: A therapist presses, rubs and manipulates your muscles while varying pressure and movement to improve blood circulation, increase muscle flexibility and ease pain.
Try it if you have: carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, headaches, sore muscles
What to expect: There are many types of meditation. In one, you close your eyes and focus on your breathing, while feeling the air as it goes in and out of your nose. This exercise can clear your mind and calm your body.
Try it if you have: chronic pain, stress, insomnia
What to expect: You practice poses, called asanas, along with breathing exercises and meditation. This relaxes the nervous system and puts the body and mind in sync.
Try it if you have: low-back pain, insomnia, high blood pressure, stress