When your regular medical treatment plan needs a boost, complementary medicine–therapies provided in addition to your current procedures and medications–might be just the ticket to the wellness you need. It’s not ideal for everyone, so you should recognize the signs it’s a good fit for you.
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1) You’re Not Satisfied With Your Current Level Of Control Or The Lack Of A “Big Picture” In Your Care.
Most doctors are very limited in the time they have to deal with patients, and their restrictions often mean they might not have the opportunity to offer you a more holistic method. You can try many different things in complementary therapy, so if you’re looking to feel more involved and thorough in your own care, be honest and tell your physician.
2) You Understand That Complementary Therapy Isn’t Synonymous With “Cure.”
Many complementary therapies are still being researched, and even the ones that work safely might not address all the symptoms you have. Think about your expectations and move forward only if you can identify the specific ways in which the therapy might improve your condition and your statistical likelihood of seeing benefits.
3) You’re Willing To Take Some Risks.
Complementary therapies usually are less regulated or researched than conventional ones, meaning you could end up scammed or worse off physically. Ask yourself if you’re willing to accept some financial loss or have reached a point where you don’t want to (or can’t) wait around for a “safer” option to present itself.
4) You Have The Energy, Time And Resources To Coordinate Multiple Professionals And Treatment Requirements.
Complementary therapies, by definition, are provided in addition to your regular treatments, meaning you’ll need to keep everyone up to date and attend more appointments. Look at your schedule, note how you feel at the end of the day and talk with family members who could help before making a final call.
5) You Are Comfortable Having Others Interact With You In More Intimate Ways.
Some therapies you could add to your treatment plan, such as massage, require that you let the provider into your personal space. Complementary therapies also usually last longer (up to an hour). If you’re not sure whether you’d like this kind of physical engagement social interaction, take one of the many personality and communication preference tests available online.
6) There Is A Provider For The Therapy You Can Access Easily With Good Credentials And References.
Getting your complementary therapy should not be burdensome in terms of getting to your appointments. You’ve got a good start if there are providers within a reasonable distance from your home, but reputation and proper licensure are just as important as location and availability of hours. Walk away from any provider that warns you away from your current physician, requires upfront payments, guarantees quick results or makes “miracle” promises.
7) The Therapy Will Have Few Or No Side Effects.
You likely won’t feel much better if the therapy has significant potential side effects. Review available literature and talk with your doctor. If the side effects are minimal and your physician doesn’t see any potentially harmful interactions between your current treatment and your desired additional treatment, you’re one step closer to giving yourself the green light.
8) Your Insurance Will Cover The Additional Therapy Or You Can Afford To Pay Out Of Pocket.
Many insurance companies will pay for complementary therapies, but some won’t, depending on exactly which therapy you’re wanting and whether the effectiveness of that therapy is backed up by solid medical research. Make a therapy appointment if your policy helps you out or if you know your savings or income is sufficient to cover the expense.
9) More Than One Person Is Recommending The Complementary Therapy To You.
Having multiple individuals point you toward a complementary therapy means that others see the potential benefits it could bring you and think the therapy matches your situation and condition well. Pay particular attention if the people suggesting the therapy are medical professionals, as they’re usually more knowledgeable about biology and how different treatments work. Most good doctors aren’t going to give you a referral unless they truly believe that you could get better from the extra care.
10) The Complementary Therapy Doesn’t Appeal To You More Than Your Current Therapy.
You cannot stop your regular treatments just because you add on new therapy. Don’t sign up for anything that would make you get lax with what your doctor’s already having you do.
If you aren’t getting the results you need or want from current medical treatment, adding complementary therapies might offer relief.
Work with your doctor to make a revised treatment plan with new options.