What are complementary and alternative therapies?

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is treatment that falls outside of mainstream healthcare. There are several complementary and alternative therapies available to consider.  Before doing so it is important that you do your research to make an informed decision on what may work for you.  It is important that any prescribed medication should not be stopped without consultation with your GP. 

Complementary therapies are used alongside conventional medicines or treatments. Alternative therapies are used in place of conventional medicines of treatments. There are some misconceptions about complementary and alternative therapies. Some people think they don’t work properly, are a scam or have no evidence behind them. This is not always true but the lack of information and clinical research on them can make it difficult to know which ones might work for you.

As with all therapies, different things work for different people. There’s not much clinical evidence for these therapies, so your GP isn’t likely to prescribe them. But a lot of people do say they find them helpful in managing mental health symptoms, so in this sense they can work. Whether or not a remedy has a clinical effect doesn’t always matter – the outcome of feeling better can be very real and meaningful in our lives.

Support information shared from Mind

I want to know more

  1. They can teach you to become more responsible for your own health.
  2. They may not be as costly as modern therapies and medications.
  3. They can work as sole, primary, or supportive treatments.
  4. They take time to work.
  5. They require lifestyle changes.
  6. They might interact with certain medication – always check with your GP

Useful links & resources

NHS Help & Advice
NHS evidence and advice for particular CAM practices.

Mind Help & Advice
Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They explain what complementary and alternative therapies are, what they treat, how they are regulated and how you can access them.

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