Complementary medicine is a kind of general medicine, but a kind that most people have never experienced. How is complementary medicine different from “traditional medicine” (the type of medicine practiced by many medical doctors you may have been to in the past)? First, traditional medicine uses mostly prescription medicines as the first line of treatment, with surgery as the second line. Complementary medicine focuses first and foremost on diet, exercise, relaxation, behavior change and vitamins to improve health. Drugs and surgery are usually the last approaches used by a complementary physician, and when they are used, drugs are generally prescribed in much smaller doses.
Second, the complementary medical doctor views you “as a whole.” We assume that you can’t treat one part of the body successfully without making sure all systems are “go”. We pay special attention to the “small” details of each patient’s history that might otherwise be overlooked, such as fatigue, indigestion or constipation. It is my job as a complementary doctor to work towards restoring you to a natural state of overall good health and an improved state of well-being. This approach helps to prevent future health problems and reduces health risks. Sometimes this is called “preventative medicine.”
For an example of how this works, let’s take high blood pressure. The complementary physician focuses during your first visit on weight, water intake, stress, exercise, diet and vitamins. These are the front line therapies used in my practice. Only if they fail, which is rare, will I turn to prescription pills.
Lastly, complementary doctors are very interested in innovative therapies for medical complaints that are not successfully treatable by the traditional approach. The bottom line is always getting good results in the safest possible way.
Is complementary medicine for you? If you have ever been treated with a medication, and then you read the package insert and saw a frightening table of side effects; if you’ve ever been on a long list of medications and had an intuition that it was probably too much medication to be taking all at once; or, if you’ve ever had surgery recommended as treatment and you wondered if there might not be another way - you should consider complementary medicine. It’s the most comprehensive and conservative approach to your best health.