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What is a complementary health approach?

When it comes to your health, you want to know that there are several avenues to go down to get the help that you need. For some, the traditional medicine routes are the best place to go for the right help. For others they take a different approach, with complementary health options used alongside the traditional routes. Complementary healthcare isn’t the same as alternative or integrative health – it’s designed to work alongside a conventional medical treatment that will heal your body and mind no matter what.

Did you know that a portion of the population chooses complementary healthcare before conventional medical care? Typically, complementary healthcare is chosen as a method outside of the realms of Western medical practices. Again, though, complementary health isn’t the same as alternative health. If an approach that’s non-mainstream is used alongside conventional medicine, this is considered to be a complementary option. If a non-mainstream approach is used instead of conventional medicine, this is considered to be an alternative in nature. Almost all people who use a non-mainstream approach use conventional healthcare, too. Just because someone uses a mindfulness coach doesn’t mean that they won’t approach their GP for help when they are unwell. 

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Complementary health approaches are classified in many different ways depending on their primary therapeutic input. This means how the therapy is taken or how it’s delivered. Some of those may include:

  • Nutritional health. Someone looking into complementary health may consider nutritional support. This includes supported diets, supplements, herbs, and microbial therapies to help with gut health. Dieticians offer conventional medicinal help, but nutritionists can support that by offering special diet support and supplements to ensure that your existing dietician is supported.
  • Psychological health. Using a mindfulness coach is one of the ways that complementary health is used in a psychological sense. It can also include hypnosis, meditation, relaxation, and music therapies to calm the mind and focus the senses. A doctor can recommend counseling and therapy, but a mindfulness coach can be someone you approach on your own without going through the usual traditional medicine channels.
  • Spiritual health. Spiritual health is the state of having a sense of peace and purpose that comes from a connection to something bigger than yourself. It can involve creating a sense of meaning and purpose in life and developing positive relationships with yourself and others. Many religious organizations tend to provide ministry for youth that essentially focuses on spiritual health. These organizations often provide resources and activities that help young people explore and develop their faith, such as prayer, scripture study, and community service.
  • Physical health. Physical health with a complementary approach includes acupuncture, spinal manipulation, massage, and more. These wouldn’t be things referred to by a GP, but you can still use them to support physical health and have them complement existing health measures you may be using.
  • A combination approach. If you use things like dance therapy and Tai Chi, you’d be using a combination of complementary therapies.

The point of each of these is that you can use these complementary healthcare approaches to support and maintain the traditional medicine routes you are already taking to optimise your health. A complementary health approach can bolster your current treatment and help you to feel better faster than you would have otherwise. You don’t have to choose just one approach here; you can choose to invest in complementary health and support your body and mind for longer. 

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