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Complementary, Alternative, Or Integrative Medicine: What's The Difference???

After my last post, I realized that the terms complementary, alternative, or integrative medicine may seem to confusing to some readers. It is my hope that after reading today's post these terms will be better understood. So, without further ado, here is my attempt to explain--




Alternative medicine  refers to practices outside the scope of traditional medicine. Yoga practice, meditation, chiropractic medicine,  and nutritional supplements or herbal medicines are some examples of these practices.  The term "alternative medicine" implies that one ore more of these non-traditional methods is being used in place of traditional medicine for a given condition.

Complementary medicine  refers to using a combination of traditional and alternative medicine to treat a given condition. As an example, a migraine sufferer finds that attending yoga classes regularly helps to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. But this same individual is also under care of a physician who has prescribes medication to be used in case of a migraine attack.

Integrative medicine  refers to a medical practice where traditional and alternative medical practices are available from the same health care provider.  An example here could be a medical practice where there are physicians and chiropractic doctors under the same roof.

Sources: Medlineplus; Wikimedia

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