Complementary medicine is any treatment that is outside the
traditional medicine or practice of a person's primary health system. A
treatment that is complementary in one culture may be traditional in another;
for example, acupuncture, although traditional in China, is considered
alternative or complementary in the United States.
A central concept of many types of complementary medicine is to
give thought and care to the whole person (holistic) rather than providing
treatment for a specific disease or symptom. This holistic view and the
emphasis on maintaining good health may be appealing for those with chronic
illness or for those who want to improve their quality of life through
The use of complementary medicine in the U.S. is on the rise.
People often seek out complementary therapies for long-term (chronic)
conditions that have not been successfully treated with conventional medicine
as well as to maintain and improve wellness and quality of life.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.