Chapter 8: Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Complementary and alternative therapies include a broad domain of resources, including
health systems, modalities, and practices other than those intrinsic to the dominant health
system of a particular society or culture.
This definition highlights that what might be considered “complementary and alternative” in
one country or at one period of history might be considered “conventional” in another place or
Individuals often “self-select” these therapies, using them without professional supervision.
Nearly half of the users of these therapies do not consult an alternative and complementary
practitioner or disclose such use to their traditional health care provider.
Patients should be advised that complementary therapies do not replace conventional
therapies, but can often be used in combination with conventional therapies.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete system of medicine with an individualized
form of diagnosis and treatment, as well as having its focus on prevention.
TCM includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and other modalities.
Mind-body interventions are a variety of techniques designed to facilitate the mind’s capacity
to affect body function, including behavioral, psychologic, social, and spiritual approaches to
health such as imagery,