Before beginning to discuss how someone would compare complementary therapies to use with traditional medicine, first an explanation of what a complementary therapy is must be given. A complementary therapy is an alternative remedy of some sort that is used in conjunction with conventional medicine.
It's rare for conventional physicians to see the benefit of using complementary alternative therapies along with standard medical practices, although most naturopaths do- and they also recognize that in some cases, conventional medicine truly is the best option- especially in emergency situations.
Alternative therapies can include anything from taking herbal supplements for certain conditions, or prevention thereof, aromatherapy, acupressure, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, massage, food or juice therapy, ayurveda, flower/essence remedy, homeopathy, imagery, reflexology, sound/music therapy, massage, and even yoga, relaxation and meditations.
When you compare complementary therapies, it's a good idea to work closely with a naturopath and/or your conventional physician. This will help you avoid any potential interactions or negative side effects that can occur with any type of medication, supplement or therapy. Keeping yourself informed, asking questions of your physician, and even consulting a naturopth or herbologist ahead of time will help you to make sound decisions where your health is concerned.
As far as complementary medicine goes, by far the most popular therapy out there is the use of herbal supplements, vitamin supplements and mineral supplements. This is because most can be used in conjunction with medications a person is already on, and most of these things do not usually have the negative side effects that mainstream medications have.
But just because something is "natural," doesn't mean that it's perfectly safe- herbal or "natural" supplements can still interact with any other medicines you are taking and can even worsen conditions. Seeking the advice of your physician and a naturopath to help you compare complementary therapies is by far the safest way to seek alternative health care or supplements.
Alternative remedies have been found to be particularly effective in helping to deal with stress, controlling depression and certain other mood disorders, boosting the immune system, and even healing the common cold and flu. Yoga is a particularly effective way to combat stress, depression and other mood disorders- it's also effective in increasing muscle mass, burning fat, increasing flexibility, and even help heal from sports injuries while toning and strengthening muscles.
There are several resources out there to help you along in your journey- numerous websites offer information not only about conventional medicine, but also about alternative remedies. There are thousands of books out there about general alternative medicine, and then also about specific alternative methods of healing and wellness. And of course, there are numerous practitioners out there now who will be more than happy to help answer any questions you have about different alternative therapies.
With more and more people turning to complementary medicine to help heal themselves or as preventive medicine, it's now easier than ever to compare complementary therapies- and with the help of your physician and/or a naturopath, you will be able to choose the ones that are right for you.