Dr. Zarif is convinced that complementary therapies help him stay healthy. He stands by the alternative medicine he uses to maintain his health.
Alternative medicine, complementary therapies, holistic practices, natural healthcare, integrative medicine--these are a few of the terms used nowadays to describe a wide array of healing practices that fall outside purely pharmaceutical or surgical treatments. Some examples are massage, meditation, and acupuncture.
A few years ago, complementary and alternative medicine was defined as therapies that were not taught in medical school or offered in mainstream hospitals. But this no longer applies. Many complementary and alternative therapies are now offered in clinics and hospitals around the country and their use and acceptance is growing rapidly. This is reflected in a new name used in many healthcare settings: "integrative therapies."
But whether you say integrative or complementary therapies, or holistic practices, or something else, it refers to the same thing-a wide array of healing practices that fall outside purely pharmaceutical or surgical treatments.
How can these holistic practices complement my healthcare?
A person could use these practices and therapies instead of conventional medicine, as an alternative. However, this is less common and may pose risks. It is not a good idea, for example, to abandon conventional cancer treatment for a "miracle" botanical medicine. But it might make sense to see a massage or healing touch therapist while undergoing chemotherapy to help your body recuperate.
Thus we see these holistic healing practices as complementary to conventional care and a key part of integrative healthcare.