Why Consider Complementary Therapies?

Why Consider Complementary Therapies?

Long considered the poorer cousin of conventional medicine and one that’s too practical to efficiently alleviate health concerns, that mindset has slowly been reversed, leading to the uncovering of a form of medicine that actually has significant value. Traditional & complementary medicine has proven a constructive and worthwhile tool to help combat the pressing health matters of today.

The Traditional and Complementary Medicine Act of 2016 (Act 775) defines traditional & complementary medicine as “a form of health-related practice designed to prevent, treat or manage ailment or illness, or preserve the mental and physical well-being of an individual, and includes such practices as traditional Malay, Chinese and Indian medicine, Islamic medical practice, homeopathy and complementary therapies”. Modalities of traditional and complementary practices available in our centre include Reiki, Acupuncture, Bio-Electric Meridian Therapy, Tuina Meridian Massotherapy, and Moxibustion.

What Is Traditional & Complementary medicine

The U.S. National Institutes of Health categorises traditional & complementary medicine (complementary & alternative medicine in their terminology) into five main groups (although these classes can overlap):

Biologically Based Practices

This includes herbs, mineral and vitamin supplements, nature-derived products like chondroitin sulfate (which comes from cow and shark cartilage), botanical medicine, and diet-based practices (like the low-carb Atkins diet and fermented or functional foods). Probiotics, which are live organisms like the bacteria found in human bodies or certain foods, may be consumed as part of an alternative approach.

Manipulative and Body Based Approaches

This approach often refers to treatments involving vertebrae and spinal nerve roots and the functions of the skeletal system. Massage, as well as chiropractic and osteopathic medicine, is used to relieve the body of pressure and pain, thus optimizing the body’s ability to react to internal disruptions. Bio-Electric Meridian Therapy and Tuina Meridian Massotherapy are a few examples.

Mind-Body Medicine

Contrary to the previous approach, mind-body medicine follows the belief that the mind can influence the wellbeing of the rest of the body. Spiritual, meditative, and relaxation techniques are utilized to create a sense of unity between bodily systems.

Alternative Medical Systems

This approach relies on “the balance and flow of vital energies through the body.” This form of medicine borrows from ancient Asian methods of energy targeting, such as Acupuncture, where needles are placed on energy-critical points on the body. Moxibustion, where herbs are burned near energy points in the body, is another example.

Energy Medicine

Similar to the preceding method, the energy approach focuses on bio-electromagnetic techniques and related forms that place importance on the relationship between therapy and energy. An example of this is Reiki therapy, which “aims to realign and strengthen healthful energies through the intervention of energies radiating from the hands of a master healer.”

What Are The Benefits of Traditional & Complementary Medicine?

The benefits associated with traditional & complementary medicine are broad, but three basic advantages exist:


First and foremost, they’re relatively inexpensive. This is particularly noticeable when comparing the costs of pharmaceuticals and botanical remedies.

Fewer Side Effects

Ever seen those commercials for medicines where the spokesperson quickly states all of the side effects of consumption? Well, if you don’t want to experience nausea, vomiting, heart failure, liver failure, or death, then complementary or alternative medicine might be for you. Generally, these medical practices involve low-risk or holistic approaches. Reiki, for example, won’t cause liver failure, and acupuncture (as scary as needles can be) isn’t likely to cause a heart attack.


Often times, complementary and alternative practices may lead to lifestyle changes that can positively impact the lives of participants. For example, if an individual begins to practice yoga as a way of combating heart disease, he or she may develop a habit of this exercise and reap benefits that were never intended. In addition, pharmaceuticals often serve as the bandage on a wound that needs to be stitched – it may stop the bleeding, but it won’t get to the root or cause of the bleeding. Traditional & complementary medicine can combat the fundamental cause of a disease in ways that the exclusive consumption of pills may not.

When Should You Choose Traditional & Complementary Medicine?

According to the USA’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, most individuals use traditional & complementary medicine for the following injuries/ailments:

Back, Neck, or Joint Pain

A manipulative and body-based approach to traditional & complementary medicine is often utilised when individuals are experiencing some type of musculoskeletal discomfort. Massage is a great way to relieve skeletal pain that may be caused by work-related injuries, sports, or freak-accidents.


Pills aren’t the only way to reduce anxiety; Reiki and other alternative measures can reduce stress and anxiety, as well. Reiki isn’t expensive and doesn’t require any equipment, so it’s pretty easy for anyone to engage in this mind-body exercise.


Traditional & complementary medicine can help reduce arthritis, which is one of the leading causes of disability among adults. Bio-Electric Meridian Therapy and Tuina can reduce the discomfort associated with arthritis, both for older and younger individuals, and it’s proven to be a popular tool for those who suffer from arthritis.

In addition, traditional & complementary medicine can be used to lower cholesterol levels, reduce instances of insomnia and migraines, and other musculoskeletal conditions.

The Takeaway

Traditional & complementary medicine is often cheaper, has fewer negative health ramifications, and can be more effective than conventional medicine when treating certain conditions. If you’re in an emergency situation – excessive bleeding, broken bone, heart palpitations – get to a hospital’s A&E room for some conventional treatments as soon as possible. But for conditions that develop over time as a result of things like stress, poor diet, exercise, or smoking, traditional & complementary medicine may be a safer, cheaper, and more effective treatment for you.