Complementary and Alternative Medicine Overview
Complementary and Alternative Medicines are those types of treatments and healing practices that aren’t typically a part of the conventional Western medical system that is directed by a physician. The complementary and alternative medicine field is broad and sometimes difficult to completely describe because it includes a wide variety of techniques that focus on healing, well-being and overall health.
Natural healing for migraines are types of treatments that are outside of conventional Western medical practices.
A 2002 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey found that:
- 20% of people have tried natural products
- 7.5% tried a chiropractic treatment
- 5% tried yoga
- 5% tried massage
When these methods are used along with conventional Western medicine – which includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs – the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine calls it complementary. In the U.S., these methods are considered alternative if they are used instead of Western medicine.
Complementary and Alternative Medicinal practice includes:
- Natural remedies , such as herbal treatments, vitamins, minerals and other supplements
- Mind-body medicine , such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, tai chi and hypnotherapy
Complementary and Alternative Medicine includes other practices as well, which can include therapy that incorporates different devices such as magnets and lights. There are also different schools of healing that are considered different forms of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, including:
- Traditional healing
- Ayurvedic medicine
- Traditional Chinese medicine
Many migraine sufferers seek different forms of migraine treatment because this debilitating condition is difficult to relieve. In some cases prescription medications and over-the-counter treatments have more unwanted side effects than natural remedies for migraines. However, natural products that will help with migraines still may cause side effects and in certain cases should be avoided by people with certain medical conditions. All patients should check with their health care provider before starting any treatment or type of therapy.
Experts in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine field
Depending on the type of Complementary and Alternative treatment, there are different types of practitioners who specialize in delivering the services, including:
- Massage therapists
- Yoga instructors
- Biofeedback therapists
- Folk medicine practitioners
Ways to find experts in the field
You can seek referrals from:
- Medical schools
- Medical centers
- Professional organizations for therapists
- The National Library of Medicine’s Directory of Health Organizations Online
As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines is your own migraine specialist. These descriptions of natural remedies are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication or supplement without first checking with your physician. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.