Feature Archive

Complementary Therapies

If you're considering the use of complementary therapies...

By Lynda Liu
WebMD Feature

If you're considering the use of complementary therapies... By Lynda Liu WebMD Feature Like a growing number of Western-trained physicians, Meg Hayes, M.D., integrates some principles of alternative medicine into her practice. Hayes is a family practice physician and an assistant professor at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. Here Hayes offers her insights on being a smart alternative health care consumer.

First, Do No Harm

If you are considering an alternative approach, educate yourself about its risks and benefits. Find out which conditions the therapy helps and which conditions it might worsen. For example, chiropractic spinal manipulation may help with acute, uncomplicated low back pain, but it is not advisable if you have osteoporosis or a bone tumor.

"Traditional allopathic (Western) medicine is really the best system for many common and serious problems," Hayes says. She suggests relying on Western medicine when it comes to acute trauma as may result from a car accident. It's also advised for acute infections, medical emergencies such as a heart attack or anaphylactic allergic reaction, surgical emergencies such as appendicitis or bowel obstruction, high-risk pregnancies, or any symptoms that are traumatic, persistent, or alarming.