Complementary medicines

Ursula Werneke

in New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199696758
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743221 | DOI:
Complementary medicines

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Complementary medicines pose a particular challenge to medical practitioners who may feel that their patients need conventional treatment but often find themselves out of their depth when patients ask about complementary therapies. Pharmacological options include herbal medicines, certain foods, and nutritional supplements such as vitamins and minerals. Physical treatments include acupuncture, massage, and osteopathy to name a few. Treatments, which purport to achieve their effects through changes in internal ‘energy flow’ include reiki, reflexology, healing, and therapeutic touch, and also homeopathy and traditional Chinese acupuncture. All these treatments are either used alternatively, i.e. instead of, or complementary, i.e. in addition to, conventional medicine. In patients with mental health problems, depending on the definition and inclusion criteria, estimates of the prevalence of complementary medicine use range from 8 per cent to 57 per cent. Depression and anxiety seem to be the most common indications.

Chapter.  3040 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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