Health Care

Today, many people are turning to alternative health care and complementary medicine for their health care needs due to rising costs of traditional western medicine.

When considering an alternative healthcare approach, however, make sure to educate yourself about the supplements, procedures, or risks involved.

Alternative supplements can be a great introduction to the complementary medical field. Many of us already take vitamins and herbs for preventative measures against illness or to create a greater sense of well-being.

However, make sure to take note of the possibility that these supplements may interact with medications you are currently taking. Such interactions may be harmful or even fatal.

An example of a commonly used supplement is St. John’s Wort, a mild antidepressant. St. John’s Wort acts to prevent the reuptake of seratonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with an elevated mood, thereby creating a feeling of happiness.

This mechanism of action is very similar to antidepressants currently on the market such as Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac, and because of this, using St. John’s Wort in addition to these more conventional medications can cause problems due to drug interactions.

Also keep in mind that when using supplements, no herbs or vitamins should be considered a “magic bullet.” Alternative supplements such as vitamins and herbs are meant to act just as that – supplements – and not substitutes for eating nutritious food or practicing a healthy lifestyle.

Another common introduction to alternative healthcare practices are acupuncture and massage therapy. Both considered non-traditional alternatives that have shown to be beneficial in those suffering with low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, and other disorders, acupuncture and massage may be practiced by individuals without the proper training.

When looking for an alternative healthcare provider, make sure to take note of whether he or she has a license or accreditation from his or her field.