Complementary Versus Alternative
The two terms refer to different concepts:
True alternative medicine is not common. Most people use non-mainstream approaches along with conventional treatments. And the boundaries between complementary and conventional medicine overlap and change with time. For example, guided imagery and massage, both once considered complementary or alternative, are used regularly in some hospitals to help with pain management.
This array of non-mainstream health care approaches may also be considered part of integrative medicine or integrative health care.
For example, cancer treatment centers with integrative health care programs may offer services such asacupuncture and meditation to help manage symptoms and side effects for patients who are receiving conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.
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