What Are Complementary Therapies?


Once side-lined to the realms of hippy health therapy and decried as an unconventional approach that didn’t have the scientific weight to alleviate health concerns, attitudes towards complementary therapies have changed for the better. Today, complementary therapies are proving to be an incredible tool for combatting a whole host of health concerns by both holistic health enthusiasts and clinical medical professionals alike. In our often hectic and unhealthy world, more and more people are seeking alternative healing systems to heal their aches, pains and ailments, and medical professionals are increasingly prescribing complementary therapies to practice alongside conventional clinical medicine. 

Many complementary therapies have their roots in ancient Eastern philosophies of health and take a holistic approach to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. By considering all aspects of your wellbeing and lifestyle as a whole, complementary therapies don’t simply seek to treat particular symptoms but rather incorporate all aspects of your life to heal, cure, repair and revive your mind, body and spirit. 

There are innumerable practices, products and health care systems that fall under the broad category of complementary therapy, each with their particular theory and practice. But all complementary therapies are identifiable for existing outside of conventional medical practices. 

Whether you suffer from a chronic illness or issue in your body, are searching for a natural and health-enhancing practice to boost the effectiveness of your conventional medical treatments, or are simply looking to improve your overall health and happiness, complementary therapy could be for you. 

In this post, we take a closer look at complementary therapies — what they are, the benefits of investing in them and some of the most popular complementary therapies out there. 

What Is the Difference between Complementary and Alternative Therapies? 

Complementary therapy falls under the general umbrella of Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAMs), which encompasses all treatments that exist outside of mainstream, standard healthcare. Both complementary and alternative therapies are used to treat and cure health conditions. So what exactly are complementary therapies and how are they different from alternative medicine? 

As a general rule,  if the non-standard therapy is used alongside conventional medicine, it’s considered to be a complementary therapy. If the treatment is used in place of conventional medicine, it’s considered to be an alternative therapy. Of course, these two categories can overlap. For example, aromatherapy may be used alongside mainstream medicine as a complementary therapy, but it can also be used on its own as an alternative therapy. 

Are Complementary Therapies Right for Me?

Complementary therapies are a broad range of therapies designed to improve your health and are a safe way of complementing conventional medical approaches. Because complementary therapies are usually non-invasive and natural, anyone can benefit from them. But you might be particularly interested in trying out a complementary therapy if you suffer from any of the following:  

  • Neck, back and joint pain
  • Anxiety, depression and mental illness 
  • Arthritis 

The Benefits of Complementary Therapies

Fewer Side Effects 

Conventional medicine often takes the attitude it is for “the greater good.” For while conventional medicine will targeting one health issue, it often results in a long list of nasty potential side effects. These side effects range from small, temporary problems such as nausea and vomiting, to more serious long-term implications including heart failure, liver failure and even death. 

Complementary therapies are low-risk, non-invasive, and sustainable. By approaching a health issue holistically, complementary therapies work with your body to ensure your overall health and wellbeing and help to reduce the risks that result from other, conventional forms of medicine. 

Easy to Practice

Conventional medicine often requires a long list of drugs, surgeries, and treatments that can be both costly and time-consuming. Complementary therapies normally use natural ingredients and holistic therapies that are readily accessible — and without a hefty price tag. Consider yoga, a popular complementary therapy — all you need is a mat, a little space and some time. 

Improves Your Relationship with Your Health

Complementary therapy — as a form of holistic therapy — teaches you how to recenter, revive, and rebalance your mind, body and spirit. By becoming aware of the imbalances and interconnectedness of your mind and body, complementary therapy helps you to understand your body in an integrated and holistic way. When you’re aware of how your stress relates to your back pain or your anxiety relates to your gut health, you’re more empowered to make the best decisions about your health and lifestyle. 

Long-Term Benefits for Your Health 

Very few people use complementary therapy as a short-term solution as, for many, the changes and benefits of their therapy become part of their everyday life. For example, someone may start to practice meditation alongside taking antidepressants to help them to deal with their anxiety disorder, but continue to practice meditation long after they finish their medication as a way of grounding, recentering and reconnecting. 

Top Complementary Therapies to Try

There are hundreds of different types of complementary therapy to try and each individual will benefit from a different kind. But if you’re interested in dipping your toes into complementary therapy, here are some of the most popular complementary therapies out there:

Finding your perfect complementary therapy has never been easier than with Holistic Therapies. Browse our selection of complementary therapies using our service and location search and boost your health, happiness and wellbeing today.