Complementary medicine refers to a group of disciplines that exist outside of commonly practised, conventional health care. Complementary medicine is increasing among health practices, examples being osteopathy, chiropractors, acupuncture and herbal medicine.
Between the 1970s and 1980s, the previously mentioned disciplines were provided as an alternative to the conventional healthcare people were used to, hence why it was previously known as ‘alternative healthcare.’ The reason why it acquired the name of ‘complementary medicine’ is because the two systems eventually developed to be used alongside one another. Some use the term ‘unconventional medicine’ synonymously - this changing of the term may explain some confusion that surrounds the subject!
Despite conventional healthcare’s recognition of complementary medicine, the NHS will not offer complementary medicines as a service. Private, independent practitioners will have to be contacted separately, which means they are certainly not free of charge like the NHS. Although this is something they are willing to give advice on in order to ensure you receive the best care, and also make sure you aren’t spending a lot of money.
The practice of complementary medicine is highly regulated by laws that make sure all practitioners are properly qualified and abide by certain codes of practice. Although this only refers to those who practice both osteopaths and chiropractors. There are no professional regulations of any other complementary practitioners, therefore besides these two, it is perfectly legal to practice any other.
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