Understanding alternative and complimentary therapies

There is still some confusion about Complementary and Alternative therapies. ‘Complementary therapies’ is often used to describe treatments used alongside, or integrated with, evidence-based conventional medical treatments, whereas ‘alternative therapies’ are used instead of, or independently of medical treatments.

Many patients and families will use complementary therapies or may want further information on them. It is important that health professionals are understanding of people when they choose not to have traditional medicines and treatments. It is also important that patients are well informed about any complementary or alternative therapies that they are currently using or are considering.

Many nurses are increasing their awareness and involvement in these areas. CareSearch has brought together information and resources on Complementary Therapies that would be of interest to nurses. This may include information about providing complementary therapies or being asked to administer some therapies or medications. 

Last updated 20 August 2021