Complementary Medicine – Fibromyalgia – Alternative Medicine

Many people with Fibromyalgia that use Complementary and Alternative Medicine report varying degrees of success including massage, movement therapies (Feldenkrais method), relaxation therapy, chiropractic and acupuncture.  If you are using or would like to try a complementary or alternative medicine for fibromyalgia, you should first speak with your doctor who may know more about the therapy’s effectiveness, as well as whether it is safe to try in combination with your medications.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine.   While some scientific evidence exists regarding the use of complementary and alternative medicine for fibromyalgia, there are key questions that are yet to be answered through well-designed scientific studies.  Complementary medicine is used for FIBROMYALGIA together with conventional medicine, and  fibromyalgia sufferers can use Alternative Medicine in place of conventional medicine.

The terms Complementary Medicine and Alternative Medicine get used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.  However, Complementary Medicine may use the same therapies as Alternative Medicine. Complementary Medicine and Alternative Medicine are described by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) as follows:

  • Complementary Medicine is used together with conventional medicine.
  • Alternative Medicine is used in place of conventional medicine.

Complementary Medicine, as well as Alternative Medicine are categorized into five types of therapies:

  1. Alternative Medical Systems
  2. Mind-Body Interventions
  3. Biologically Based Therapies
  4. Manipulative and Body-Based Methods
  5. Energy Therapies

Complementary Medicine in the Alternative Medical Systems category would use systems such as Homeopathic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the Mind-Body category a physician may help control symptoms of a patient’s illness by using techniques like Meditation, Yoga, or Biofeedback. The Biologically Based Therapies that may be used in Complementary Medicine would consist of the physician prescribing various dietary supplements and herbal products. In the Manipulative and Body-Based category, the physician may refer you to a Chiropractor or Massage Therapist. And finally, in the Energy Therapy category the Complementary Medicine physician may use one of two types of therapy: Acupuncture, Qi Gong, Reiki or Therapeutic Touch.