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What You Should Know About Alternative Medicine

Considering alternative medicine like acupuncture, aromatherapy or massage to treat a health condition? Here’s what you need to know before you consult a practitioner of alternative medicine. 

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1. What You Should Know About Acupuncture

Make sure you find a qualified, licensed acupuncturist (only some provinces license practitioners and license requirements vary between provinces; look into the regulations where you live). Let the acupuncture practitioner know about any medical conditions you have, or if you’re pregnant. People on anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs should talk to their doctor beforehand, since they may bleed easily despite the thinness of the needles. Electroacupuncture could cause problems for people with pacemakers-take caution and stick with traditional acupuncture if this applies to you.

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2. What You Should Know About Aromatherapy

Don’t take essential oils internally, or use if you’re pregnant. If you have a medical condition-especially asthma, sensitive skin, epilepsy or high blood pressure-or you recently had surgery, seek advice from your doctor before using aromatherapy. Also, use caution when using any new essential oil: try a small amount on a patch of skin first to see if you have any allergic reaction. Only use highly diluted essential oils for babies and children. Never use peppermint oil on a child younger than 30 months. Store these oils in dark bottles, tightly sealed, in a cool, dark place.

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3. What You Should Know About Chiropractic Treatment

Make sure you find a licensed, qualified chiropractor. If you have osteoarthritis of the neck, rheumatoid arthritis or vascular disease, especially in the carotid arteries, seek advice from your doctor before beginning chiropractic treatment. Also, tell your chiropractor about these or any other medical conditions: Practitioners of alternative medicine, like conventional doctors, benefit from knowing about your health history, in turn, benefitting you. Certain kinds of adjustments are not recommended with certain medical conditions; your practitioner should be aware of how to adapt the treatment plan accordingly.

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4. What You Should Know About Massage

Make sure you find a licensed, qualified massage therapist (again, only some provinces license massage therapists; be sure to look into the regulations in your area). Be specific about the reason you’re there and ask for a recommendation on the type of massage that is best for your condition. If you have any health conditions, such as cancer, fibromyalgia, a herniated disk or you’re pregnant-talk to your doctor before getting a massage and tell your massage therapist before the session. Avoid massage if you have a high fever, inflammation, an infection, phlebitis (inflammation of a vein), thrombosis (blood clot in a blood vessel) or jaundice. If you have had breast cancer with a lymph node dissection as part of your treatment, do not have massage on that arm.