7 doctors weighed in:
What's the difference between complementary and alternative medicine?
7 doctors weighed in

Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry
5 doctors agree
In brief: Shades of difference
Most would say that "alternative" medicine can be used "instead of" conventional approaches, and involves whole different methods of diagnosis and treatment.
"complementary" methods are more often meant to be used along with conventional treatments, sometimes to ease side effects or to bring in aspects the conventional treatments may not include (such as spirituality, etc).

In brief: Shades of difference
Most would say that "alternative" medicine can be used "instead of" conventional approaches, and involves whole different methods of diagnosis and treatment.
"complementary" methods are more often meant to be used along with conventional treatments, sometimes to ease side effects or to bring in aspects the conventional treatments may not include (such as spirituality, etc).
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Thank
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Probably semantic
They are both terms used to identify applications of treatment outside of the usual mainstream of allopathic medical treatments (drugs, surgery) but those margins are blurring.
Traditionally complementary meant adding other approaches like acupuncture, nutritional focus to alloopathic practice and alternative defined those disciplines outside of allopathic medicine. Again margins blurring.

In brief: Probably semantic
They are both terms used to identify applications of treatment outside of the usual mainstream of allopathic medical treatments (drugs, surgery) but those margins are blurring.
Traditionally complementary meant adding other approaches like acupuncture, nutritional focus to alloopathic practice and alternative defined those disciplines outside of allopathic medicine. Again margins blurring.
Dr. Catherine Willner
Dr. Catherine Willner
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