There are many different forms of complementary, natural or holistic therapy, eg. osteopathy, aromatherapy, massage, reflexology, herbal remedies and nutritional therapy, to name just a few.
Currently there is little research into these approaches, particularly in their effect on M.E.
Some focus on specific areas, such as problems with pain, sleep or mood. Some are associated with an increased feeling of well-being. Others aim to treat the body and mind as a whole.
Many are based on different ideas about how the body works from orthodox medicine. Some use medical or medical sounding terms, but with different meanings.
It is helpful to think of any therapy outside of those prescribed by your doctor as ‘complementary’: to be used alongside, rather than instead of conventional treatment.
Some complementary therapies, such as homeopathy and acupuncture, may be available on the NHS. There are four NHS homeopathic hospitals in the UK.
Make sure you read our guidelines on using a private practitioner and consult your doctor about any new therapy, as some treatments may be harmful if taken with other medications, or if you are pregnant.
Read past articles about complementary/alternative approaches in our InterAction archive.