The common question that I am asked by many patients with asthma is “doctor can I use other systems of medicine along with this?” Usually I do not object to this and my usual answer is to continue both but if some one is advised to stop main line therapy and use only alternative therapy I take pains to give proper advice. by explaining the importance of and definition of complimentary therapy and alternative therapy.
All of us are aware of the other medications available for asthma. But the main line therapy for asthma is inhalers and to be specific steroid inhalers. If any other system is added to this group it is not harmful. But if a person is advised to stop inhalers and use only complimentary treatment it is suicidal.
There are many terms used to describe approaches to asthma care that are out side the realm of the optimum asthma care. Complimentary and alternative medicine is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not presently considered to be part of the conventional medical practice. Some scientific evidence exists for some complimentary therapies but for most key scientific evidences are lacking. For example many believe that yogas will cure asthma. In reality it only compliments main line asthma therapy. Some of the mild asthmatics would improve very well. But there is no scientific data to say that yoga and exercise can replace treatment although enough data is there to prove that they can compliment each other.
This brings us to an important question of the difference between complimentary therapy and alternative therapy. Complimentary therapy is used along with routine treatment. Alternative treatment therapy is used as an alternative to conventional medicine. An example of this to use a special diet to cure cancer instead of chemotherapy or surgery.
Complimentary asthma therapy means that non-traditional treatments such as massage, yoga and similar treatments are employed. These treatments are used in conjunction with traditional therapies in most cases. These therapies compliment the use of prescription medication and other treatment provided by your medical doctor. Alternative therapy means that herbal and other natural treatments are implemented, often in place of traditional therapies. Sometimes, however, these alternative treatments are used along with traditional therapies just as in complimentary therapies.