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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are complementary therapies in palliative care?

    Related Topic
    What are complementary therapies and how do they work with palliative care?
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  • CareSearch is an online resource designed to help those needing relevant and trustworthy information and resources about palliative care. The website has been funded by … View Profile

    Complementary therapies’ describes treatments that are used alongside conventional medical treatments. Sometimes people talk of ‘alternative therapies’. These are used instead of, or independently of medical treatments.

    Complementary therapies include:

    • herbal medicine
    • dietary supplements and tonics
    • creams, injections, powders
    • homoeopathic medicines
    • vitamin and mineral supplements
    • acupuncture
    • chiropractic
    • mind-body therapies
    • massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and many other therapies.

    more information...Complementary therapies can be expensive. You may be able to access these services from your palliative care or local health service. Health professionals can help you to access these therapies. They may attract a small fee or be free of charge. Private health insurance extras cover may also cover some therapies, such as acupuncture. Complementary therapies are available from a range of private providers as well.

    You may already use complementary therapies. Some have been shown to be helpful, but there may be little evidence that supports their use. Some therapies may have side effects or even be harmful. It is important to let your health professionals know if you are using any complementary or alternative therapies. They could also interact with your other medications or medical treatments. It is also important to let your complementary therapist know about your medical treatments and medications.

    Complementary therapies may not be continued if you are admitted to hospital or a hospice. This is especially true if the doctors and nurses don’t know what you are taking. It is best to talk about this with them.

    You can find information on some of the more common therapies on the CareSearch website.

    CareSearch is an online source of free, trustworthy evidence-based palliative care information with separate sections written specifically for consumers and health professionals. We are funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

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