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Understanding the difference in Complementary, Alternative and Integrative therapies.

Ever wondered what Complementary, Alternative and Integrative therapies mean and how they can be used?

Based on the article written by Dr. J.E. Gellis, MD and published in Pain Medicine in 2017.

Looking at what has been experimented on and scientifically tested around the world, the author compiled several studies that can provide scientific support to beneficial effects of alternative medicine and therapies to the abating and/or treatment of various diseases, pain, and mood disorders in humans. As alternative medicine and therapies become more and more popular in western culture, it is important to understand the definitions of each of these therapies.

According to the (US) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) (formerly National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine):

“Complementary” generally refers to using a non-mainstream approach together with conventional medicine.
“Alternative” refers to using a non-mainstream approach in place of conventional medicine.

J.E. Gellis (2017)

Although Dr. Gellis mentions four types of therapies in her article (to read full chapter click here), we will only cover what Dr. Gellis has classified as biologically based therapies (e.g., herbs, foods), as Vitality® New Zealand products are classified.

Herbs and fruits have been used to treat pain and other ailments for centuries. Foods that are used in the treatment of pain are outside the nightshade family and their effect on pain is linked to the anti-inflammatory substances present in the chemical composition of fresh food and produce, such as anthocyanins, omega 3 and minerals (all present in elevated concentrations in New Zealand blackcurrants).

Dietary supplements that contain herbs are regulated, in the USA, by the Food & Drug Association (FDA). Manufacturers, however, are not required to have FDA’s approval before putting their products in the market, but they must provide enough scientific support of the health benefit that their products claim. This is all for the protection of the patients, as Dr. Gellis warns, so they can make an educated choice of what dietary supplement to take for their ailment, since there is always the potential risk of adverse herb-drug interactions (see article for citations).

Notwithstanding, complementary, alternative and integrative therapies are becoming more present in the Western medicine landscape to treat pain, as well as cancer and mood disorders, and Vitality® New Zealand health supplements are up to speed with the advances. Our products can be used in conjunction with certain allopathic medicines in the management of several ailments such as high blood pressure, asthma, eye strain, anxiety, among others (see our Research page for list of scientific articles on the health benefits of blackcurrants). Always remember to consult your physician before starting on any new therapy!