Complementary/integrative therapies that work: A review of the evidence

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Significant evidence supports the effectiveness and safety of several complementary or integrative treatment approaches to common primary care problems. Acupuncture is effective in the management of chronic low back pain. Mind-body interventions such as cognitive behavior therapy, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and music therapy may be helpful for treating insomnia. Exercise can reduce anxiety symptoms. Herbal preparations and nutritional supplements can be useful as first-line therapy for certain conditions, such as fish oil for hypertriglyceridemia, St. John’s wort for depression, and Ginkgo biloba extract for dementia, or as adjunctive therapy, such as coenzyme Q10 for heart failure. Probiotic supplementation can significantly reduce the likelihood of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Physicians should caution patients about interactions, and counsel them about the quality and safety of herbal and nutritional supplements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-374
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Family Physician
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016


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