Alternative medicine

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Alternative medicine is the use of a nonconventional approach instead of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is a nonconventional approach used along with conventional medicine.

Usually, when people turn to alternative medicine it's to improve their health. But there are numerous dietary supplements and herbal products designed to suppress the appetite or aid in weight loss, and these products may be abused by people with eating disorders. Such products can have potentially dangerous interactions with other medications.

Additionally, weight-loss supplements or herbs can have serious side effects, such as irregular heartbeats, confusion, nausea, dizziness and nervousness.

Talk with your doctor before trying any alternative medicine. Natural doesn't always mean safe. Your doctor can help you understand possible risks and benefits before you try a treatment.

Reduce stress and anxiety

Complementary treatments may help reduce anxiety in people with eating disorders. Such treatments may help people with eating disorders by reducing stress, promoting relaxation and increasing a sense of well-being.

Examples of anxiety-reducing complementary treatments include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
Feb. 14, 2015