Alternative Medicine: What’s Safe, What’s Not And What Actually Works

Americans spend billions each year trying alternative treatments for aches and pains, sleepless nights and more.

While some alternative medicine practices work, some don’t. Some are even dangerous.

Sometimes mainstream medicine doesn’t offer the best fix for chronic pain, stress, and insomnia. Evidence shows alternative treatments including meditation, yoga and tai chi can help with chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

Before reaching for pill or vitamin bottles, try a more natural remedy.

“The first thing you do shouldn’t be pills or something like melatonin,” said Friedman. “But there is something you can try called cognitive behavioral therapy. And that’s something that can help you disrupt poor sleeping habits and set you on a better course to healthier sleep.”

Self-motivated cognitive behavioral therapy aims to improve mental health by improving emotions and developing personal coping strategies.

Experts say, with alternative treatments, the more serious the problem, the more cautious you should be. Before trying any new plan, talk to your doctor first.