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What to Consider When Seeking Alternative Therapies: A Practical Guide

Here at alternaleaf, we believe everyone should have access to a wide range of natural alternative and complementary medicines. One of many alternative therapies available is cannabis in Australia.

But not all alternative therapies are created equal. If you’re seeking alternatives for chronic pain, mental health, or other issues, it’s crucial to make informed decisions for your health and wellbeing.

What Are Alternative Therapies?

Alternative therapies are medical treatments that fall outside the realm of conventional or Western medicine. Alternative therapies are sometimes referred to as “complementary” or “holistic” medicine.

There’s a wide range of alternative therapies available. Alternative therapies can include:

  • Mind-body practices like yoga and meditation

  • Natural products including botanicals, vitamins, and supplements

  • Manipulative techniques like massage, chiropractic, and reflexology

  • Energy healing, e.g. reiki

Medical cannabis in Australia is one type of botanical alternative therapy, using the interactions between a natural product and our endocannabinoid system to promote health and wellness.

What Are The Benefits of Alternative Therapies Like Cannabis in Australia?

Many people seek out alternative therapies to complement or enhance the conventional medical treatment they are already receiving. Alternative therapies can offer symptom management across a range of debilitating symptoms that affect your quality of life.

For example, someone receiving chemotherapy for cancer may also use alternative therapies such as medical cannabis to manage the side effects of pain and nausea from the cancer treatment.

Some patients also seek alternative therapies when they have not had success with traditional medical treatment or they have experienced unwanted side effects, such as changes in mood, dependence, tolerance development, and other adverse reactions.

4 Things To Consider When Seeking Alternative Therapies

By their nature, alternative therapies have a less robust evidence base than traditional medicine. However, this does not mean they aren’t effective.

As more research is carried out, the evidence base for the effectiveness of some of these alternatives, like medical cannabis, is growing.

For now, however, it means patients should research carefully before choosing a particular therapy. Here are four things to consider when seeking alternative therapies:

1. Take a More Holistic Approach

The first thing to consider is choosing a practitioner who takes a holistic approach. Your practitioner should get detailed information about your medical history, condition, symptoms, and previous treatments you've tried. They should be interested in how your condition has impacted your quality of life.

During your initial telehealth consultation at alternaleaf, this information helps your prescribing practitioner come up with a highly personalised treatment plan.

2. Knowledge of Your Condition

As with conventional medicine, alternative medicine practitioners specialise in particular conditions.

Choose a practitioner with deep interest and expertise in your condition. At alternaleaf, all of our Patient Care Team are deeply knowledgeable and experienced with working with alternative therapies.

3. Evidence-Based Practice

While there is less evidence for alternative therapies, that doesn’t mean there is none. Good practitioners will stay informed about the latest research and best practices in their field.

As more evidence emerges quickly for alternative therapies — especially cannabis — it’s important to work with someone who is interested in and adaptable to the growing body of knowledge.

4. Using Alternative and Traditional Medicine

Finally, look for a practitioner willing to work with your conventional medical providers. Most alternative therapies are not replacements for conventional medicines, and it can be dangerous to stop other medical treatments in favour of alternative therapies.

The best practitioners will take a comprehensive view of your treatment and conditions and prescribe alternative therapies accordingly. By providing a complete picture of your health, your practitioner can help you treat all physical, mental, and emotional effects of your condition.

The alternaleaf Approach to Medical Cannabis in Australia

At alternaleaf, our doctors and nurses are highly trained and experienced with both traditional medicine and medical cannabis. They use their extensive knowledge and the latest evidence to prescribe appropriate therapies for your condition.

If you’re interested in trying an alternative therapy, complete our free screening to see if you’re eligible. You’ll then be invited for a consultation with our expert team to determine exactly which treatment is right for you.

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