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The Truth About Complementary Approaches

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What comes to mind when you read these words: acupuncture, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, dietary supplements?

a) These things are for hippies who probably have homes full of crystals and incense.

b) I am skeptical that any of these things have a real chance of helping me.  I don’t want to waste my time, money, and energy.

c) I am following my medical doctor’s advice on medication and treatment. If any of these things were proven to work, my doctor would have prescribed them.

d) I am willing to try new ways of minimizing my pain, and want to know if these alternative therapies are safe.

e) Any combination of a-d.

The good news is, there is no right answer. Whatever your preconceptions about Complementary Approaches, I hope you will take some time to understand what they are, what the science says, and how you can use them to improve your quality of life with facial pain.

If you are skeptical, it should help to know that the National Institutes of Health created a whole agency – the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) in 1998 to scientifically research “the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health interventions and their roles in improving health and health care.” Researchers at the NCCIH look at the role of complementary health approaches in managing pain- and they are learning that some approaches may be helpful, where others may not.

A wonderful, new resource was just published by NCCIH, a Free Pain E-book that provides

  • basic facts about pain and complementary health approaches
  • safety considerations you should consider when trying these approaches
  • chapters on a variety of complementary approaches, summaries of the scientific information about whether they are safe and helpful, and information on additional, less studied approaches
  • topics you might want to think about when considering health approaches for pain
  • being an informed consumer
  • research on complementary approaches for pain

Download the free e-book here

Don’t forget, the FPA has webinars, articles and information on complementary approaches- explore our website and feel free to call or email us for assistance. We recommend that all people affected by facial pain become educated, active participants in treatment and I hope this new resource will help you do so.

Allison Feldman