Millions of Americans use complementary health approaches. Like any decision concerning your health, decisions about whether to use complementary approaches are important. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has developed this fact sheet to assist you in your decisionmaking about complementary health products and practices.
Take Charge of Your Health
- Be an informed consumer. Find out and consider what scientific studies have been done on the safety and effectiveness of any health approach that is recommended to or interests you.
- Discuss the information and your interests with your health care providers before making a decision.
- Choose a complementary health practitioner, such as an acupuncturist, as carefully as you would choose a conventional health care provider.
- Before using any dietary supplement or herbal product, make sure you find out about potential side effects or interactions with medications you may be taking.
- Only use treatments for your condition that have been proven safe. Do not use a product or practice that has not been proven to be effective to postpone seeing your health care provider for your condition.
- Tell all your health care providers—complementary and conventional—about all the health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.