Conventional medicine comprises the orthodox treatments that Western doctors use as part of medical care. They include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal and biological therapies. These treatments are usually tested using scientific research methods to prove their benefits and possible side effects.
Complementary - or alternative - therapies are those which are not proven to the clinical standards of Western medicine but which have been used, in some cases, for millennia to relieve people's symptoms. Western doctors have been reluctant to recommend complementary therapies such as Shiatsu to their patients because they have not been scientifically tested in large trials by Western medical researchers. Although the situation is changing, more research is still needed to evaluate all complementary therapies in order to develop knowledge about the best way to use them.
Shiatsu is a Complementary Therapy
Meanwhile, many complementary therapies, including Shiatsu, are already being used in hospitals and hospices to complement conventional treatments. Most doctors are happy for their patients to use complementary therapy in this way. Although more large-scale research is needed to provide evidence of the health benefits of these therapies, many people who have tried, find that complementary therapies are very helpful to them in a number of ways.
People feel more positive about themselves and about their illness. They may be able to cope better with physical symptoms and side effects of treatment, and with the complex and often distressing emotions that a serious illness can bring.
Consult your doctor
If you are considering using Shiatsu as a complementary therapy for a medical condition, always discuss it with your doctor or healthcare professional first.