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It can complement or replace medical care, but it’s best to let your family doctor know about alternative medicine choices. Many work with you, such as medical student Jimmy Wu, who spent a summer in Beijing observing traditional Chinese medicine. See more modern medicine pictures.

AP Photo/Morry Gash

For those suffering from debilitating pain or a condition doctors can’t seem to treat, alternative medicine may offer some form of relief or simply help patients deal with life-changing health problems. Even healthy people may participate in practices like yoga, homeopathy or acupuncture to try to manage their health more holistically or avoid the chemicals used in standard drugs.

Nearly four out of 10 adults in the U.S. use some form of complementary or alternative medicine (also called CAM). Most of them rely on alternative care, holistic treatments and mind/body practices to supplement, not replace, traditional Western care and established medical treatment programs.

Before you engage in any form of alternative medical care, remember that conventional medicine normally is held to high standards of proven effectiveness and safety. Just because something is natural or holistic doesn’t mean it can’t damage your health or well-being. Talk to your doctor to determine the best way to add these 10 alternative medicine treatments into your wellness plan.