Second Opinion Of Alternative Medicine?

Mimi Guarneri, M.D., Scripps

Question: When is it appropriate to seek a second opinion on an alternative medicine treatment?

Answer: The question about when to seek a second opinion for alternative medicine treatment really raises lots of issues. When someone has a medical condition, I believe that it's best that they see an integrative medicine physician. By that I mean a physician or practitioner that's conventionally trained in the kind of medicine I learned in the United States, western allopathic medicine, and someone who also understands simultaneously the benefits of other healing traditions like traditional Chinese medicine.

I think we narrow our options when we go just one way, alternative medicine, or the other way, with just straightforward conventional medicine. Now conventional medicine is great if you have an emergency, if you need a surgery, if you need a bypass, if you need medication such as an antibiotic. That's where conventional medicine excels.

Integrative medicine combines that with lifestyle, yoga, meditation, supplements. So I prefer the term integrative medicine, and if anyone has a question about what else is available for them besides conventional medicine, I recommend seeing an integrative medicine practitioner.

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