We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
You are here:
> > > Complementary and alternative medicines

Complementary and alternative medicines

Jars of essential oils

Complementary and alternative medicine refers to a wide range of therapies and practices that are outside mainstream medicine.

Complementary medicine uses therapies that work alongside conventional medicine.

Alternative medicine includes treatments not currently considered part of evidence-based Western medicine.

‘Integrated’ medicine means that conventional, complementary and alternative therapies are brought together.

Alternative and complementary medicine or therapies aren’t always totally separate. For this reason, the term ‘complementary and alternative medicine’ (or CAM) is now widely used to include both approaches.


0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

Ask a question
For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.