Complementary and alternative medicine for rheumatic diseases

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Complementary and alternative medicine includes a heterogeneous spectrum of approaches to health and wellness, in addition to disease treatment, which span ancient to new-age modalities. Over the last 5 years, there has been a substantial increase in the use of specific complementary and alternative medicine therapies, particularly mind–body interventions. Patients with rheumatic diseases and musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis may suffer not only from the physical manifestations of illness, but also from the nutritional, emotional, social and spiritual context in which their illness arises. The majority of these patients seek adjunctive care outside the medical mainstream. This article provides an evidence-based assessment of the therapeutic benefits of some mind–body interventions for several of these disorders.

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