Did you know?
Today more Americans are using complementary and alternative care to help manage or prevent many health conditions. Many adopt them as part of their cultural and personal beliefs and to promote a greater sense of emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to be a Kaiser Permanente member to receive complementary medicine?
The Kaiser Permanente Center for Complementary Medicine is open to everyone. You do not have to be a Kaiser Permanente member to come to our facilities and receive chiropractic, acupuncture, or massage treatment. Whether you are a member or nonmember, you will receive the same high-quality care.

Do I need a referral from my primary care physician?
No. You may contact the Center for Complementary Medicine directly to learn more about our services or to book an appointment.

Should I speak with my physician before treatment?
If you have any questions or hesitation about these types of treatment, speak with your primary care physician and tell him or her about the therapy you are considering. Ask any questions you may have about safety, effectiveness, or interactions with medications (prescription or nonprescription). Your physician may know about the therapy and be able to advise you on its safety and use.

What is complementary medicine?
Complementary medicine is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard care. Standard care is what medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, and other health professionals, such as registered nurses and physical therapists, practice. Complementary medicine treatments are used in addition to standard ones.

Complementary care is the use of nontraditional or alternative methods along with conventional Western medicine. Complementary care is also referred to as integrative or blended medicine. Using guided imagery techniques to help lessen your discomfort and speed recovery following surgery is an example of complementary care.

Alternative care is used in place of conventional medical treatments. Using melatonin to treat insomnia instead of a prescription sleep aid is an example of alternative care.

Is complementary medicine safe?
Different people will respond to treatments in different ways. How you might respond to a given treatment depends on many things, including your overall state of health, how the treatment is applied, or even your belief in the treatment.

Our practitioners of complementary medicine participate in a Kaiser Permanente-directed quality assurance program, ensuring the highest and most accurate quality of care is delivered to our patients.

The Center for Complementary Medicine is part of Kaiser Permanente's integrated delivery system. If you are a member, you will receive coordinated care from your whole Kaiser Permanente team. Your complementary medical practitioner, your primary care physician, and any specialists you are seeing will be able to access your electronic medical record to learn your health history and communicate with each other to design a program of care that meets your unique needs.

Why do people use complementary medicine?

  • Lifestyle changes

Complementary and alternative practices can help people make important health and lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety, and boosting energy and immune system responses, among other benefits.

  • Pain management

Chronic, recurring pain, such as back, neck, head, or joint aches, are the most common health reasons that Americans use complementary and alternative care.*

  • Other health issues

Complementary and alternative approaches may be able to help treat colds, anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal disorders, hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, sleep problems, and infertility.*

  • Prevention or reduction of side effects

A growing number of people believe that complementary and alternative care has fewer side effects than some conventional medical treatments.

  • To supplement conventional treatment

Some people may turn to complementary practices to help improve their symptoms if their health problems don't respond to conventional treatment alone.

  • Because it feels good

Therapeutic massage, aromatherapy, relaxation exercises, and other rituals can help you manage stress, quiet your mind, and feel better.

  • Mind-body connection

Complementary and alternative therapies often emphasize the connection between mind and body. Many people respond well to treatments that address their sense of mental well-being as well as their physical health.

  • Empowerment

Some people feel more involved and in control when they are participating actively in their health by using self-care practices such as meditation.

  • Personal and cultural beliefs

Some religions and cultures include complementary and alternative practices as part of their approach towards health and healing.

Will my pain stop after visiting the Center for Complementary Medicine?
Many of our patients report a reduction in pain after treatment. However, not all patients will benefit. Results vary by individual. Extensive research has shown that these types of procedures can aid in the reduction of pain.


*Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)

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Unless your coverage includes a separate rider for chiropractic and/or acupuncture benefits, the products and services described here are provided on a fee-for-service basis, separate from and not covered under your health plan benefits, and you are financially responsible to pay for them. Clinical services are provided by providers or contractors of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado, or employees of either Health Plan or Colorado Permanente Medical Group, P.C. Results of services vary among patients and cannot be guaranteed. For specific information about your health plan benefits, please see your Evidence of Coverage. Photos of models shown, not actual patients.

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