I was misusing these terms. Complementary medicine is used in addition to traditional medicine - like acupuncture. Alternative medicine is used instead of traditional medicine - like herbal remedies, prayer, etc.
I am not so sure about alternative medicine. I think they are outside my comfort zone.
Complementary medicine has made me skeptical in the past. But I think my horizons are expanding for many reasons. I joined a support group during chemo and someone suggested Reiki for stress reduction. I tried it once and it made me relax. I tried it a few more times but decided I didn't like the woman doing the Reiki so I quit. She actually had me try expressive arts as well. Which in looking back, was helpful.
I have several friends who have tried acupuncture, Reiki, and massage for stress and pain relief. I was a weinie and didn't try. Acupuncture involves needles of which I have never been a fan. Reiki I considered but never thought that much of it again. Massage I would do but I was told not to have any massage because of my back and lymphedema issues. Sometimes I would kill for a hot stone massage...
Now I am going to acupuncture regularly. I think it is helping me with stress and with relaxing more. I am not sure yet on back pain. I had acupuncture on Saturday and then Sunday afternoon and evening (and this morning) was in a lot of pain. But that could be from sitting through a movie yesterday as well. But I think acupuncture has its uses.
If I ever have more cancer treatments (I was going to say 'If I ever have cancer again' but since they never know if it goes away I decided that wasn't right) I will definitely incorporate more acupuncture and Reiki into my treatment. They would complement my other treatments. But on the other hand, why wait? Maybe I'll try it sooner. I guess I am a convert.