How to Start a Conversation About Complementary Modalities With Your Patients

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Oftentimes, patients themselves research complementary medicine and herbs and bring up their interest in such lifestyle change to their provider. But what about the opposite: How should a practitioner approach patients about the use of complementary modalities and introduce this way of thinking to patients? In this video, Neha Shah, MD, offers suggestions.

Additional Resource:

Shah N. Complementary medicine & herbs for the rheumatology patient. Session presented at: American College of Rheumatology Convergence 2020; November 5-9, 2020; Virtual. 

Neha Shah, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Immunology & Rheumatology at Stanford University. There, she also serves as the program director for the Adult Rheumatology Fellowship.


Neha Shah: It is often true that these sort of questions are patient‑driven, and the patients are coming to their physicians.

In those who may not be aware of that diet, for example, can have an impact on their inflammation, it’s not a huge preponderance of data, but there are studies that support a more anti‑inflammatory Mediterranean style diet can have an impact on rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and several of our other diseases that are driven by inflammation.

It certainly is within evidence‑based practice for a physician to say to their patients that making some simple changes to their diets, such as cutting out processed foods and limiting their intake of red meat and other foods that are high in omega‑6 fatty acids, that this is based on evidence and are recommendations that they can make to their patients.