Wondering if acupuncture will help relieve your headaches? Is it a good idea to take St. John's wort for depression if you have a heart condition? These days, more and more people are turning to once-considered alternative therapies to complement conventional medical treatments, but is it always a good idea?

"Maybe, maybe not," says Brent Bauer, M.D., the director of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine program at the Mayo Clinic. "People who choose alternative medicine need to make sure the treatment they are pursuing isn't actually harmful to their health."

To provide consumers with a reliable source for information on integrative and alternative medicine, Mayo Clinic published the "Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine"  (Time Inc. Home Entertainment, January 2007, $24.95).

"We put this book together because we realize that with so much information available to people through the Internet and other sources, it's difficult to sort through the advertising claims and hype and find reliable sources for information about natural therapies. Our intent is for this book to be a good starting point for a conversation that consumers will ultimately have with their doctor about whether the treatment they are considering will work for them," says Dr. Bauer, the book's medical editor-in-chief.

The book is available in bookstores nationwide or by visiting www.bookstore.mayoclinic.com.


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