While large numbers of Americans are now seeking health care and therapies outside of mainstream Western medicine, there is a long and rich history of alternative medical treatments. Botanical medicine, which uses herbs and natural remedies, and traditional Chinese medicine, which combines botany with practices like acupuncture and moxibustion, are two of branches of alternative medicine – "complementary therapies" – that are believed to work alongside conventional treatment. Complementary Therapies brings to light some of the treasures of the collections of the Center for the History of Medicine and includes the first Western texts dealing with Chinese medicine and acupuncture; a copy of John Gerard's 1636 Herball; rare publications from the Thomsonian botanical movement; Lam Qua watercolor studies of tumor patients treated in Canton in the 1840s; and a model of Aké, a Chinese youth with a parasitic twin, and an account of his case from 1821.
Complementary Therapies is an exhibit curated by Jack Eckert for the Center for the History of Medicine. The online exhibit was created in OnView by Andra Langoussis in September 2013.