Medical self-care has always been a primary means of caring for health problems. Educational materials and interventions have been used for centuries to improve the quality of medical self-care. However, relatively few studies have been undertaken to examine the effects of these interventions on the health of the individual or on the use of professional services. This review was undertaken to provide (1) a summary of studies describing the practice of medical self-care and (2) a summary of studies evaluating the impact of medical self-care interventions to improve self-initiated responses to symptoms. In addition, we summarize the effectiveness of those self-care interventions.