or Fringe Medicine
- includes practices claimed to have the healing effects of medicine but which are dis proven, unproven, impossible to prove, or are excessively harmful in relation to their effect; and where the scientific consensus is that the therapy does not, or can not, work because the known laws of nature are violated by its basic claims; or where it is considered so much worse than conventional treatment that it would be unethical to offer as treatment. Alternative therapies or diagnoses are not part of medicine or science-based healthcare systems. Alternative medicine consists of a wide variety of practices, products, and therapies - ranging from those that are biologically plausible but not well tested, to those with known harmful and toxic effects. Contrary to popular belief, significant expense is paid to test alternative medicine, including over $2.5 billion spent by the United States government.
Methods & Therapies Are Listed From A - Z
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Almost none show any effect beyond that of false treatment. Perceived effects of alternative medicine may be caused by placebo; decreased effect of functional treatment (and therefore potentially decreased side effects); and regression toward the mean where improvement that would have occurred anyway is credited to alternative therapies; or any combination of the above. Alternative treatments are neither the same as experimental medicine, nor traditional medicine — although the latter, when used today may be considered alternative.
Alternative medicine has grown in popularity and is used by a significant percentage of the population in many countries. While it has extensively re-branded itself: from quackery to complementary or integrative medicine—it promotes essentially the same practices. Newer proponents often suggest alternative medicine be used together with functional medical treatment, in a belief that it "complements" (improves the effect of, or mitigates the side effects of) the treatment. There is no evidence showing they do so, and significant drug interactions caused by alternative therapies may instead negatively influence treatments, making them less effective, notably cancer therapy. Despite being illegal to market alternative therapies for cancer treatment in most of the developed world, many cancer patients use them.
Alternative medical diagnoses and treatments are not taught as part of science-based curricula in medical schools, and are not used in any practice where treatment is based on scientific knowledge or proven experience. Alternative therapies are often based on religion, tradition, superstition, belief in supernatural energies, pseudoscience, errors in reasoning, propaganda, fraud, or lies. Regulation and licensing of alternative medicine and health care providers varies between and within countries.
Alternative medicine is criticized for being based on misleading statements, quackery, pseudoscience, antiscience, fraud, or poor scientific methodology. Promoting alternative medicine has been called dangerous and unethical. Testing alternative medicine that has no scientific basis has been called a waste of scarce research resources. Critics state "there is really no such thing as alternative medicine, just medicine that works and medicine that doesn't", and the problem with the idea of "alternative" treatments in this sense is that the "underlying logic is magical, childish or downright absurd". It has been strongly suggested that the very idea of any alternative treatment that works is paradoxical, as any treatment proven to work is by definition "medicine".
Complementary Medicine (CM)
or Integrative medicine (IM)
- is when alternative medicine is used together with functional medical treatment, in a belief that it improves the effect of treatments. However, significant drug interactions caused by alternative therapies may instead negatively influence treatment, making treatments less effective, notably cancer therapy. Both terms refer to use of alternative medical treatments alongside conventional medicine, an example of which is use of acupuncture (sticking needles in the body to influence the flow of a supernatural energy), along with using science-based medicine, in the belief that the acupuncture increases the effectiveness or "complements" the science-based medicine.
CAM is an abbreviation of complementary and alternative medicine. It has also been called sCAM or SCAM with the addition of "so-called" or "supplements". The words balance and holism are often used, claiming to take into account a "whole" person, in contrast to the supposed reductionism of medicine. Due to its many names the field has been criticized for intense rebranding of what are essentially the same practices: as soon as one name is declared synonymous with quackery, a new one is chosen.