Methods of validating research in complementary therapies
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.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 very idea of any alternative treatment that works is paradoxical, as any treatment proven to work is by definition "medicine".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 .5 billion spent by the United States government.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.
Authors have speculated on the socio-cultural and psychological reasons for the appeal of alternative medicines among the minority using them in lieu of conventional medicine.
Providers of CAM tend to build better therapeutic relationships than mainstream healthcare professionals.
In turn, this implies that much of the popularity of CAM is a poignant criticism of the failure of mainstream healthcare.
Alternative medicine or fringe medicine are practices claimed to have the healing effects of medicine but which are disproven, unproven, or 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.While it has extensively rebranded itself: from quackery to complementary or integrative medicine—it promotes essentially the same practices.