Talk:Alternative medicine

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The Food and Drug Administration in the United States warns the public to be wary of health products which are marketed without backing of research

I put this image in the article. Are there any objections to either it or the caption? If so, what are they? Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:26, 30 June 2014 (UTC)

  • Marginal support. I'd like to hear an explanation of what it adds that would be considered encyclopedic. I'll go with the consensus either way. - - MrBill3 (talk) 15:39, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
It is an illustration of the sort the FDA uses to advertise public health campaigns about alternative medicine awareness. The caption could be changed to further emphasize that point. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:48, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose: not encyclopedic, tendentious. Qexigator (talk) 17:54, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
Qexigator You are right, it is. I just got feedback about a similar image at Statin#Society_and_culture. My intent was to share an image from a significant public health campaign, not to take a position, and I think changing the caption would make this more encyclopedic. Would it be less problematic to change the caption to "Public health educational advertisements, such as this image from the United States Food and Drug Administration, encourage the public to seek health products which make appropriate marketing claims". I want to emphasize that health organizations give advice about alternative medicine. I hope that FDA imagery is appreciated here; they probably are significant in influencing popular thought on alternative medicine. Or is the image itself problematic? Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:02, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
The article is not about the FDA or public health warnings. It is a description of the origin and use of the term "alternative medicine", encyclopedically factual and neutral. If there is anything informative in the caption it should be in the text with due citation. The image is uninformative and should be removed. Qexigator (talk) 21:14, 30 June 2014 (UTC)
If FDA public health warnings that specifically address alternative medicine have used this image that would be clear justification. Such a campaign by the FDA that specifically mentions alternative medicine should also be mentioned in the text. - - MrBill3 (talk) 06:40, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Comment: In any case the image is unduly prominent and misplaced, as well as being unencyclopedic for reasons above. It is sensationlist, and as such may serve a particular purpose of FDA, but it does not apply, in good faith, to all "alternative medicine" which is the subject of the article. Editors should not let themselves be swayed by POV. Qexigator (talk) 08:01, 1 July 2014 (UTC)


Public health educational advertisements, such as this image from the United States Food and Drug Administration, encourage people to be wary of alternatives to medicine which have not been proven safe or effective.[1]

The image is relevant and I present it in good faith. It was created as part of an educational campaign about the class of products which are an "alternative to drugs or surgery", and in good faith, I interpret that to mean alternative medicine. This information is on the image page and FDA article linked from the image page, and if is is not obvious there, then that information could be moved to the article space. Can someone confirm or refute my premises in adding this?

  1. This image is used in an educational campaign about alternative medicine.
  2. The United States Food and Drug Administration is a reliable source for a certain perspective on alternative medicine.
  3. The US FDA used this image in their own publications because they wanted to associate it with information about alternative medicine.
  4. Content from the FDA on alternative medicine merits some inclusion in this article.
  5. Omission of FDA perspectives would make the article less encyclopedic.
  6. This image, being the only image proposed for inclusion in the article, is not unduly encroaching on better illustrations.
  7. It is not inappropriate to add an illustration to complement a perspective as authoritative as the FDA.

I think all these things are correct. Are any of them incorrect? Please explain.

  1. ^ Food and Drug Administration (25 April 2014). "Consumer Updates > 6 Tip-offs to Rip-offs: Don't Fall for Health Fraud Scams". Retrieved 1 July 2014. 

Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:35, 1 July 2014 (UTC) Other images could also be added, perhaps from Talk:Alternative_medicine/Archive_22#Examples_and_images. Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:04, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

"good faith", OK, whether or not use of such an image is within FDA's remit; but that is not enough. The FDA perspective is not lacking here, or if it is, then add what may be suited to the text. Or add to FDA article, linked to this article. This article was improved when those non-informative images were removed and will not be improved by further image-clutter, whether as thumbnail insets or as subjoined gallery. In an article such as this, captions either add no useful information, or tend to slant it. Images are useful to show such things as faces in articles about people, or buildings or artefacts, or copies of paintings, which are the subject-matter of the article. The proposed image may suit a particular point of view, but it lacks such relevance here. Please remove. Qexigator (talk) 12:31, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Qexigator Is it your position that no image is appropriate for this article? If that is not your position, what sort of Wikimedia Commons media could theoretically complement this article? I have trouble imagining an image from a source closer to the concept of "alternative medicine" than this one. I removed the image for now, because I think you are saying that this article cannot be illustrated, and if that is your position then that is something which can be resolved with an WP:RfC. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:34, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
For reasons given, better no images here. If you have useful text to propose to improve the text, what is it? Your pov noted. Qexigator (talk) 13:39, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Qexigator There is a lot I could say about my POV if necessary - check my userpage. In this case, my interest is just in getting any relevant non-text media to the article. I do not want this picture in particular, just any pictures generally, and I found this picture in an FDA archive and thought it would be useful. It is the best FDA picture that I have found to express their general point of view and what they usually publish with regard to alternative medicine. If I proposed an RfC, then I might propose this along with other pictures inserted in the past. I do not want to talk about text at all and captions can be anything; I am just advocating for the insertion of pictures in the article just because I believe that illustrations improve the encyclopedia whenever they are relevant. The bar I would propose for image relevance and inclusion in this article will be relevance and inclusion in reliable sources of the sort from which this article's text is derived. Let me think a bit more. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:54, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
I had seen your user page and noted your pov as there plainly expressed. I note you fail to answer my comments about improving the article. A desire for images is not enough. Please remove this one, and spare us a needless RfC. Qexigator (talk) 14:22, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Removal noted[1] Qexigator (talk) 14:30, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
My argument is that the picture inherently improves the article. In this case, we can additionally presume that if the reliable sources from which we derive text use illustrations then it is useful for Wikipedia articles to likewise use illustrations, because Wikipedia is supposed to be a reflection of reliable sources. I find it odd that you would dispute not my picture, but the addition of pictures in general, and think I must be misunderstanding you somehow. Many other Wikipedia articles have pictures and I fail to understand why you want no pictures here. You correctly judge and present my position - "desire for images", except that I would add that the images should be relevant, and that taking the illustrations from reliable sources is supporting evidence of relevance.
Is there more to your position than "desire for no images, regardless of relevance"? Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:59, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
Look again, I have disputed the image, and given reasons when images can contribute to improving an article and when not. Like most editors, I would prefer not to be further drawn into a pointless discussion over this article. Qexigator (talk) 15:11, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── "Images are useful to show such things as faces in articles about people, or buildings or artefacts, or copies of paintings, which are the subject-matter of the article. The proposed image may suit a particular point of view, but it lacks such relevance here." So only pictures of alternative medicine are appropriate for inclusion, right? And furthermore, the image I proposed has such low relevance that it does not merit inclusion, right? Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:22, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

A good compromise is to make the image smaller and to place it in the body of the article. QuackGuru (talk) 16:06, 1 July 2014 (UTC)
  • I think there is something important that several editors have been overlooking, the FDA is not referring to alternative medicine in general with this image. This is an image to depict specifically "Health Fraud Scams", and should be used in an article about health fraud scams and not an article about alternative medicine. Even if health scams run amok in alternative medicine, it is not a fair characterization of the entire field because not everyone is trying to scam people, and some alternative health claims are rather conservative in their stated benefits.AioftheStorm (talk) 22:10, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
Agree. Qexigator (talk) 22:27, 2 July 2014 (UTC)
The image description says it depicts an "alternative to drugs or surgery", which means alternative medicine. With regard to "fair characterization", this is not something to consider. Wikipedia considers whether a source is reliable and whether information derived from it is fairly reflected on Wikipedia. I assert that the FDA is a reliable source for information on government regulation of alternative medicine and that the image is as they distribute it. I would love to see additional images from other reliable sources presenting other perspectives about government regulation. I do not accept the "No true Scotsman" argument to say that scams are not really alternative medicine and thus should not be discussed here, especially when the article already says so much about regulation and safety. There might be better images than this one to say the same thing, but having an image which is from a regulatory health campaign is not unwarranted. This article is better with regulatory perspective here - in non-text form - than it would be with this perspective omitted. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:28, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
I thought someone might try to pull that quote to justify this being a warning about alternative medicine, but it doesn't, unless you would also agree that this statement—
  • when you see claims like “miracle cure,” “revolutionary scientific breakthrough,” or “alternative to drugs or surgery.”
—makes this image a warning about revolutionary scientific breakthroughs. It doesn't matter how many points of intersection health frauds and alternative medicine have, if they don't intersect at every point then they are not equivalent, and I gave you one very good point where they do not intersect and that is the fact that many who practice alternative medicine really believe their treatments work and are not trying to rip people off as occurs in a scam. Since they aren't the same you can't use them interchangeably here.AioftheStorm (talk) 02:10, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
  • I think in its current form (size reduced, caption improved) it is appropriate for this article. - - MrBill3 (talk) 13:46, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
AioftheStorm I agree with everything you say about this being an inappropriate, biased, and unfair image, but that does not address my assertion that regardless of fairness, this image is an FDA perspective and the article is improved by showcasing that significant point of view even if it is biased and misleading.
I disagree that all scam or fraudulent alternative medicine loses the designation of "alternative medicine", and then is recategorized as "not alternative medicine" and "health fraud". I see two types of health care - medicine and alternative medicine. The divisions are not "good medicine", "good alternative medicine", and "everything bad in health care"; instead, problems exist in both medicine and alternative medicine and the problems are part of the institutions. It might be a good idea to add this image to Medicine#Legal_controls, but it is not obvious to me that this ad can be interpreted as a criticism of, for example, products made by big pharma. I am saying all of this to address your argument, but I still feel that this line of thought is not relevant. Fair or not, and regardless of being misleading or wrong, the image is part of an FDA campaign and is intended to be biased commentary. This Wikipedia article and many governments devote a lot of their communication space to regulatory controls, and for that reason and because the FDA is a reliable source, some image from the FDA on alternative medicine ought to be present here to showcase that prominent and necessary perspective. I would like to see this image balanced with a contrasting image about government regulation which encourages the use of alternative medicine, but even if such a balancing image is not available, that does not diminish the validity of having some image in this article which presents the perspective the FDA wants propagated. Can you propose a better image from a regulatory entity? Here is the FDA's flickr account, where all media is public domain. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:50, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
I do not claim that being a fraud makes something not alternative medicine, I am claiming that being a fraud doesn't automatically make something alternative medicine. I am essentially making the claim that if you have a picture of a random man with a kilt, that that man is not necessarily a Scotsman, and that you are essentially taking a picture of a random person with a kilt from an article about kilts and posting it into an article about Scottish people. Something being a scam does not automatically make something alternative medicine, and this FDA articles is about scams, very explicitly so, and it doesn't even mention alternative medicine.
As for whether or not this ad can be applied to things such as "products made by big pharma" I assure you that it can. Just look at all the prescription testosterone products being marketed for "low T" and the claims they make. Also I have looked a bit through the FDA's flickr account but many of those images are not owned by them and are still copyrighted unfortunately.AioftheStorm (talk) 20:03, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
For those reasons, and others given above, it is sufficiently clear that this image does not belong here and should be removed. Qexigator (talk) 20:38, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The situation is not "sufficiently clear". The picture is the best that the Wikipedia has to visually depict the FDA's perspective. Qexigator and AioftheStorm, it is my view that you seek to suppress the fact that government regulatory processes influence the concept of "alternative medicine". I have no particular favoritism for this picture, but I fear that no non-text media which exemplifies government regulation could please either of you. If I choose to seek further comment, I will make these assertions:

  1. The FDA is a reliable source for a notable government regulatory perspective
  2. There ought to be some representative non-text media in this article from a government regulator
  3. The image I proposed is a typical example of the kind of media available
  4. No one proposed anything better
  5. To omit this image is to slant Wikipedia to present a perspective other than what is found in reliable sources

I invite you to seek compromise with me as a representative of the community which feels that a governmental perspective is worth including. Can either of you describe the ideal non-text media that you would want to see in this article from a government perspective, if the outreach materials actually produced by government do not meet your expectations? Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:17, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

I'm confused here, my only concern is that of relevance as I do not believe this is an image depicting alternative medicine. I am not concerned with establishing whether the FDA is a reliable source. If you can tell me why you believe this image is about alternative medicine then that would help move this discussion forward.AioftheStorm (talk) 00:32, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
See below. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:29, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Have you read the article? Previous editing has ensured scrupulous reporting here of the "governmental perspective", in numerous places: see refs 2 a-l, 3 a-2, 4, 10 a-b, 11 a-b, 12 a-b, 14, 15, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26 a-i, 35, 39, 41 a-b, 52, 78, 109, 111 a-b, 179, 180. Your points, have been addressed (see also below) but you have chosen to disregard the reasoned answers and comments. It may help if you would now reconsider your points more carefully, taking full account of others' views, not yours alone. Qexigator (talk) 12:54, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Qexigator No I have not read the article, but I did look for pictures, and none were there. I am acknowledging that you wish for me to read text, and saying that I do not wish to do this. My wish is for non-text media, and so far as I can tell, no available non-text media from a government source pleases you and even all other pictures are not liked by you unless they are posted elsewhere and not in this article. My point is that Wikipedia articles often have pictures and that available pictures are of the standard used in many other articles. Your perspective, as I understand it, is that no available pictures improve this article. Text does satisfy me because text is not relevant to my proposal for adding pictures for balance. Pictures do not please you, because you feel that they do not communicate clearly. Does this seem correct? If you care to talk by phone or video contact me atSpecial:EmailUser/Bluerasberry. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:05, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Seeing that above comment (and below) is from one who has "not read the article", and apparently does not intend to, but instead invites private contact by phone or video, it seems that further discussion here can be considered closed, per This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Alternative medicine article. Qexigator (talk) 13:47, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

With regards to finding a better image I will note that the FDA has alternative medicine fraud listed specifically as a subcategory of health fraud. This reaffirms my opinion that images by the FDA depicting generic health fraud are therefore not specifically addressed towards alternative medication, as well as perhaps being a place where images depicting alternative medicine from the FDA may be found. Specifically I would be fine with an image such as this one being used to illustrate a generic FDA warning about unregulated alternative medicine which could pose a hazard.AioftheStorm (talk) 01:04, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Yes, a reader of the article will find that in section 6.2[2], reflist 12b. That could be a place for the image. Qexigator (talk) 05:21, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
AioftheStorm Yes, I like your idea better than mine. Having any FDA or any government's regulatory media in the article would suit me. Instead of only that picture, though, I propose to upload the PDF to Commons, export it to Wikisource, and show the picture as a link to the original document in this article I do not particularly favor this flyer and any could be used, but my proposal is for any non-text content from any government regulator to always be in this article.
To close the last issue, about the image I initially proposed being relevant: I maintain that there are two types of medicine - conventional medicine and alternative medicine. For people who accept that dichotomy, and perhaps you AioftheStorm do not, I think that the FDA information at their scams page (excepting the warnings about falsely labeled fake prescription drugs) can only be interpreted to be applicable to alternative medicine, and not to be FDA warnings about the drugs that the FDA itself regulates. I have also said that there are notices that this refers to alternative medicine. When you say, "If you can tell me why you believe this image is about alternative medicine then that would help move this discussion forward", what I understand is that you believe that these FDA warnings are for the FDA's own approved drugs, which does not see plausible to me. Is this what you believe? If that is not what you believe, do you believe that there are more than two classes of drugs, that is, more than "conventional" and "alternative"?
Besides that image, the FDA makes various video warnings about how it regulates alternative medicine. Here are some of those videos, and they would be other options. I do not plan to take any position on which of the many available choices is best, so yes, your flyer is completely satisfying to me, and I hope including a flyer encourages other health organizations to also apply free licenses to their educational materials.
Thoughts from others? The proposal is to put this PDF into the article as an example of relevant outreach media from a reliable source, and to illustrate an example way that governments talk about alternative medicine. Blue Rasberry (talk) 11:29, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
"what I understand is that you believe that these FDA warnings are for the FDA's own approved drugs,"
They are for there own approved drugs as well as for non-approved treatments and alternative medicine. I gave you a classic example, various testosterone treatments marketed as solving a whole host of general ailments, which the sad fact of the matter is many doctors will prescribe to patients without even testing their androgen levels to see if they even need it. If you ever go to a dinner sponsored by a drug manufacturer, you would see exactly the types of claims the FDA is warning people against, most people who attend do so for the free food and don't buy into it though. I don't feel like making a case though about how many drugs are marketed inappropriately and how these warnings apply to them as well as alternative medicine since the point in no longer relevant.AioftheStorm (talk) 03:05, 6 July 2014 (UTC)
Health campaign flyers, as in this example from the Food and Drug Administration, purport to give information to the public about safe use of alternative medicine
AioftheStorm Agreed, FDA-endorsed scamming in the pharma industry is horrible and in my opinion worse and so much larger than non-FDA endorsed scamming in the alternative medicine industry. Let's leave that issue. Here is the file. The plaintext on Wikisource still needs to be proofread, but this is how it would look in the article. Anyone clicking through would be able to either read the djvu file or read the text on Wikisource. Cool? Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:31, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Now added.[3] In my view, acceptable as is, but others may propose to revise caption. Qexigator (talk) 22:21, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Proposal to have any images or non-text media in article[edit]

Wikipedia routinely uses images. "Alternative medicine" is a popular topic and it merits some images. Here are some images which were used in this article in the past.

These images were removed as described at Talk:Alternative_medicine/Archive_22#Examples_and_images.

Why are there no images in this article? Is there some problem with any of the above images? I propose to put them all back into the article. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:28, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

I don't know why this article has no images, even glancing through that discussion I can't see why those images weren't put it. I would say feel free to add them.AioftheStorm (talk) 02:15, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
That discussion seems to have preceded the deletion (end Jan 2014) by about a year. Not at all clear why the deletion was done and not an improvement.LeadSongDog come howl! 04:10, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Images do not necessarily improve an article, and may be no more than trivial clutter. In articles such as this, captions add no useful information, or tend to slant it either way. Images can be useful when showing such things as faces in articles about people, or buildings or artefacts, or copies of paintings. At most, an image for "Alternative medicine" generically may be acceptable. This article was improved when those non-informative images were removed. They can be seen at the pages linked to the specific articles, which is where the caption information belongs. Maybe something like the images at the following sites could add a graphic overview of the topic.

Qexigator (talk) 08:08, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

or this image, ready made from Commons: MarkhamStouffvilleHospitalLibrary3.JPG[4]

Qexigator (talk) 09:08, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

I think some of the images suggested by Qexigator warrant consideration. I tend to agree the images removed served little purpose. I think in general images improve articles but need careful consideration of encyclopedic nature and value. - - MrBill3 (talk) 09:32, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Generic images[edit]

The Commons image linked above is now inset at "Classes and examples", the other three are now in "External links". Qexigator (talk) 13:29, 3 July 2014 (UTC)


The images proposed at the top of this section could be more suited for adding as a Gallery at List of branches of alternative medicine, which is linked under the "Classes and examples" subtitle. Better still, would be to make a new article for it, with some introductory text and crosslinks with Alternative medicine and other articles such as

Qexigator (talk) 14:31, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

That seems reasonable. I just readded the outdated Template:Alternative medicine to the bottom of this article in anticipation of sorting the right places to put these things.
Still, even if these pictures are more appropriate elsewhere, that does not mean that they are inappropriate here. I really like Qexigator's suggested image from Nature for inclusion in this article as it is ideal, but even if we have nothing of that high quality, I am still a proponent of inserting images for the sake of having images even if they only have narrow relevance and are not as good as non-free content. I have a lot of sympathy for encyclopedia users who need to see non-text media in articles to have a good experience, and even if the images above are not ideal, I take the position that some mediocre images are better than having no images. Captions can be cut or say anything. Others may disagree with me, but I expect that much of Wikipedia errs on the side of having some images in articles. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:46, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Experienced editors will be mindful that the focus and priority in this type of article is the communication of information about the topic, as reliably as can be, not inserting images for the sake of providing "a good experience" according some other irrelevant criteria. There are now two inset images, at least one of which could be seen as relevant to the actual topic (though neither is strictly needed), and links to others which are of a type that could usefully be added to the article if available at Commons.[5] --Qexigator (talk) 17:27, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Nature of opposition - no single examples should be allowed[edit]

The Cochrane Collaboration suggests that some traditions in medicine, like Ayurveda, should be distinguished from what it calls conventional therapy.[1]

It seems that Qexigator opposes depiction of any particular kind of alternative medicine, but would support images which show multiple types of alternative medicine. This single image was deleted.

  1. ^ Manheimer, E. et al. "Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field". The Cochrane Library. John Wiley & Sons. (subscription required).

To what extent am I characterizing your rationale for deletion fairly? Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:11, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

  • As mentioned above, seeing that the comment is from one who has "not read the article", and apparently does not intend to, but instead invites private contact by phone or video, it seems that further discussion here can be considered closed, per This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Alternative medicine article. Qexigator (talk) 13:47, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:25, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Specific proposal[edit]

AioftheStorm and LeadSongDog, you commented above that some images would be an improvement. So that I am not misunderstanding you, could you please state again your opinion about the extent to which you feel this article would be improved by depicting some single examples of alternative medicine? The chiropractic image is currently in the article. Please see how I have positioned it, shortened the caption, and put a citation in the caption. I did that with all of these. How would you feel about any or all of these going into the article?

  1. ^ "Medical and Dental Expenses (Including the Health Coverage Tax Credit)". Publication 502 (Cat. No. 15002Q). Internal Revenue Service, Dept. of the Treasury, US Government. 2012-12-10. p. 2. 
  2. ^ Manheimer, E. et al. "Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field". The Cochrane Library. John Wiley & Sons. (subscription required).
  3. ^ Ernst, E et al. (2011). "Acupuncture: Does it alleviate pain and are there serious risks? A review of reviews". Pain 152 (4): 755–64. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2010.11.004. PMID 21440191. 
  4. ^ Barnes, P.M.; Powell-Griner, E.; McFann, K.; Nahin, R.L. (2004). "Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults: United States, 2002". Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics (343): 1–19. PMID 15188733. 
  5. ^ Thrane, S; Cohen, SM (2014 Feb 27). "Effect of Reiki Therapy on Pain and Anxiety in Adults: An In-Depth Literature Review of Randomized Trials with Effect Size Calculations.". Pain management nursing : official journal of the American Society of Pain Management Nurses. PMID 24582620. 

I might seek an outside third opinion in addition to whatever you say. Again, I am not advocating for any particular pictures, but I would like for some pictures to be placed in this article and for this article to always have some pictures or non-text media in it, and I hope that examples of alternative medicine might be the least controversial start to doing this. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:25, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

I maintain my original statement, I think any of these images would be fine. Alternative medicine is broad and there isn't going to be a single image that depicts it all, the best we can do is depicting some of the more major examples.AioftheStorm (talk) 00:56, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
I don't see a strong reason for requiring only one image, though something like the Nature figure would be useful. Re the proposed new captions:
  1. the tax comment seems undue (that code treats acupuncture the same way), US centric, and the "some" is weasel.
  2. the Ayurveda idol image has no clear connection to the Cochrane mention, better to simply state that Ayurveda is based on a Hindu text, the Ayur Veda.
  3. "some but not all types of pain" seems to mean "only neck pain" in the cited source
  4. a study of 2002 data published in 2004 should not be summarized in present tense. PMID 15188733 can provide more recent and International update. "Is popular" doesn't really say much: what's the threshold for popular?

LeadSongDog come howl! 16:53, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Third opinion[edit]

I am using WP:3O for an outside opinion - there actually are more than three people here. Could someone comment on the extent to which the pictures listed above in "Specific proposal" are an improvement to this article, as compared to not having these pictures and only having a bookcase as in the current version? Blue Rasberry (talk) 10:59, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

I have declined the request at [[WP:3O], as 6 editors have participated in the image discussions to date. For what it's worth, I think some images would be useful in this rather large article. @Bluerasberry: in future filings at WP:3O, please link to the whole section in which the issue is discussed, not merely to a subsection in which you announce that you've made a filing. Also, the link above should have been to the version that was current at that time, like this:
rather than linking to the article history and leaving everyone to figure which version would have been current at the time you made the link. --Stfg (talk) 12:05, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Could this image and caption be used?[edit]

Nurse at a nursing home in Norway. In many societies, practitioners of traditional medicine or alternative medicine are an important primary health care provider, either as integrated within or remaining outside of the formal health care system. These include practitioners in acupuncture, Ayurveda, herbalism.

Qexigator (talk) 18:21, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

No. I don't see any relevance for unsourced speculation, and the nurse, Norway, and nursing home are all irrelevant to the subject of alternative medicine. -- Brangifer (talk) 20:43, 4 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Brangifer, this image isn't really relevant to the article.AioftheStorm (talk) 00:54, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
Agree with Brangifer. Too tangential not adequately relevant, verging on OR.
I am however interested in seeing how the the appropriately (IMO) represented mainstream American (FDA) attitude towards alternative medicine compares and contrasts with other nations/cultures attitude and official attitude/stance regarding what is defined here (on WP) as alternative medicine. I'd like to see an interesting counterpoint image to the one added by Blueraspberry. I also think a due weight argument could carry the inclusion of such an image.
Outside that I find the Nature image illustrative of the subject of the article and would think it's inclusion valuable (if copyright issues are not a problem). - - MrBill3 (talk) 13:15, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
I agree that another government perspective would be ideal. US is the only government that produces public domain work, though, so that is one barrier, plus US does more regulation than anyone else and is overrepresented in these kinds of discussions. I am already looking for anything like this picture. I would love an example of - for instance - an Indian or Chinese government-funded regular doctor, dentist, or nurse who does alt med along with regular duties. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:55, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

Given that, for various reasons, the images so far put on this page for comment are not acceptable, and nothing else suitable has been found at Wikimedia Commons, we seem to be waiting for one of the linked images to become available from there, such as the Nature pictorial diagram for CAM domains and some of the most common examples[6] currently in the "External link" section, and/or the FDA notice about Ayurvedic products linked at the end of the the article's "Use and regulation" section, or something better than either of those, and in any case which is consistent with the written text and free from unsourced speculation. Qexigator (talk) 18:42, 5 July 2014 (UTC)

  • The Nature image is copyrighted, but I have seen many images like it and one could be produced by an editor here if they so desire bearing in mind that original research guidelines are less strict for images(WP:OI). I would view similar diagrams for inspiration, and try to produce an original diagram for use in this article.AioftheStorm (talk) 02:53, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

Images for "Terms...", "History...", "Examples", etc.[edit]

The version at 15:39, 7 July 2014[7] has an image supporting the text in "Terms and definitions", four more in "History – 19th century onwards", and one in "Examples". Qexigator (talk) 15:51, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

Update: now,[8] 1 in "Terms and definitions", 3 in "History – 19th century onwards", and 3 in "Classes and examples". Qexigator (talk) 19:17, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
+ 2 in "Regional definitions" - may need adjustment for size? Qexigator (talk) 22:08, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
+ and 1 in "Efficacy".[9]. --Qexigator (talk) 22:32, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

The score as at 22:16, 8 July 2014[10] Terms and definitions: 1. Regional definitions: 2. Institutions: 1. History: 4. Classes and examples: 3. Criticism: 1. Use and regulation: 1. Efficacy: 1. Appeal: 1. Qexigator (talk) 22:29, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

+1 more in "Terms and definitions" with caption about comparative extent of use of "alternative medicine" in hospitals. Qexigator (talk) 15:37, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

Reflection on pictures added[edit]

I am happy with the inclusion of pictures in this article as it is now. I understand that pictures are not necessarily an improvement for all people, but I advocate for an audience that wants health information and likes to see pictures even if they are only marginally relevant. I appreciate everyone who has responded to my request to include pictures in this article.

I only say that these pictures are good enough, and not that they are the best. If it in the future anyone wants to add or change pictures, then there can be discussion about whether that is an improvement. If I were to offer suggestions for improvement, I would wish for more diversity in what is depicted. Here are some things I wish that I could see here:

  • a graphic representing various kinds of alternative medicine, as in this copyrighted Nature illustration
  • pictures of women who contributed to alternative medicine
  • images showing alternative medicine outside a Western context
  • more depiction emphasizing complementary medicine, or the integration of alternative and conventional medicine
  • anything suggesting the narrative of how alternative medicine becomes conventional medicine as it is shown to be effective, or proving how this has happened in the past

Thanks again everyone. I think this article had a great reworking and I like this version. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:53, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

Please note that the images are consistent with the fact that "One common feature of all definitions of alternative medicine is its designation as 'other than' conventional medicine." Can you identify any woman who has notably influenced the formation of what has come to be known as "western medicine" on a par with the influence of the men whose images now appear in the article? Or who has been founder of one of the main forms of alternative medicine in the same period? Your other points seem to confirm a previously expressed lack of reading the text of the article, but perhaps you now feel some further information should be reported in it, which can be properly sourced. We should not be treating this article if it were a commentary on a picture book. Qexigator (talk) 16:59, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Qexigator Thanks for proposing so many excellent illustrations in response to my asking. I am flattered by the enthusiasm you have shown in meeting my request because I know it took a lot of time to do what you did.
You fairly describe my position when you say, "treating this article as if it were a commentary on a picture book", as I am doing exactly that and openly acknowledge it and say that it is good to do so. If you choose to continue to engage with me, expect me to maintain that position. Please forgive me if my position does not please you, and thanks at least for finding compromise with me. I believe - acknowledging that many others might not - that including the most relevant pictures even if they are not highly relevant inherently makes Wikipedia more encyclopedic. I am happy with the pictures you added and am thinking of stepping away from the article for maybe a long while, to see if anyone else has comments.
"Alternative medicine" may be other than "conventional medicine" but "complementary and alternative medicine" may not be. Also there are times in history when the divisions between alternative and conventional medicine did not exist. There is room for talking about both, as when you suggested mentioning how nurses may administer both conventional and alternative medicine. Many or perhaps most people use both alternative and conventional medicine simultaneously without thinking of a difference, and I hope this article reflects whatever sources say about this.
Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health influenced health practices by encouraging abstention from all treatment except prayer. It would be controversial to call this "alternative medicine".
Mary Baker Eddy comes to mind as a great and respectable woman in the field of alternative medicine who has had influence comparable to or exceeding the men pictured, as her work is still one of the world's most influential health texts. Mother Teresa also promoted spiritual healing in circumstances which she knew conflicted with conventional medicine, and Kolkata and wider India today still follow the recommendations she made. I know nothing about alternative medicine in China, India, Africa, Russia, South America, or other places outside Western culture. Maybe someday someone else could recommend other candidates; just one significant personality in either India or China would equal the influence of the entire Western world.
Sorry for any tension I may have created between us. You have done more than I should ever expect to accommodate me, and I appreciate that. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:31, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Eddy (irrespective of her being a woman) is notable as having advocated a form of piety or religious devotion, conduct and behaviour which amounts to abstaining in principle from medical treatment of any kind, conventional or alternative. Qexigator (talk) 23:46, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
I think she advocated for spiritual treatment but do not have sources at hand. Is prayer CAM on Wikipedia, or are we making a distinction here? I thought there was only conventional and alternative medicine, but you seem to be suggesting that refusal of all treatment other than prayer is something beyond either of those. Here is a great introduction to distinguishing the two, but right now, it seems like this article includes prayer as CAM.
  • Tippens, Kim; Marsman, Kevin; Zwickey, Heather. "Is Prayer CAM?". The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 15 (4): 435–438. doi:10.1089/acm.2008.0480. 
If prayer is CAM, and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is a health text, and if we are looking for other candidates of similar influence to the proposed on this page (all excellent choices already) then she seems like a viable candidate for inclusion here. I could be mistaken about any of this - I really am not sure. Blue Rasberry (talk) 02:24, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
Note that the principle of her teaching is abstention from medical treatment of any description, and this article would not be improved by reporting or implying otherwise: "For the Christian Scientist, a brilliant pioneer of drugless healing, spurning the mummeries of Oriental medicine and winning from her infallible cures an everlasting renown, replaces the suffering figure on the Cross." Fisher, H. A. L. Fisher (Herbert Fisher), Our New Religion (1930). Reprint 2003, Kessinger Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0766139268 [11]. Also available as pdf download[12] --Qexigator (talk) 09:52, 10 July 2014 (UTC)
I know nothing of her methodology and am unable to understand the source to which you linked. Whatever she taught, it seems that she said that that people following her methods would have their diseases cured to a greater extent than people doing nothing in particular. Some people would call it alternative medicine but many people would not. It would be controversial for this article to say so but to do so would not be baseless, as at least this source supports it.

Noting that this page is "for discussing improvements to the Alternative medicine article", let it suffice to say that such merits and conduct as hers may excite in many respect or veneration, but that does not surmount the objection to her inclusion in the article. Qexigator (talk) 15:37, 10 July 2014 (UTC)

Why is this sentence in the lead?[edit]


This odd sentence is in the lead, "The term alternative medicine is used in information issued by public bodies in the Commonwealth of Australia the United Kingdom and the United States of America." with references to articles that use the expression.

  • The sentence is not supported by the cited sources. The articles cited may use the expression, but they do not report that they use it. So it violates WP:Synth and WP:OR by going beyond what is in the sources. It is about the sources, not in the sources.
  • It violates WP:UNDUE because it gives undue weight to three countries.
  • The information is trivial. It does not deserve prominence in the lead, or even in the article. Any Wikipedia article title is used by some body in English speaking countries, or it would not meet WP:notability. This sentence would be instantly deleted in any other article at WP. This is a separate violation of WP:UNUDE, in that it gives undue weight to trivial information. FloraWilde (talk) 23:31, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

It is an unusual sentence to be in the lead, or anywhere in the article. *It is not accurate - "alternative medicine" is an expression, not a term.

  • It is not supported by the sources. The sources do not say the expression is used by themselves.
  • It is WP:OR, since no he source says it is a "term" used in information by those same source.
  • It selects in a biased way, three countries with literature on the article topic that mention the topic in their literature, but ignores all the other countries where it also appears.
  • Furthermore, the sentence provides almost no valuable content for a reader. Each and every article title at Wikipedia is used by some source. So if the sentence is appropriate in the lead in this article, a similar sentence would be appropriate in the lead of each and every article.
  • Even if it should be in the article, the lead is not the place for it.

Each of these reasons is sufficient to delete the sentence. I will delete the inaccurate, unsourced, WP:OR, biased, content-free, misplaced sentence, unless there is reason given to keep it in the lead. FloraWilde (talk) 10:46, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

That is unduly peremptory, especially as relying on a spurious point at variance with common language usage, and not even amounting to pedantry. The lead is just the place for a succinct summation of what is expanded at some length in the article, which has been scrupulously sourced. Please try not to be unduly combative, it doesn't help. If you know of sources from countries other than those cited you are welcome to add them. Normally, we try not to put sources in the lead, which is a summary of main content, but it can help when an article's editing has been contentious, particularly when attacked by persons who have not taken the trouble to read and reflect upon the content of the article as a whole. It is a simple fact that the words "alternative medicine" are used in information issued by the public bodies of the English speaking countries mentioned to denote those forms of medicine which are the topic of the article. It shows that it is used in public discussion and by official bodies addressing the public. Qexigator (talk) 11:30, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
The sentence is not supported by the cited sources, so violates WP:RS. It violates WP:Synth and WP:OR. FloraWilde (talk) 14:37, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
There's often an implicit conflict between WP:Synth and WP:LEDE, but that is an issue that should be addressed at WT:LEDE. In this case, the wording puts WP:UNDUE emphasis on those three countries, as well as on unnamed "public bodies". Further, it misses the point of WP:REFERS. This is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a dictionary. Simply state instead that "The wide range of health care interventions that have insufficient quality evidence basis to establish their safety or efficacy are alternative medicine", unless someone provides MEDRS sources which contradict that. There's no need to cater to the whole range of variations in the lede. Even wp:V does not require citations in the lede, when using wp:SUMMARY style. LeadSongDog come howl! 17:34, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for restating your point as above. Agreed that the sentence is questionable, to the extent that I do not see in the main part of the present version of the article anyrthing supporting "The term alternative medicine is used in information issued by public bodies in the Commonwealth of Australia." If that goes, the mention of only UK and USA may be out of place in the lead, and no harm done if deleted. But I do not see it as objecionable in principle or in fact. It may be no more than a leftover from a period when this article was being much revised. Qexigator (talk) 07:22, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Now done. Qexigator (talk) 07:34, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

An editor added a bizarrely misleading sentence in the lead. Why?[edit]


An editor just added this odd sentence -

"Some forms of alternative medicine, such as homeopathy and naturopathy, are based on the use of preparations and dosages other than those that are included in the standard pharmacopeia recognised by hospitals and physicians providing conventional medicine. "


Homeopathy is water. Characterizing this as "other than standard" greatly misleads any Wikipedia reader. Why is this being done? FloraWilde (talk) 23:26, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Try and understand the purport of text as you find it, instead brusuqely rubbishing it, or it might be thought you are pushing some sort of private or sponsored agenda (it can happen). Look again: the sentence does not say as mistakenly paraphrased. It draws attention to the indisputable and notable fact that the practice of homeopathy and of naturopathy are based on the use of preparations and dosages which are other than those that are included in the standard pharmacopeia recognised by hospitals and physicians providing conventional medicine. If you want to debate the merits of such preparations and dosages, perhaps you can find a better place to do it. Qexigator (talk) 17:35, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
I think the sentence should be removed because it doesn't actually tell us anything. It is essentially saying "Some forms of alternative medicine, such as example 1 & 2, are based off the use of alternative preparations and dosages than conventional medicine". The statement is almost a tautology.AioftheStorm (talk) 20:48, 26 July 2014 (UTC)
It was banal (different thing is different!) so I removed it Bhny (talk) 21:34, 26 July 2014 (UTC)