Template talk:Alternative medical systems

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NCCAM classifications 1[edit]

  1. {{Alternative medical systems}} -- Alternative medical systems are built upon complete systems of theory and practice. Often, these systems have evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used in the United States. Examples of alternative medical systems that have developed in Western cultures include homeopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine. Examples of systems that have developed in non-Western cultures include traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.
  2. {{Mind-body interventions}} -- Mind-body medicine uses a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms. Some techniques that were considered CAM in the past have become mainstream (for example, patient support groups and cognitive-behavioral therapy). Other mind-body techniques are still considered CAM, including meditation, prayer, mental healing, and therapies that use creative outlets such as art, music, or dance.
  3. {{Biologically based therapy}} -- Biologically based therapies in CAM use substances found in nature, such as herbs, foods, and vitamins. Some examples include dietary supplements,3 herbal products, and the use of other so-called natural but as yet scientifically unproven therapies (for example, using shark cartilage to treat cancer).
  4. {{Manipulative methods}} -- Manipulative and body-based methods in CAM are based on manipulation and/or movement of one or more parts of the body. Some examples include chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, and massage.
  5. {{Energy therapy}} -- Energy therapies involve the use of energy fields.

-- John Gohde 19:44, 4 December 2007 (UTC)


Dianetics is an alternative medical system. What is the rationale for viewing it as anything else? ausa کui × 06:53, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Why is NCCAM regarded as the sole source that is acceptable for determining what is and isn't an alternative medicine? -- 22:14, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
It isn't. There is a vast difference between an alternative medical "system" and a form of alternative medicine. The template must be kept small, and therefore it sticks to the NCCAM system of classification. If you can provide some kind of proof that Dianetics is an alternative medicine form, then it certainly qualifies to be in [[Category:Alternative medicine]]. It does contain some elements of pseudoscience, quackery, fraud, pseudoreligion, and other characteristics of alternative medicine, so it could certainly be in that category. There is room for plenty of articles there, but not in the template. To illustrate, I'll use a corollary. There is a template for continents, and it would be inappropriate to start adding countries to it. Continents can be in a small template, but not all countries can fit there. You can see the vast difference here:
I can't activate these templates here, otherwise this talk page would be included, and that wouldn't be too smart! You can copy them to the main sandbox, look at them, and then immediately delete them.
That's why we also have categories. Templates and categories serve different functions. -- Fyslee 00:33, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Hrm. So I guess this is more of an issue of whether dianetics is an important enough AMS to warrant inclusion in the template, then? Do you think it would be reasonable to say that dianetics may be more important than one of the others currently on the template, such as Unani (which, according to its article, is closely linked with Ayurveda)? ausa کui × 01:11, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Unani was influenced by Islam, that is the main difference between it and Ayurveda, which is significant enough to warrant separate articles, and therefore entries in the template. According to the article, Dianetics is "a revolutionary and scientifically developed alternative to conventional psychotherapy and psychiatry", neither of which is considered alternative medicine. Further, "Dianetics is a set of ideas and practices regarding the relationship between mind and body"; I would suggest that if Dianetics is to be considered a form of alternative medicine, it is more of a Mind-body intervention, but would actually be better placed in Category:Mental health. --apers0n 07:17, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
Dianetics is pretty much gibberish, but they do assert that they can cure physical disease through their quasi-psychiatric processes. And the article also quotes L. Ron Hubbard that "Dianetics sets forth the non-germ theory of disease, embracing, it has been estimated by competent physicians, the explanation of some seventy percent of man's pathology." ausa کui × 19:40, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

NCCAM classifications 2[edit]

Wikipedia carries a fundamentally world-wide point of view. Relying solely on an American governmental body as a system of classification in the template, especially for systems that are not of U.S. origin, is a violation of this neutral and international stance. VanTucky Talk 23:10, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Four out of the eight systems mentioned are "systems that are not of U.S. origin," so what's the problem? The NCCAM recognizes them as such. Keep in mind that all systems get brought to the US and are practiced there. They therefore get assessed by the NCCAM. -- Fyslee / talk 04:38, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
It's not the systems of alt medicine mentioned (TCM etc.), it was the following NCCAM classification system (which are not medicinal systems in and of themselves) which I have removed. VanTucky Talk 04:53, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
It is a V & RS of a system of classification that is all-inclusive and has been a consensus part of the template for ages. No need to remove such a valuable resource. Restoring consensus version. -- Fyslee / talk 05:19, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
First off, a discussion between two users where they disagree is not a consensus. Relying on a previous consensus by default when new issues have been brought up is not okay. Second, the NCCAM is a solely American body, and by including its method of classification (which not a single other regulatory or private body uses) the template fails to represent a world-wide POV. Third, many of the classifications that the NCCAM uses for arts such as qigong, t'ai chi ch'uan, feldenkrais and yoga are very controversial. They take a stance on the healing mechanism of these practices that is only one significant view, and thus including only NCCAM on the template, and presenting it as if it were widely accepted, is a violation of NPOV. VanTucky Talk 18:56, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
FWIW, I'm in favor of keeping the NCCAM classification. The existence of a longstanding version usually indicates that quite a few editors agree with that version. While a new consensus is always possible, chances are that it will not stick. I also think that an important change like this one should be discussed and a consensus reached before we change a template that is in such wide use. Having said that, I feel that some of your arguments may have merit. The NIH classification is, indeed, US-centric. How about making this explicit (e.g. by adding "(U.S.)" to the text)? I do not think your other complaint (only one view of several) should be solved by removing the NCCAM classification. It would be better to add other notable/well-sourced classifications (if they exist). Avb 23:59, 27 September 2007 (UTC)
Also FWIW, keep the current template. There are a huge number of editors, myself included, that don't actually believe in "alternative" medicine, we ascribe to scientific analysis and therefore there is medicine as science and there's folklore or faith or something else. Keeping the NCCAM verbiage at least gives a little bit of cover to claiming that these alternative medicine classifications have some meaning.OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 00:14, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
I'd vote to keep also; the version with NCCAM has been stable and reflects a well-known V RS without endorsing it exclusively. Others could be added, but speaking as an American-trained acupuncturist with a prior career as a research scientist, I see nothing wrong with NCCAM at all, and much to recommend it. thanks, Jim Butler(talk) 21:03, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

This is an actual consensus I can accept for the time being, even if I still obviously disagree. I sympathize with your point about maintaining a mainstream, scientifically acceptable (at least to some degree, the NCCAM has its notable detractors in the scientific community) system of classification for alt medicine. However, I urge people to keep in mind that this system is not accepted or even well-known among many of the actual systems that fall under the NCCAM's purview. A bit of cultural sensitivity wouldn't hurt here. VanTucky Talk 00:40, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, things like germ theory, the scientific method and avogadro's constant are neither well known nor well accepted by practitioners of the er... systems... listed, but that doesn't, or at least shouldn't, stop us from presenting them in the light of those things. In any case the categories presented are a convenient and logical way of navigating the plethora of cam articles, and even better we have a reliable source to back that up. – ornis 01:04, 28 September 2007 (UTC)
Those examples are inappropriate. They're far too generalized. The classification of, for example, mind-body intervention was created expressly and exclusively for categorization of these systems and techniques, so the fact that it is disputed and/or unknown by practitioners is much more indicative. VanTucky Talk 01:09, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Comment. A related discussion is occurring at Wikipedia:Templates_for_deletion/Log/2007_September_22#Template:Mind-body_interventions. Many of the same arguments apply there. -- Fyslee / talk 04:22, 28 September 2007 (UTC)

Comment I see nothing particularly objectionable to the NCCAM classifications. I don't know how useful they are, but it's as good of a way to link to the relevant articles as any. Adam Cuerden talk 17:01, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Reorganizing this template slightly[edit]

What do you guys think about moving the Complementary and Alternative Medicine sections, under See also, to the top of this template? It seems like those should receive prominence. II 02:11, 8 July 2008 (UTC)


Re this change: normally acunpuncture is not considered to be an alternative medical system in its own right: it is a healing practice that is part of traditional Chinese medicine, which is an alternative medical system that is already listed in this template. The relationship between acunpuncture and traditional Chinese medicine is akin to the relationship between spinal manipulation and chiropractic. For consistency, we should list traditional Chinese medicine and chiropractic in this template, and we should not list acupuncture and spinal manipulation. Eubulides (talk) 00:56, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Faith healing[edit]

Re this change, which introduced a wikilink to Faith healing: normally faith healing, like acupuncture, is not considered to be an alternative medical system in its own right: it is a healing practice that is part of a religious system, not a medical system. The NCCAM page on CAM doesn't list faith healing as a medical system, and looking in other sources I don't see anyone claiming that it is a medical system. For now reverted the change. Eubulides (talk) 17:38, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

I am not sure that trying to put nonsense into categories such as "systems" will produce sense from nonsense. I added it back in, on the justification that there are particular practices within a system of faith healing, such as laying of hands, praying, exorcism, etc. But the main reason I have for adding it back in is so readers of the alt med article can have faith healing as a link in the box on the right. When I was editing alt med, and wanted a quick link to go to the faith healing page, it was not there. If you feel strongly about the issue, please feel free to revert my edit, and lets talk more here. (UCSF Medical School and SF General Hospital list faith healing and prayer on their recent patient survey as to what alternative medicine they would like to see funded by their insurance... ) FloraWilde (talk) 04:57, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Anthroposophic medicine[edit]

Re this change: as Anthroposophic medicine says, anthroposophic medicine is complementary medicine and not alternative medicine. The NCCAM seems to agree with this, so this template is not the right place for a wikilink to Anthroposophic medicine. If there is a template for complementary medicine, that would be a better place for the wikilink; if there is no such template, perhaps one ought to be created. For now, I reverted that change. Eubulides (talk) 21:42, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

There is little (too little) distinction made between complementary and alternative medicine both here and elsewhere. For example, the Wikipedia article on complementary medicine redirects to alternative medicine. Usually they are grouped together; perhaps we should change this template title to "complementary and alternative medicine". hgilbert (talk) 22:22, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
I checked; NCCAM's category "alternative medical systems" explicitly relates to both complementary and alternative medicine (see their page describing CAM). There seems to be no ground to differentiate them here, then. hgilbert (talk) 22:43, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't follow the above remarks: the source you cite seems to say exactly the opposite of what you're saying. In NCCAM's FAQ, the question "Are complementary medicine and alternative medicine different from each other?" is answered as follows:
"Yes, they are different.
  • Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy to help lessen a patient's discomfort following surgery.
  • Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of an alternative therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that has been recommended by a conventional doctor."
Eubulides (talk) 01:22, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Pretty late comment here,... but we have discussed this to death prior to the merging of the various CAM articles. That NCCAM quote is rather misleading when read superficially. Actually it doesn't propose a real difference in the methods used, only a difference in how identical methods are used in different settings. It is the setting that is different, IOW any imaginable alternative medical method or technique is considered "complementary" if used in conjunction with mainstream medicines and techniques. One will find even the most absurd and non-evidence-based alternative methods identified as "complementary" because of this definitional distinction, which is therefore pretty useless most of the time. In Britain the situation is even worse, where "complementary" is used pretty synonymously with "alternative" much of the time. That's simply because the alternative medicine movement in Britain (likely because of support from HRH, the Prince of Quacks)[1] has been more successful at affecting terminology so nonsense could slip under the radar, and into folk's consciousness as relatively innocuous. -- Fyslee (talk) 04:29, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Anthroposophy is considered an alternative medical system: see Holistic Nursing and Annex 1 of these Model Guidelines for the EU. hgilbert (talk) 01:44, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the cites, particularly the EU one. I added a few more from it. Eubulides (talk) 02:22, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
I think we need to be careful of using such promotional, self-published, publications and guidelines from the groups themselves. We need independent governmental sources.
We also need to avoid link bloat in such a template. Only old, large, and very well-established systems that have long promoted themselves as complete systems for dealing with all health care needs (truly "alternative" to mainstream care) should be included. This needs paring down. Especially Neural therapy hardly deserves mention in the template (and its article happens to be an atrocious piece of advertising). -- Fyslee (talk) 04:29, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Good point about Neural therapy; I removed it. Any others? Eubulides (talk) 06:38, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Please add a template of Academic resources....[edit]

or the one of academic journal-- (talk) 02:03, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

As far as I know, there are no reliable sources for alternative medicine. SciMedKnowledge (talk) 02:15, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
In a certain sense that is true. The promotional ones are rarely RS, and the mainstream ones that discuss alternative medicine are usually critical, and they are RS. There are quite a few listed here:
-- Brangifer (talk) 05:57, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree that peer reviewed journals are highly critical. But almost any medical or scientific journal that is peer reviewed and also has a high impact factor have published critiques of alt med, so it's almost like the list could be huge. Oh well, I don't think it's a big issue. SciMedKnowledge (talk) 06:16, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
NEJM devoted a whole issue to it, and its editors had incisive comments. I think this is the editorial from that issue. This is another noted editor who doesn't hide his views:
-- Brangifer (talk) 07:51, 17 May 2009 (UTC)


Zanze123 (talk · contribs) has twice added Orthopathy to this template, claiming that it's an alternative medical system of note. I see no evidence that it's of any note. It's not listed at NCCAM, and it's not listed in mainstream sources. Google searches for the term show that it's more often used in a religious sense that has nothing to do with medicine (it means "right-heartedness", as opposed to orthodoxy which means "right-mindedness"). This template does not have room for every medical theory that might have a few adherents. I don't see any way that orthopathy can make the cut here. Eubulides (talk) 21:55, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Eubulides (talk · contribs) has twiced removed Orthopathy before providing any discussion on the subject. OK, orthopathy is not an alternative medical system, it's not of note because Eubulides can't find information on it, NCCAM is gospel even though it only covers subjects where there are published papers and published papers are only published when publishers deem published papers 'relevant' to the journal's audience (publishers can publish whatever they like), Orthopathy only has a 'few adherrents' because Eubulides believes so, and the meaning of Orthopathy has nothing to do with alternative medicine because Eubulides says so according to one definition of what it means. Zanze123 (talk) 22:28, 13 November 2009 (UTC)
Eubulides is correct. He followed the WP:BRD cycle, while you began edit warring by restoring it, instead of followng the BRD cycle by discussing the problem here. This template is only for large systems with a significant following. They must be very notable. We can't list every single possible alternative medical practice with a few followers. Keep in mind this is a template, not an article or list. Don't restore it without a solid consensus. -- Brangifer (talk) 00:33, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

There is no consensus on Wikipedia, only warring factions. I did not begin edit warring. I made a change, which was then reversed WITHOUT discussion. OK orthopathy is not a large system with a significant following. Lol. As for what is notable. to what extent is NCCAM notable given that it is based on clinical research in published journals, where published journals first decide whether the papers are of interest to their audience before bothering to send papers for peer review, giving them freedom to not publish anything they don't want to. Zanze123 (talk) 14:43, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

The previous comment seems to be arguing against two Wikipedia policies (Wikipedia:Consensus and Wikipedia:Verifiability) at the same time. Wikipedia policies are sometimes wrong and can be changed, but that should be taken up on the policies' talk pages, not here. Eubulides (talk) 18:52, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

template image[edit]

I do think the template needs some kind of image - it's pretty ugly as is. can we find something that works? --Ludwigs2 20:07, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Do other templates of this type have an image? If we're going to use an image, I suggest the one used on the template at the top of the page:
Brangifer (talk) 22:05, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
eh, I added the template image option mostly because I think the template looks bare an ugly without one. The default is currently blank, but the image can be added on a page-by-page basis. Which page are you talking about for this aura image? --Ludwigs2 22:24, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Make it the default image for all uses. Allowing different images on each article is an open invitation to POV pushing and myriad edit wars. This image has been accepted by the community for some time now. It was designed by User:Levine2112. -- Brangifer (talk) 01:27, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Alt Med is such a widely ranging topic that I think individual page specifications are almost mandatory. besides, I've already run into opposition to using any kind of generic default image. I think it's best to just leave it blank and let pages specify. I mean, we can start a discussion about using a generic image - maybe we could create an animated gif to run through various appropriate images? but currently there's no consensus for it. --Ludwigs2 01:40, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Where have you run into opposition? Currently there is no consensus for anything, much less an image. The template's been functioning fine without it. -- Brangifer (talk) 02:35, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
I think we're talking past each other. I added an image originally, which Eubulides reverted. so I added it as an option with a default image, and Eubulides removed the default. both perfectly fine actions, but making it clear that there's no consensus for having a common image on the template. the functionality for a page-dependent images is still in there, and is used on a couple of pages (where I've added it). I think the template looks much better with an image of some sort rather than without, which is why I started this whole process. you can disagree with that, but I think at this point the best thing to do is work with it on a page-by-page basis. I don't think we need to do anything more with the template - the parameter can stay in place even if we decide not to use it. --Ludwigs2 02:45, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
The default image wasn't appropriate for Chiropractic, and I think it unlikely that any single image will work that well in all the places this template is used. For example, File:Outline-body-aura.png might be appropriate for energy therapies but it's not right for herbalism (or for chiropractic, for that matter). Eubulides (talk) 04:24, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Note that it was created by one of the strongest pushers of chiropractic opinion around. It does fit for chiropractic because of the mystical and vitalistic roots of the profession, even today, since they still haven't (and can't) divorced themselves from non-existent vertebral subluxations per the last official statement from the school leaders. Since alternative medicine is by definition largely based on non-scientific methods and/or is non-EBM, the image works pretty well, which is probably why even the supporters of alternative medicine have accepted its use. -- Brangifer (talk) 05:29, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Brangifer: Eub was talking about the default image I used (spanish herbal market) not the aural image you're referring to. I don't know anything about chiropractic, I don't know who pushes for it or who pushes against it, and I'd rather not hear about that anyway. --Ludwigs2 06:15, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
My, this is getting confusing! I originally was talking about the Spanish herbal market, but my most recent comment also discussed the aura image. Eubulides (talk) 06:35, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
lol - well, does anyone have any objections to the current arrangement? --Ludwigs2 06:49, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
My main concern is that we limit edit warring, and different images on each article are potential edit war magnets. Either use no image or use a neutral one that has been accepted widely without any opposition. -- Brangifer (talk) 07:01, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(outdent) I don't think that's a reasonable request. what image would work on topics as diverse as chiropractic, Chinese traditional medicine, and ayurveda (not to mention more arcane topics)? I can't see opposing the possibility of an image just because of the potential for edit wars, nor can I see the value on insisting on a common image when it will obviously be unsatisfactory on some pages, and will certainly cause stressful debates. --Ludwigs2 07:27, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

That's why no image has worked just fine. The image I suggested has already been working with no objections, but I'm not insisting on an image, since having no image has also worked just fine. Other templates have no image. While improvement always involves change, there can be lots of change without improvement. Sometimes it's best to follow the old adage: "If it isn't broken, don't fix it." -- Brangifer (talk) 14:49, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Formatting by hand[edit]

A recent edit replaced the old version 1, which used {{Infobox}}, with a new version 2 that uses {{Sidebar with heading backgrounds}} and formatted the sidebar by hand using "<br/>". I redid it to version 3, which lets the browser do the layout, but this was reverted with the edit summary 'That makes the template to narrow, and puts a "·" at the end of every line.'

However, version 3 doesn't make the sidebar too narrow: the width looks just fine when the sidebar stands alone. Version 2 results in very bad layout when browsers are configured to use large fonts (a common practice among visually impaired readers), as the sidebar becomes way too wide and doesn't even fit within the screen. If width is an issue in some contexts (perhaps because of neighboring images or other sidebars), we can add a |style= parameter to let the template invoker choose their own width and other style parameters.

Also, there's nothing wrong with version 3's putting the "·" at the end of the lines when this separates items; this clearly and consistently indicates the reader the boundary between two items, and is less confusing than the version 2 approach, which occasionally breaks an item across line boundaries and for which a line boundary therefore is visually ambiguous (sometimes it's a separator between items, sometimes not). Consistent use of "·" is common in navbox templates, and is used in {{Alternative medicine}} and many similar templates.

While we're on the subject, what's the point of using {{Sidebar with heading backgrounds}} at all? What's wrong with {{Infobox}}? If we can't come up with a good approach with {{Sidebar with heading backgrounds}} perhaps we should just revert back to version 1.

Anyway, I've made this further edit to version 3, which adds a |style= parameter as discussed above. Further comments are welcome. Eubulides (talk) 18:32, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Ah, I see your point. Sorry! Gabbe (talk) 22:25, 21 February 2010 (UTC)


What was the reason for inclusion osteopathy in this template? That's a traditional medicine, is not it? Biophys (talk) 18:40, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Not to my knowledge - the article says late 19th century, whereas traditional medicine usually means practiced since time immemorial or something along those lines. My guess is that non-US osteopathy is the intended target (the holistic kind rather than the roughly-equivalent-to-an-MD kind). Osteopathy talks about the differences a fair bit, and seems to be the main article for the alternative medicine; Osteopathic manipulative medicine is hat-linked from there, and I am not sure how we could really make the distinction in this template. - 2/0 (cont.) 19:18, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I mean "modern" or "mainstream" medicine (it seems that Traditional medicine actually refer to "alternative medicine", sorry, I did not realized that). The point is very simple. The vast majority of people with DO degrees come from the US and work in the field of "mainstream medicine", legally and based on their education and qualification. Hence placing this area to "alternative medicine" (as something opposed to "mainstream medicine") is hardly justifiable.Biophys (talk) 20:44, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Meaning that free of the context at that article, it is misleading simply to say osteopathy? I can buy that. I think that this template is intended as a representative rather than comprehensive list, so go ahead and remove it if nobody else objects. The template still renders fine on my display without it, so I do not think we need to worry overmuch about replacing it. - 2/0 (cont.) 21:25, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
As 2/0 says, there is a difference. The original form of osteopathy as started by Andrew Taylor Still (a spiritualist like D. D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic), was a form of alternative medicine with metaphysical and unscientific roots, but unlike Palmer, Still was an MD to begin with and had quite a bit more knowledge, although at the time that was quite limited. In contrast to chiropractic, osteopaths officially and in writing distanced themselves from their unscientific roots and gradually updated their educational standards to something nearing, but still not quite, that of MDs. (Chiropractic has yet to make such an official declaration, but hopes to modernize under the radar so they don't have to admit they've been treating a fictive lesion all along, IOW operating a scam all along.) These DOs are legally considered on a par with MDs. It is these DOs who are referred to as Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, yet in common parlance they are still often called Osteopaths, which makes the matter confusing. To distinguish the scientific ones from those who practice according to the old unscientific manner, especially in countries outside the USA where they do not receive the same degree of education and are educated in the old manner, we have two articles. One is generic and the other specifically for the near-equals of MDs. Are you still confused? You should be! As long as there exists a separate education, there will be confusion. It also increases the likelihood that a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine will include old-fashioned quackery in his practice, like Joseph Mercola does. To be fair, there are also MDs who include unscientific ideas and methods in their practices (think Andrew Weil and Dr. Oz). Quackery knows no boundaries. -- Brangifer (talk) 03:54, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
I got a bit sidetracked in my long homily, but our osteopathy article covers the whole thing and describes both the alternative aspects and links to the scientific Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine article, but because the template uses the system of classification set up by NCCAM, we shouldn't have it under "alternative....". They classify it as "conventional" like MDs, PTs, etc.., and not "alternative". We can just leave it up to the article to make the distinctions because of local applications in other countries. So I vote for removing it from this template. -- Brangifer (talk) 04:11, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
A part of the confusion comes from the existence of two separate articles, Osteopathic manipulative medicine (history/philosophical issues) and Soft tissue technique (that is what osteopathic physicians actually do). The latter is just a standard/mainstream medical technique to relax muscles and restore blood circulation. Curiously enough, it was even taught in Russian medical schools, but was not widely used.Biophys (talk) 15:44, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
The latter of which is a much better written and informative article. Anyone feel up to upgrading or maybe merging? Anyway, consensus seems good enough here that I just removed Osteopathy from the template. Spot-checking a few of the articles where the template is used, this does not seem to have borked anything, but a few more eyes viewing at different screen widths would not go amiss (also keep in mind that the width of the template follows the image, if used). - 2/0 (cont.) 23:23, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Thank you! I will probably look at some articles in this area later.Biophys (talk) 05:18, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Despite of consensus here, someone placed Osteopathy back without discussion. I am going to remove it. My very best wishes (talk) 04:05, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

NCCAM Classifications 3[edit]

Maybe the original editor used information that is not currently on the NCCAM website. In any case, NCCAM offers the following classifications of alternative medicine:

Natural Products

Mind-Body Medicine

Manipulative and Body-Based Practices

Movement Therapeis

Traditional Healers

Energy Fields

Whole Medical Systems

If this is how NCCAM classifies this field, and we say that we are using NCCAM classification then the two should match up. If Wiki articles have different names, then the NCCAM name shold be used in the template and redirected to the appropriate article.Desoto10 (talk) 22:48, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Well, according to their definition [2], the conventional medicine is something that certified doctors and nurses do ("Conventional medicine is medicine as practiced by holders of M.D. (medical doctor) and D.O. (doctor of osteopathic medicine) degrees and by allied health professionals, such as physical therapists, psychologists, and registered nurses."). That sounds logical. Other than that, their classification is a strange combination of an outright pseudoscience (like Magnet therapy) and something that obviously works (like massage) ... My very best wishes (talk) 04:41, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

template additions, removals[edit]

As per my edit summary, I added MT and Osteopathy per their prevalance and rmv herbs and anthro med based on the same rationale. Also, I retitled it 'CAM' as opposed to 'AM' according to the Cochrane collaboration. DVMt (talk) 22:55, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Please discuss at talk. DVMt (talk) 04:20, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
BR says it's my turn to discuss here [3] yet he is not discussing it himself? My argument is at the top. DVMt (talk) 04:59, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I hadn't noticed that you had commented here. I'm busy in real life and don't have much time for editing.
This template is based on the official NCCAM classifications (see sections at top for consensus decision), not on anything else, including Cochrane. Since CAM is an umbrella term that does not refer to any specific modalities (unlike "alternative medicine"), it is far too large a concept to use here. The title of this template (see the URL and the actual title above) is "Alternative medical systems," and that's why it should be described in that way. -- Brangifer (talk) 05:53, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Is this the template for what appears at the top right of most or all of the various alternative medicine topic articles? If so, why should NCCAM, a political body, get to dominate articles at Wikipedia, an encyclopedia? Maybe I am not understanding what this template is. FloraWilde (talk) 05:02, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

NCCAM classifications have no place at Wikipedia[edit]

Wikipedia is where we write about NCCAM classifications, not adopt them. NCCAM invented a layer of meta-nonsense on top of the nonsense that is alternative medicine. For example, saying that acupuncture is based on supernatural qi "energy", and that some other alternative medicine systems are also based on supernatural energies, therefore there is a category of "energy medicines", is nonsense.

Some alternative medicine systems cannot fit into the NCCAM framework. For example, some Eskimo tribes believe that the cause of illness is stealing one or more appropriate soul of a multiple souled person, which a traditional doctor needs to recover to restore health. Other tribes believe that joints in the body have their own soul or souls, which if lost are the cause of pain. NCCAM would try to interpret this as not nonsense by in order to give legitimacy to funding testing of it, for example by calling a soul an "energy field", which is to utter nonsense. Fitting it into a "traditional healer" category, an apparent catch all, fails in that a newly made-up alternative medicine with similar multi-souls as disease cause, is not "traditional".
The Wikipedia category of "alternative medical systems" (e.g. TCM), which is somehow distinguished from "practices" (e.g. acupuncture) is something entirely made up either by NCCAM, or Wikipedians, and it is not encyclopedic to either make it up, or adopt it from NCCAM. An article such as NCCAM classifications of alternative medicine systems would be legitimate, if properly sourced. But a template based on it, is not. A political body declaring something to exist does not make it exist. FloraWilde (talk) 05:51, 29 July 2014 (UTC)