|Complementary & alternative medicine (CAM), complementary medicine, heterodox medicine, integrative medicine, new-age medicine, unconventional medicine, unorthodox medicine|
"They told me if I took 1000 pills at night I should be quite another thing in the morning", an early 19th-century satire on Morison's Vegetable Pills, an alternative medicine supplement.
|This article is part of a series on|
|Alternative and pseudo‑medicine|
Alternative medicine – or fringe medicine – includes practices claimed to have the healing effects of medicine but which are disproven, 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. 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 rebranded 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".
- 1 Appeal
- 2 Definitions and terminology
- 3 Types
- 4 History
- 5 Efficacy
- 6 Criticism, legitimacy and effects
- 7 Placebo effect
- 8 Use and regulation
- 9 Conflicts of interest
- 10 Risks
- 11 Gallery
- 12 See also
- 13 Notes
- 14 References
- 15 Bibliography
- 16 Further reading
- 17 External links
Practitioners of complementary medicine usually discuss and advise patients as to available alternative therapies. Patients often express interest in mind-body complementary therapies because they offer a non-drug approach to treating some health conditions.[clarification needed]
In addition to the social-cultural underpinnings of the popularity of alternative medicine, there are several psychological issues that are critical to its growth. One of the most critical is the placebo effect – a well-established observation in medicine. Related to it are similar psychological effects, such as the will to believe, cognitive biases that help maintain self-esteem and promote harmonious social functioning, and the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy.
Why is it so popular, then? Ernst blames the providers, customers and the doctors whose neglect, he says, has created the opening into which alternative therapists have stepped. "People are told lies. There are 40 million websites and 39.9 million tell lies, sometimes outrageous lies. They mislead cancer patients, who are encouraged not only to pay their last penny but to be treated with something that shortens their lives. "At the same time, people are gullible. It needs gullibility for the industry to succeed. It doesn't make me popular with the public, but it's the truth.
Paul Offit proposed that "alternative medicine becomes quackery" in four ways: by recommending against conventional therapies that are helpful, promoting potentially harmful therapies without adequate warning, draining patients' bank accounts, or by promoting "magical thinking."
A failure of mainstream medicine
In a paper published in October 2010 entitled The public's enthusiasm for complementary and alternative medicine amounts to a critique of mainstream medicine, Ernst described these views in greater detail and concluded:
[CAM] is popular. An analysis of the reasons why this is so points towards the therapeutic relationship as a key factor. 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. We should consider it seriously with a view of improving our service to patients.
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. There are several socio-cultural reasons for the interest in these treatments centered on the low level of scientific literacy among the public at large and a concomitant increase in antiscientific attitudes and new age mysticism. Related to this are vigorous marketing of extravagant claims by the alternative medical community combined with inadequate media scrutiny and attacks on critics.
There is also an increase in conspiracy theories toward conventional medicine and pharmaceutical companies, mistrust of traditional authority figures, such as the physician, and a dislike of the current delivery methods of scientific biomedicine, all of which have led patients to seek out alternative medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Many patients lack access to contemporary medicine, due to a lack of private or public health insurance, which leads them to seek out lower-cost alternative medicine. Medical doctors are also aggressively marketing alternative medicine to profit from this market.
Patients can be averse to the painful, unpleasant, and sometimes-dangerous side effects of biomedical treatments. Treatments for severe diseases such as cancer and HIV infection have well-known, significant side-effects. Even low-risk medications such as antibiotics can have potential to cause life-threatening anaphylactic reactions in a very few individuals. Many medications may cause minor but bothersome symptoms such as cough or upset stomach. In all of these cases, patients may be seeking out alternative treatments to avoid the adverse effects of conventional treatments.
Definitions and terminology
Alternative medicine is defined loosely as a set of products, practices, and theories that are believed or perceived by their users to have the healing effects of medicine,[n 1][n 2] but whose effectiveness has not been clearly established using scientific methods,[n 1][n 3] or whose theory and practice is not part of biomedicine,[n 2][n 4][n 5][n 6] or whose theories or practices are directly contradicted by scientific evidence or scientific principles used in biomedicine. "Biomedicine" or "medicine" is that part of medical science that applies principles of biology, physiology, molecular biology, biophysics, and other natural sciences to clinical practice, using scientific methods to establish the effectiveness of that practice. Unlike medicine,[n 4] an alternative product or practice does not originate from using scientific methodology, but may instead be based on testimonials, religion, tradition, superstition, belief in supernatural energies, pseudoscience, errors in reasoning, propaganda, fraud, or other unscientific sources.[n 3]
In General Guidelines for Methodologies on Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine, published in 2000 by the World Health Organization (WHO), complementary and alternative medicine were defined as a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country's own tradition and are not integrated into the dominant health care system.
The expression also refers to a diverse range of related and unrelated products, practices, and theories ranging from biologically plausible practices and products and practices with some evidence, to practices and theories that are directly contradicted by basic science or clear evidence, and products that have been conclusively proven to be ineffective or even toxic and harmful.[n 2]
The terms-Alternative medicine, complementary medicine, integrative medicine, holistic medicine, natural medicine, unorthodox medicine, fringe medicine, unconventional medicine, and new age medicine are used interchangeably as having the same meaning and are almost synonymous in some contexts, but may have different meanings in some rare cases.
The meaning of the term "alternative" in the expression "alternative medicine", is not that it is an effective alternative to medical science, although some alternative medicine promoters may use the loose terminology to give the appearance of effectiveness. Loose terminology may also be used to suggest meaning that a dichotomy exists when it does not, e.g., the use of the expressions "western medicine" and "eastern medicine" to suggest that the difference is a cultural difference between the Asiatic east and the European west, rather than that the difference is between evidence-based medicine and treatments that don't work.
Complementary/integrative 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.[n 7] 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.
Allopathic medicine or allopathy is an expression commonly used by homeopaths and proponents of other forms of alternative medicine to refer to mainstream medicine. Specifically it refers to the use of pharmacologically active agents or physical interventions to treat or suppress symptoms or pathophysiologic processes of diseases or conditions. The expression was coined in 1810 by the creator of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843). In such circles, the expression "allopathic medicine" is still used to refer to "the broad category of medical practice that is sometimes called Western medicine, biomedicine, evidence-based medicine, or modern medicine" (see the article on scientific medicine).
Use of the term remains common among homeopaths and has spread to other alternative medicine practices. The meaning implied by the label has never been accepted by conventional medicine and is considered pejorative. More recently, some sources have used the term "allopathic", particularly American sources wishing to distinguish between Doctors of Medicine (MD) and Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) in the United States. William Jarvis, an expert on alternative medicine and public health, states that "although many modern therapies can be construed to conform to an allopathic rationale (e.g., using a laxative to relieve constipation), standard medicine has never paid allegiance to an allopathic principle" and that the label "allopath" was from the start "considered highly derisive by regular 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 name is chosen.
Traditional medicine refers to the pre-scientific practices of a certain culture, contrary to what is typically practiced in other cultures where medical science dominates.
"Eastern medicine" typically refers to the traditional medicines of Asia where conventional bio-medicine penetrated much later.
Problems with definition
Prominent members of the science and biomedical science community say that it is not meaningful to define an alternative medicine that is separate from a conventional medicine, that the expressions "conventional medicine", "alternative medicine", "complementary medicine", "integrative medicine", and "holistic medicine" do not refer to any medicine at all.
Others in both the biomedical and CAM communities say that CAM cannot be precisely defined because of the diversity of theories and practices it includes, and because the boundaries between CAM and biomedicine overlap, are porous, and change. The expression "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) resists easy definition because the health systems and practices it refers to are diffuse, and its boundaries poorly defined.[n 8] Healthcare practices categorized as alternative may differ in their historical origin, theoretical basis, diagnostic technique, therapeutic practice and in their relationship to the medical mainstream. Some alternative therapies, including traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, have antique origins in East or South Asia and are entirely alternative medical systems; others, such as homeopathy and chiropractic, have origins in Europe or the United States and emerged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Some, such as osteopathy and chiropractic, employ manipulative physical methods of treatment; others, such as meditation and prayer, are based on mind-body interventions. Treatments considered alternative in one location may be considered conventional in another. Thus, chiropractic is not considered alternative in Denmark and likewise osteopathic medicine is no longer thought of as an alternative therapy in the United States.
Critics say the expression is deceptive because it implies there is an effective alternative to science-based medicine, and that complementary is deceptive because it implies that the treatment increases the effectiveness of (complements) science-based medicine, while alternative medicines that have been tested nearly always have no measurable positive effect compared to a placebo.
Different types of definitions
One common feature of all definitions of alternative medicine is its designation as "other than" conventional medicine. For example, the widely referenced descriptive definition of complementary and alternative medicine devised by the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), states that it is "a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine". For conventional medical practitioners, it does not necessarily follow that either it or its practitioners would no longer be considered alternative.[n 9]
Some definitions seek to specify alternative medicine in terms of its social and political marginality to mainstream healthcare. This can refer to the lack of support that alternative therapies receive from the medical establishment and related bodies regarding access to research funding, sympathetic coverage in the medical press, or inclusion in the standard medical curriculum. In 1993, the British Medical Association (BMA), one among many professional organizations who have attempted to define alternative medicine, stated that it[n 10] referred to "...those forms of treatment which are not widely used by the conventional healthcare professions, and the skills of which are not taught as part of the undergraduate curriculum of conventional medical and paramedical healthcare courses". In a US context, an influential definition coined in 1993 by the Harvard-based physician, David M. Eisenberg, characterized alternative medicine "as interventions neither taught widely in medical schools nor generally available in US hospitals". These descriptive definitions are inadequate in the present-day when some conventional doctors offer alternative medical treatments and CAM introductory courses or modules can be offered as part of standard undergraduate medical training; alternative medicine is taught in more than 50 per cent of US medical schools and increasingly US health insurers are willing to provide reimbursement for CAM therapies. In 1999, 7.7% of US hospitals reported using some form of CAM therapy; this proportion had risen to 37.7% by 2008.
An expert panel at a conference hosted in 1995 by the US Office for Alternative Medicine (OAM),[n 11] devised a theoretical definition of alternative medicine as "a broad domain of healing resources ... other than those intrinsic to the politically dominant health system of a particular society or culture in a given historical period". This definition has been widely adopted by CAM researchers, cited by official government bodies such as the UK Department of Health, attributed as the definition used by the Cochrane Collaboration, and, with some modification,[dubious ] was preferred in the 2005 consensus report of the US Institute of Medicine, Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States.[n 2]
The 1995 OAM conference definition, an expansion of Eisenberg's 1993 formulation, is silent regarding questions of the medical effectiveness of alternative therapies. Its proponents hold that it thus avoids relativism about differing forms of medical knowledge and, while it is an essentially political definition, this should not imply that the dominance of mainstream biomedicine is solely due to political forces. According to this definition, alternative and mainstream medicine can only be differentiated with reference to what is "intrinsic to the politically dominant health system of a particular society of culture". However, there is neither a reliable method to distinguish between cultures and subcultures, nor to attribute them as dominant or subordinate, nor any accepted criteria to determine the dominance of a cultural entity. If the culture of a politically dominant healthcare system is held to be equivalent to the perspectives of those charged with the medical management of leading healthcare institutions and programs, the definition fails to recognize the potential for division either within such an elite or between a healthcare elite and the wider population.
Normative definitions distinguish alternative medicine from the biomedical mainstream in its provision of therapies that are unproven, unvalidated, or ineffective and support of theories with no recognized scientific basis. These definitions characterize practices as constituting alternative medicine when, used independently or in place of evidence-based medicine, they are put forward as having the healing effects of medicine, but are not based on evidence gathered with the scientific method. Exemplifying this perspective, a 1998 editorial co-authored by Marcia Angell, a former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine, argued that:
It is time for the scientific community to stop giving alternative medicine a free ride. There cannot be two kinds of medicine – conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work. Once a treatment has been tested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was considered alternative at the outset. If it is found to be reasonably safe and effective, it will be accepted. But assertions, speculation, and testimonials do not substitute for evidence. Alternative treatments should be subjected to scientific testing no less rigorous than that required for conventional treatments.
This line of division has been subject to criticism, however, as not all forms of standard medical practice have adequately demonstrated evidence of benefit,[n 4] and it is also unlikely in most instances that conventional therapies, if proven to be ineffective, would ever be classified as CAM.
Similarly, the public information website maintained by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of the Commonwealth of Australia uses the acronym "CAM" for a wide range of health care practices, therapies, procedures and devices not within the domain of conventional medicine. In the Australian context this is stated to include acupuncture; aromatherapy; chiropractic; homeopathy; massage; meditation and relaxation therapies; naturopathy; osteopathy; reflexology, traditional Chinese medicine; and the use of vitamin supplements.
The Danish National Board of Health's "Council for Alternative Medicine" (Sundhedsstyrelsens Råd for Alternativ Behandling (SRAB)), an independent institution under the National Board of Health (Danish: Sundhedsstyrelsen), uses the term "alternative medicine" for:
- Treatments performed by therapists that are not authorized healthcare professionals.
- Treatments performed by authorized healthcare professionals, but those based on methods otherwise used mainly outside the healthcare system. People without a healthcare authorisation are [also] allowed to perform the treatments.
Proponents of an evidence-base for medicine[n 12] such as the Cochrane Collaboration (founded in 1993 and from 2011 providing input for WHO resolutions) take a position that all systematic reviews of treatments, whether "mainstream" or "alternative", ought to be held to the current standards of scientific method. In a study titled Development and classification of an operational definition of complementary and alternative medicine for the Cochrane Collaboration (2011) it was proposed that indicators that a therapy is accepted include government licensing of practitioners, coverage by health insurance, statements of approval by government agencies, and recommendation as part of a practice guideline; and that if something is currently a standard, accepted therapy, then it is not likely to be widely considered as CAM.
A United States government agency, the National Center on Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), created its own classification system for branches of complementary and alternative medicine that divides them into five major groups. These groups have some overlap, and distinguish two types of energy medicine: veritable which involves scientifically observable energy (including magnet therapy, colorpuncture and light therapy) and putative, which invokes physically undetectable or unverifiable energy.
The NCCIH classification system is -
- Whole medical systems: Cut across more than one of the other groups; examples include traditional Chinese medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy, and ayurveda
- Mind-body interventions: Explore the interconnection between the mind, body, and spirit, under the premise that the mind can affect "bodily functions and symptoms"
- "Biology"-based practices: Use substances found in nature such as herbs, foods, vitamins, and other natural substances. (Note that as used here, "biology" does not refer to the science of biology, but is a usage newly coined by NCCIH in the primary source used for this article. "Biology-based" as coined by NCCIH may refer to chemicals from a nonbiological source, such as use of the poison lead in traditional Chinese medicine, and to other nonbiological substances.)
- Manipulative and body-based practices: feature manipulation or movement of body parts, such as is done in bodywork, chiropractic, and osteopathic manipulation
- Energy medicine: is a domain that deals with putative and verifiable energy fields:
- Biofield therapies are intended to influence energy fields that are purported to surround and penetrate the body. No empirical evidence has been found to support the existence of the putative energy fields on which these therapies are predicated.
- Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies use verifiable electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, alternating-current, or direct-current fields in an unconventional manner.
Alternative medicine consists of a wide range of health care practices, products, and therapies. The shared feature is a claim to heal that is not based on the scientific method. Alternative medicine practices are diverse in their foundations and methodologies. Alternative medicine practices may be classified by their cultural origins or by the types of beliefs upon which they are based. Methods may incorporate or be based on traditional medicinal practices of a particular culture, folk knowledge, superstition, spiritual beliefs, belief in supernatural energies (antiscience), pseudoscience, errors in reasoning, propaganda, fraud, new or different concepts of health and disease, and any bases other than being proven by scientific methods. Different cultures may have their own unique traditional or belief based practices developed recently or over thousands of years, and specific practices or entire systems of practices.
Unscientific belief systems
|Naturopathy||Naturopathic medicine is based on a belief that the body heals itself using a supernatural vital energy that guides bodily processes.||In conflict with the paradigm of evidence-based medicine. Many naturopaths have opposed vaccination, and "scientific evidence does not support claims that naturopathic medicine can cure cancer or any other disease".|
|Homeopathy||A belief that a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people cures similar symptoms in sick people.[n 13]||Developed before knowledge of atoms and molecules, or of basic chemistry, which shows that repeated dilution as practiced in homeopathy produces only water, and that homeopathy is not scientifically valid.|
Traditional ethnic systems
Alternative medical systems may be based on traditional medicine practices, such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurveda in India, or practices of other cultures around the world. Some useful applications of traditional medicines have been researched and accepted within ordinary medicine, however the underlying belief systems are seldom scientific and are not accepted.
|Traditional Chinese medicine||Traditional practices and beliefs from China, together with modifications made by the Communist party make up TCM. Common practices include herbal medicine, acupuncture (insertion of needles in the body at specified points), massage (Tui na), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy.||The practices are based on belief in a supernatural energy called qi, considerations of Chinese Astrology and Chinese numerology, traditional use of herbs and other substances found in China – a belief that the tongue contains a map of the body that reflects changes in the body, and an incorrect model of the anatomy and physiology of internal organs.|
|Ayurveda||Traditional medicine of India. Ayurveda believes in the existence of three elemental substances, the doshas (called Vata, Pitta and Kapha), and states that a balance of the doshas results in health, while imbalance results in disease. Such disease-inducing imbalances can be adjusted and balanced using traditional herbs, minerals and heavy metals. Ayurveda stresses the use of plant-based medicines and treatments, with some animal products, and added minerals, including sulfur, arsenic, lead, copper sulfate.||Safety concerns have been raised about Ayurveda, with two U.S. studies finding about 20 percent of Ayurvedic Indian-manufactured patent medicines contained toxic levels of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. Other concerns include the use of herbs containing toxic compounds and the lack of quality control in Ayurvedic facilities. Incidents of heavy metal poisoning have been attributed to the use of these compounds in the United States.|
Bases of belief may include belief in existence of supernatural energies undetected by the science of physics, as in biofields, or in belief in properties of the energies of physics that are inconsistent with the laws of physics, as in energy medicine.
|Biofield therapy||Intended to influence energy fields that, it is purported, surround and penetrate the body.||Writers such as noted astrophysicist and advocate of skeptical thinking (Scientific skepticism) Carl Sagan (1934–1996) have described the lack of empirical evidence to support the existence of the putative energy fields on which these therapies are predicated.|
|Bioelectromagnetic therapy||Use verifiable electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, alternating-current, or direct-current fields in an unconventional manner.||Asserts that magnets can be used to defy the laws of physics to influence health and disease.|
|Chiropractic||Spinal manipulation aims to treat "vertebral subluxations" which are claimed to put pressure on nerves.||Chiropractic was developed in the belief that manipulating the spine affects the flow of a supernatural vital energy and thereby affects health and disease. Vertebral subluxation is a pseudoscientific concept and has not been proven to exist.|
|Reiki||Practitioners place their palms on the patient near Chakras that they believe are centers of supernatural energies in the belief that these supernatural energies can transfer from the practitioner's palms to heal the patient.||Lacks credible scientific evidence.|
|Mind-body medicine||The mind can affect "bodily functions and symptoms" and there is an interconnection between the mind, body, and spirit.|
Herbal remedies and other substances used
Substance based practices use substances found in nature such as herbs, foods, non-vitamin supplements and megavitamins, animal and fungal products, and minerals, including use of these products in traditional medical practices that may also incorporate other methods. Examples include healing claims for nonvitamin supplements, fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acid, glucosamine, echinacea, flaxseed oil, and ginseng. Herbal medicine, or phytotherapy, includes not just the use of plant products, but may also include the use of animal and mineral products. It is among the most commercially successful branches of alternative medicine, and includes the tablets, powders and elixirs that are sold as "nutritional supplements". Only a very small percentage of these have been shown to have any efficacy, and there is little regulation as to standards and safety of their contents. This may include use of known toxic substances, such as use of the poison lead in traditional Chinese medicine.
Religion, faith healing, and prayer
|Christian faith healing||There is a divine or spiritual intervention in healing.|
|Shamanism||A practitioner can reach an altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world or channel supernatural energies in the belief that they can heal.|
The history of alternative medicine may refer to the history of a group of diverse medical practices that were collectively promoted as "alternative medicine" beginning in the 1970s, to the collection of individual histories of members of that group, or to the history of western medical practices that were labeled "irregular practices" by the western medical establishment. It includes the histories of complementary medicine and of integrative medicine. Before the 1970s, western practitioners that were not part of the increasingly science-based medical establishment were referred to "irregular practitioners", and were dismissed by the medical establishment as unscientific and as practicing quackery. Until the 1970's, irregular practice became increasingly marginalized as quackery and fraud, as western medicine increasingly incorporated scientific methods and discoveries, and had a corresponding increase in success of its treatments. In the 1970s, irregular practices were grouped with traditional practices of nonwestern cultures and with other unproven or disproven practices that were not part of biomedicine, with the entire group collectively marketed and promoted under the single expression "alternative medicine".
Use of alternative medicine in the west began to rise following the counterculture movement of the 1960s, as part of the rising new age movement of the 1970s. This was due to misleading mass marketing of "alternative medicine" being an effective "alternative" to biomedicine, changing social attitudes about not using chemicals and challenging the establishment and authority of any kind, sensitivity to giving equal measure to beliefs and practices of other cultures (cultural relativism), and growing frustration and desperation by patients about limitations and side effects of science-based medicine. At the same time, in 1975, the American Medical Association, which played the central role in fighting quackery in the United States, abolished its quackery committee and closed down its Department of Investigation.:xxi By the early to mid 1970s the expression "alternative medicine" came into widespread use, and the expression became mass marketed as a collection of "natural" and effective treatment "alternatives" to science-based biomedicine. By 1983, mass marketing of "alternative medicine" was so pervasive that the British Medical Journal (BMJ) pointed to "an apparently endless stream of books, articles, and radio and television programmes urge on the public the virtues of (alternative medicine) treatments ranging from meditation to drilling a hole in the skull to let in more oxygen". In this 1983 article, the BMJ wrote, "one of the few growth industries in contemporary Britain is alternative medicine", noting that by 1983, "33% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 39% of those with backache admitted to having consulted an alternative practitioner".
By about 1990, the American alternative medicine industry had grown to a $27 billion per year, with polls showing 30% of Americans were using it. Moreover, polls showed that Americans made more visits for alternative therapies than the total number of visits to primary care doctors, and American out-of-pocket spending (non-insurance spending) on alternative medicine was about equal to spending on biomedical doctors.:172 In 1991, Time magazine ran a cover story, "The New Age of Alternative Medicine: Why New Age Medicine Is Catching On". In 1993, the New England Journal of Medicine reported one in three Americans as using alternative medicine. In 1993, the Public Broadcasting System ran a Bill Moyers special, Healing and the Mind, with Moyers commenting that "...people by the tens of millions are using alternative medicine. If established medicine does not understand that, they are going to lose their clients."
Another explosive growth began in the 1990s, when senior level political figures began promoting alternative medicine, investing large sums of government medical research funds into testing alternative medicine, including testing of scientifically implausible treatments, and relaxing government regulation of alternative medicine products as compared to biomedical products.:xxi Beginning with a 1991 appropriation of $2 million for funding research of alternative medicine research, federal spending grew to a cumulative total of about $2.5 billion by 2009, with 50% of Americans using alternative medicine by 2013.
In 1993, Britain's Prince Charles, who claimed that homeopathy and other alternative medicine was an effective alternative to biomedicine, established The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH), as a charity to explore "how safe, proven complementary therapies can work in conjunction with mainstream medicine". The FIH received government funding through grants from Britain's Department of Health. In 2008, London's The Times published a letter from Edzard Ernst that asked the FIH to recall two guides promoting alternative medicine, saying: "the majority of alternative therapies appear to be clinically ineffective, and many are downright dangerous." In 2010, the FIH closed after allegations of fraud and money laundering led to arrests of its officials.
In 2004, modifications of the European Parliament's 2001 Directive 2001/83/EC, regulating all medicine products, were made with the expectation of influencing development of the European market for alternative medicine products. Regulation of alternative medicine in Europe was loosened with "a simplified registration procedure" for traditional herbal medicinal products. Plausible "efficacy" for traditional medicine was redefined to be based on long term popularity and testimonials ("the pharmacological effects or efficacy of the medicinal product are plausible on the basis of long-standing use and experience."), without scientific testing. The Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) was created within the European Medicines Agency in London (EMEA). A special working group was established for homeopathic remedies under the Heads of Medicines Agencies.
Through 2004, alternative medicine that was traditional to Germany continued to be a regular part of the health care system, including homeopathy and anthroposophic medicine. The German Medicines Act mandated that science-based medical authorities consider the "particular characteristics" of complementary and alternative medicines. By 2004, homeopathy had grown to be the most used alternative therapy in France, growing from 16% of the population using homeopathic medicine in 1982, to 29% by 1987, 36% percent by 1992, and 62% of French mothers using homeopathic medicines by 2004, with 95% of French pharmacists advising pregnant women to use homeopathic remedies. As of 2004[update], 100 million people in India depended solely on traditional German homeopathic remedies for their medical care. As of 2010[update], homeopathic remedies continued to be the leading alternative treatment used by European physicians. By 2005, sales of homeopathic remedies and anthroposophical medicine had grown to $930 million Euros, a 60% increase from 1995.
Since 2009, according to Art. 118a of the Swiss Federal Constitution, the Swiss Confederation and the Cantons of Switzerland shall within the scope of their powers ensure that consideration is given to complementary medicine.
By 2013, 50% of Americans were using CAM. As of 2013[update], CAM medicinal products in Europe continued to be exempted from documented efficacy standards required of other medicinal products.
Individual systems and practices
Much of what is now categorized as alternative medicine was developed as independent, complete medical systems. These were developed long before biomedicine and use of scientific methods. Each system was developed in relatively isolated regions of the world where there was little or no medical contact with pre-scientific western medicine, or with each other's systems. Examples are traditional Chinese medicine and the Ayurvedic medicine of India.
Other alternative medicine practices, such as homeopathy, were developed in western Europe and in opposition to western medicine, at a time when western medicine was based on unscientific theories that were dogmatically imposed by western religious authorities. Homeopathy was developed prior to discovery of the basic principles of chemistry, which proved homeopathic remedies contained nothing but water. But homeopathy, with its remedies made of water, was harmless compared to the unscientific and dangerous orthodox western medicine practiced at that time, which included use of toxins and draining of blood, often resulting in permanent disfigurement or death.
Other alternative practices such as chiropractic and osteopathic manipulative medicine were developed in the United States at a time that western medicine was beginning to incorporate scientific methods and theories, but the biomedical model was not yet totally dominant. Practices such as chiropractic and osteopathy, each considered to be irregular practices by the western medical establishment, also opposed each other, both rhetorically and politically with licensing legislation. Osteopathic practitioners added the courses and training of biomedicine to their licensing, and licensed Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine holders began diminishing use of the unscientific origins of the field.
Until the 1970s, western practitioners that were not part of the medical establishment were referred to "irregular practitioners", and were dismissed by the medical establishment as unscientific, as practicing quackery. The Irregular practice became increasingly marginalized as quackery and fraud, as western medicine increasingly incorporated scientific methods and discoveries, and had a corresponding increase in success of its treatments.
Dating from the 1970s, medical professionals, sociologists, anthropologists and other commentators noted the increasing visibility of a wide variety of health practices that had neither derived directly from nor been verified by biomedical science. Since that time, those who have analyzed this trend have deliberated over the most apt language with which to describe this emergent health field. A variety of terms have been used, including heterodox, irregular, fringe and alternative medicine while others, particularly medical commentators, have been satisfied to label them as instances of quackery. The most persistent term has been alternative medicine but its use is problematic as it assumes a value-laden dichotomy between a medical fringe, implicitly of borderline acceptability at best, and a privileged medical orthodoxy, associated with validated medico-scientific norms. The use of the category of alternative medicine has also been criticized as it cannot be studied as an independent entity but must be understood in terms of a regionally and temporally specific medical orthodoxy. Its use can also be misleading as it may erroneously imply that a real medical alternative exists. As with near-synonymous expressions, such as unorthodox, complementary, marginal, or quackery, these linguistic devices have served, in the context of processes of professionalisation and market competition, to establish the authority of official medicine and police the boundary between it and its unconventional rivals.
From a historical perspective, the emergence of alternative medicine, if not the term itself, is typically dated to the 19th century. This is despite the fact that there are variants of Western non-conventional medicine that arose in the late-eighteenth century or earlier and some non-Western medical traditions, currently considered alternative in the West and elsewhere, which boast extended historical pedigrees. Alternative medical systems, however, can only be said to exist when there is an identifiable, regularized and authoritative standard medical practice, such as arose in the West during the nineteenth century, to which they can function as an alternative.
During the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries regular and irregular medical practitioners became more clearly differentiated throughout much of Europe and, as the nineteenth century progressed, most Western states converged in the creation of legally delimited and semi-protected medical markets. It is at this point that an "official" medicine, created in cooperation with the state and employing a scientific rhetoric of legitimacy, emerges as a recognizable entity and that the concept of alternative medicine as a historical category becomes tenable.
As part of this process, professional adherents of mainstream medicine in countries such as Germany, France, and Britain increasingly invoked the scientific basis of their discipline as a means of engendering internal professional unity and of external differentiation in the face of sustained market competition from homeopaths, naturopaths, mesmerists and other nonconventional medical practitioners, finally achieving a degree of imperfect dominance through alliance with the state and the passage of regulatory legislation. In the US the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, based in Baltimore, Maryland, opened in 1893, with William H. Welch and William Osler among the founding physicians, and was the first medical school devoted to teaching "German scientific medicine".
Buttressed by increased authority arising from significant advances in the medical sciences of the late 19th century onwards – including development and application of the germ theory of disease by the chemist Louis Pasteur and the surgeon Joseph Lister, of microbiology co-founded by Robert Koch (in 1885 appointed professor of hygiene at the University of Berlin), and of the use of X-rays (Röntgen rays)—the 1910 Flexner Report called upon American medical schools to follow the model of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and adhere to mainstream science in their teaching and research. This was in a belief, mentioned in the Report's introduction, that the preliminary and professional training then prevailing in medical schools should be reformed, in view of the new means for diagnosing and combating disease made available by the sciences on which medicine depended.[n 16]
Putative medical practices at the time that later became known as "alternative medicine" included homeopathy (founded in Germany in the early 19th century) and chiropractic (founded in North America in the late 19th century). These conflicted in principle with the developments in medical science upon which the Flexner reforms were based, and they have not become compatible with further advances of medical science such as listed in Timeline of medicine and medical technology, 1900–1999 and 2000–present, nor have Ayurveda, acupuncture or other kinds of alternative medicine.
At the same time "tropical medicine" was being developed as a specialist branch of western medicine in research establishments such as Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine founded in 1898 by Alfred Lewis Jones, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, founded in 1899 by Patrick Manson, and Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, instituted in 1912. A distinction was being made between western scientific medicine and indigenous systems. An example is given by an official report about indigenous systems of medicine in India, including Ayurveda, submitted by Mohammad Usman of Madras and others in 1923. This stated that the first question the Committee considered was "to decide whether the indigenous systems of medicine were scientific or not".
By the later twentieth century the term "alternative medicine" entered public discourse,[n 17] but it was not always being used with the same meaning by all parties. Arnold S. Relman remarked in 1998 that in the best kind of medical practice, all proposed treatments must be tested objectively, and that in the end there will only be treatments that pass and those that do not, those that are proven worthwhile and those that are not. He asked "Can there be any reasonable 'alternative'?" But also in 1998 the then Surgeon General of the United States, David Satcher, issued public information about eight common alternative treatments (including acupuncture, holistic and massage), together with information about common diseases and conditions, on nutrition, diet, and lifestyle changes, and about helping consumers to decipher fraud and quackery, and to find healthcare centers and doctors who practiced alternative medicine.
By 1990, approximately 60 million Americans had used one or more complementary or alternative therapies to address health issues, according to a nationwide survey in the US published in 1993 by David Eisenberg. A study published in the November 11, 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that 42% of Americans had used complementary and alternative therapies, up from 34% in 1990. However, despite the growth in patient demand for complementary medicine, most of the early alternative/complementary medical centers failed.
Mainly as a result of reforms following the Flexner Report of 1910 medical education in established medical schools in the US has generally not included alternative medicine as a teaching topic.[n 18] Typically, their teaching is based on current practice and scientific knowledge about: anatomy, physiology, histology, embryology, neuroanatomy, pathology, pharmacology, microbiology and immunology. Medical schools' teaching includes such topics as doctor-patient communication, ethics, the art of medicine, and engaging in complex clinical reasoning (medical decision-making). Writing in 2002, Snyderman and Weil remarked that by the early twentieth century the Flexner model had helped to create the 20th-century academic health center, in which education, research, and practice were inseparable. While this had much improved medical practice by defining with increasing certainty the pathophysiological basis of disease, a single-minded focus on the pathophysiological had diverted much of mainstream American medicine from clinical conditions that were not well understood in mechanistic terms, and were not effectively treated by conventional therapies.
By 2001 some form of CAM training was being offered by at least 75 out of 125 medical schools in the US. Exceptionally, the School of Medicine of the University of Maryland, Baltimore includes a research institute for integrative medicine (a member entity of the Cochrane Collaboration). Medical schools are responsible for conferring medical degrees, but a physician typically may not legally practice medicine until licensed by the local government authority. Licensed physicians in the US who have attended one of the established medical schools there have usually graduated Doctor of Medicine (MD). All states require that applicants for MD licensure be graduates of an approved medical school and complete the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE).
The British Medical Association, in its publication Complementary Medicine, New Approach to Good Practice (1993), gave as a working definition of non-conventional therapies (including acupuncture, chiropractic and homeopathy): "...those forms of treatment which are not widely used by the orthodox health-care professions, and the skills of which are not part of the undergraduate curriculum of orthodox medical and paramedical health-care courses." By 2000 some medical schools in the UK were offering CAM familiarisation courses to undergraduate medical students while some were also offering modules specifically on CAM.
United States government
In 1991, pointing to a need for testing because of the widespread use of alternative medicine without authoritative information on its efficacy, United States Senator Tom Harkin used $2 million of his discretionary funds to create the Office for the Study of Unconventional Medical Practices (OSUMP), later renamed to be the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM).:170 The OAM was created to be within the National Institute of Health (NIH), the scientifically prestigious primary agency of the United States government responsible for biomedical and health-related research.:170 The mandate was to investigate, evaluate, and validate effective alternative medicine treatments, and alert the public as the results of testing its efficacy.
Sen. Harkin had become convinced his allergies were cured by taking bee pollen pills, and was urged to make the spending by two of his influential constituents. Bedell, a longtime friend of Sen. Harkin, was a former member of the United States House of Representatives who believed that alternative medicine had twice cured him of diseases after mainstream medicine had failed, claiming that cow's milk colostrum cured his Lyme disease, and an herbal derivative from camphor had prevented post surgical recurrence of his prostate cancer. Wiewel was a promoter of unproven cancer treatments involving a mixture of blood sera that the Food and Drug Administration had banned from being imported. Both Bedell and Wiewel became members of the advisory panel for the OAM. The company that sold the bee pollen was later fined by the Federal Trade Commission for making false health claims about their bee-pollen products reversing the aging process, curing allergies, and helping with weight loss.
In 1994, Sen. Harkin (D) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R) introduced the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). The act reduced authority of the FDA to monitor products sold as "natural" treatments. Labeling standards were reduced to allow health claims for supplements based only on unconfirmed preliminary studies that were not subjected to scientific peer review, and the act made it more difficult for the FDA to promptly seize products or demand proof of safety where there was evidence of a product being dangerous. The Act became known as "The 1993 Snake Oil Protection Act" following a New York Times editorial under that name.
Senator Harkin complained about the "unbendable rules of randomized clinical trials", citing his use of bee pollen to treat his allergies, which he claimed to be effective even though it was biologically implausible and efficacy was not established using scientific methods. Sen. Harkin asserted that claims for alternative medicine efficacy be allowed not only without conventional scientific testing, even when they are biologically implausible, "It is not necessary for the scientific community to understand the process before the American public can benefit from these therapies." Following passage of the act, sales rose from about $4 billion in 1994, to $20 billion by the end of 2000, at the same time as evidence of their lack of efficacy or harmful effects grew. Senator Harkin came into open public conflict with the first OAM Director Joseph M. Jacobs and OAM board members from the scientific and biomedical community. Jacobs' insistence on rigorous scientific methodology caused friction with Senator Harkin. Increasing political resistance to the use of scientific methodology was publicly criticized by Dr. Jacobs and another OAM board member complained that "nonsense has trickled down to every aspect of this office...It's the only place where opinions are counted as equal to data." In 1994, Senator Harkin appeared on television with cancer patients who blamed Dr. Jacobs for blocking their access to untested cancer treatment, leading Jacobs to resign in frustration.
In 1995, Wayne Jonas, a promoter of homeopathy and political ally of Senator Harkin, became the director of the OAM, and continued in that role until 1999. In 1997, the NCCAM budget was increased from $12 million to $20 million annually. From 1990 to 1997, use of alternative medicine in the US increased by 25%, with a corresponding 50% increase in expenditures. The OAM drew increasing criticism from eminent members of the scientific community with letters to the Senate Appropriations Committee when discussion of renewal of funding OAM came up.:175 Nobel laureate Paul Berg wrote that prestigious NIH should not be degraded to act as a cover for quackery, calling the OAM "an embarrassment to serious scientists.":175 The president of the American Physical Society wrote complaining that the government was spending money on testing products and practices that "violate basic laws of physics and more clearly resemble witchcraft".:175 In 1998, the President of the North Carolina Medical Association publicly called for shutting down the OAM.
In 1998, NIH director and Nobel laureate Harold Varmus came into conflict with Senator Harkin by pushing to have more NIH control of alternative medicine research. The NIH Director placed the OAM under more strict scientific NIH control. Senator Harkin responded by elevating OAM into an independent NIH "center", just short of being its own "institute", and renamed to be the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). NCCAM had a mandate to promote a more rigorous and scientific approach to the study of alternative medicine, research training and career development, outreach, and "integration". In 1999, the NCCAM budget was increased from $20 million to $50 million. The United States Congress approved the appropriations without dissent. In 2000, the budget was increased to about $68 million, in 2001 to $90 million, in 2002 to $104 million, and in 2003, to $113 million.
In 2009, after a history of 17 years of government testing and spending of nearly $2.5 billion on research had produced almost no clearly proven efficacy of alternative therapies, Senator Harkin complained, "One of the purposes of this center was to investigate and validate alternative approaches. Quite frankly, I must say publicly that it has fallen short. It think quite frankly that in this center and in the office previously before it, most of its focus has been on disproving things rather than seeking out and approving." Members of the scientific community criticized this comment as showing Senator Harkin did not understand the basics of scientific inquiry, which tests hypotheses, but never intentionally attempts to "validate approaches". Members of the scientific and biomedical communities complained that after a history of 17 years of being tested, at a cost of over $2.5 Billion on testing scientifically and biologically implausible practices, almost no alternative therapy showed clear efficacy. In 2009, the NCCAM's budget was increased to about $122 million. Overall NIH funding for CAM research increased to $300 Million by 2009. By 2009, Americans were spending $34 Billion annually on CAM.
In 2012, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a criticism that study after study had been funded by NCCAM, but "failed to prove that complementary or alternative therapies are anything more than placebos". The JAMA criticism pointed to large wasting of research money on testing scientifically implausible treatments, citing "NCCAM officials spending $374,000 to find that inhaling lemon and lavender scents does not promote wound healing; $750,000 to find that prayer does not cure AIDS or hasten recovery from breast-reconstruction surgery; $390,000 to find that ancient Indian remedies do not control type 2 diabetes; $700,000 to find that magnets do not treat arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or migraine headaches; and $406,000 to find that coffee enemas do not cure pancreatic cancer." It was pointed out that negative results from testing were generally ignored by the public, that people continue to "believe what they want to believe, arguing that it does not matter what the data show: They know what works for them". Continued increasing use of CAM products was also blamed on the lack of FDA ability to regulate alternative products, where negative studies do not result in FDA warnings or FDA-mandated changes on labeling, whereby few consumers are aware that many claims of many supplements were found not to have not to be supported.
In 2014 the NCCAM was renamed to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) with a new charter requiring that 12 of the 18 council members shall be selected with a preference to selecting leading representatives of complementary and alternative medicine, 9 of the members must be licensed practitioners of alternative medicine, six members must be general public leaders in the fields of public policy, law, health policy, economics, and management, and 3 members must represent the interests of individual consumers of complementary and alternative medicine.
There is a general scientific consensus that Alternative Therapies lack the requisite scientific validation, and their effectiveness is either unproved or disproved. Many of the claims regarding the efficacy of alternative medicines are controversial, since research on them is frequently of low quality and methodologically flawed. Selective publication bias, marked differences in product quality and standardisation, and some companies making unsubstantiated claims, call into question the claims of efficacy of isolated examples where there is evidence for alternative therapies.
The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine points to confusions in the general population – a person may attribute symptomatic relief to an otherwise-ineffective therapy just because they are taking something (the placebo effect); the natural recovery from or the cyclical nature of an illness (the regression fallacy) gets misattributed to an alternative medicine being taken; a person not diagnosed with science-based medicine may never originally have had a true illness diagnosed as an alternative disease category.
Edzard Ernst characterized the evidence for many alternative techniques as weak, nonexistent, or negative and in 2011 published his estimate that about 7.4% were based on "sound evidence", although he believes that may be an overestimate. Ernst has concluded that 95% of the alternative treatments he and his team studied, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and reflexology, are "statistically indistinguishable from placebo treatments", but he also believes there is something that conventional doctors can usefully learn from the chiropractors and homeopath: this is the therapeutic value of the placebo effect, one of the strangest phenomena in medicine.
In 2003, a project funded by the CDC identified 208 condition-treatment pairs, of which 58% had been studied by at least one randomized controlled trial (RCT), and 23% had been assessed with a meta-analysis. According to a 2005 book by a US Institute of Medicine panel, the number of RCTs focused on CAM has risen dramatically.
As of 2005[update], the Cochrane Library had 145 CAM-related Cochrane systematic reviews and 340 non-Cochrane systematic reviews. An analysis of the conclusions of only the 145 Cochrane reviews was done by two readers. In 83% of the cases, the readers agreed. In the 17% in which they disagreed, a third reader agreed with one of the initial readers to set a rating. These studies found that, for CAM, 38.4% concluded positive effect or possibly positive (12.4%), 4.8% concluded no effect, 0.7% concluded harmful effect, and 56.6% concluded insufficient evidence. An assessment of conventional treatments found that 41.3% concluded positive or possibly positive effect, 20% concluded no effect, 8.1% concluded net harmful effects, and 21.3% concluded insufficient evidence. However, the CAM review used the more developed 2004 Cochrane database, while the conventional review used the initial 1998 Cochrane database.
In the same way as for conventional therapies, drugs, and interventions, it can be difficult to test the efficacy of alternative medicine in clinical trials. In instances where an established, effective, treatment for a condition is already available, the Helsinki Declaration states that withholding such treatment is unethical in most circumstances. Use of standard-of-care treatment in addition to an alternative technique being tested may produce confounded or difficult-to-interpret results.
Cancer researcher Andrew J. Vickers has stated:
Contrary to much popular and scientific writing, many alternative cancer treatments have been investigated in good-quality clinical trials, and they have been shown to be ineffective. The label "unproven" is inappropriate for such therapies; it is time to assert that many alternative cancer therapies have been "disproven".
Criticism, legitimacy and effects
|“||There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking.||”|
|— P.B. Fontanarosa, Journal of the American Medical Association (1998)|
"CAM", meaning "complementary and alternative medicine", is not as well researched as conventional medicine, which undergoes intense research before release to the public. Funding for research is also sparse making it difficult to do further research for effectiveness of CAM. Most funding for CAM is funded by government agencies. Proposed research for CAM are rejected by most private funding agencies because the results of research are not reliable. The research for CAM has to meet certain standards from research ethics committees, which most CAM researchers find almost impossible to meet. Even with the little research done on it, CAM has not been proven to be effective.
Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale School of Medicine, wrote that government funded studies of integrating alternative medicine techniques into the mainstream are "used to lend an appearance of legitimacy to treatments that are not legitimate." Marcia Angell considered that critics felt that healthcare practices should be classified based solely on scientific evidence, and if a treatment had been rigorously tested and found safe and effective, science-based medicine will adopt it regardless of whether it was considered "alternative" to begin with. It is possible for a method to change categories (proven vs. unproven), based on increased knowledge of its effectiveness or lack thereof. A prominent supporter of this position is George D. Lundberg, former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Writing in 1999 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians Barrie R. Cassileth mentioned a 1997 letter to the US Senate Subcommittee on Public Health and Safety, which had deplored the lack of critical thinking and scientific rigor in OAM-supported research, had been signed by four Nobel Laureates and other prominent scientists. (This was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).)
In March 2009 a staff writer for the Washington Post reported that the impending national discussion about broadening access to health care, improving medical practice and saving money was giving a group of scientists an opening to propose shutting down the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. They quoted one of these scientists, Steven Salzberg, a genome researcher and computational biologist at the University of Maryland, as saying "One of our concerns is that NIH is funding pseudoscience." They noted that the vast majority of studies were based on fundamental misunderstandings of physiology and disease, and had shown little or no effect.
Writers such as Carl Sagan, a noted astrophysicist, advocate of scientific skepticism and the author of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1996), have lambasted the lack of empirical evidence to support the existence of the putative energy fields on which these therapies are predicated.
Sampson has also pointed out that CAM tolerated contradiction without thorough reason and experiment. Barrett has pointed out that there is a policy at the NIH of never saying something doesn't work only that a different version or dose might give different results. Barrett also expressed concern that, just because some "alternatives" have merit, there is the impression that the rest deserve equal consideration and respect even though most are worthless, since they are all classified under the one heading of alternative medicine.
Some critics of alternative medicine are focused upon health fraud, misinformation, and quackery as public health problems, notably Wallace Sampson and Paul Kurtz founders of Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine and Stephen Barrett, co-founder of The National Council Against Health Fraud and webmaster of Quackwatch. Grounds for opposing alternative medicine include that:
- It is usually based on religion, tradition, superstition, belief in supernatural energies, pseudoscience, errors in reasoning, propaganda, or fraud.
- Alternative therapies typically lack any scientific validation, and their effectiveness is either unproved or disproved.[dubious ]
- Treatments are not part of the conventional, science-based healthcare system.
- Research on alternative medicine is frequently of low quality and methodologically flawed.[full citation needed]
- Where alternative treatments have replaced conventional science-based medicine, even with the safest alternative medicines, failure to use or delay in using conventional science-based medicine has caused deaths.
- Methods may incorporate or base themselves on traditional medicine, folk knowledge, spiritual beliefs, ignorance or misunderstanding of scientific principles, errors in reasoning, or newly conceived approaches claiming to heal.
Many alternative medical treatments are not patentable,, which may lead to less research funding from the private sector. In addition, in most countries, alternative treatments (in contrast to pharmaceuticals) can be marketed without any proof of efficacy – also a disincentive for manufacturers to fund scientific research.
English evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, in his 2003 book A Devil's Chaplain, defined alternative medicine as a "set of practices that cannot be tested, refuse to be tested, or consistently fail tests." Dawkins argued that if a technique is demonstrated effective in properly performed trials then it ceases to be alternative and simply becomes medicine.
CAM is also often less regulated than conventional medicine. There are ethical concerns about whether people who perform CAM have the proper knowledge to treat patients. CAM is often done by non-physicians who do not operate with the same medical licensing laws which govern conventional medicine, and it is often described as an issue of non-maleficence.
According to two writers, Wallace Sampson and K. Butler, marketing is part of the training required in alternative medicine, and propaganda methods in alternative medicine have been traced back to those used by Hitler and Goebels in their promotion of pseudoscience in medicine.
In November 2011 Edzard Ernst stated that the "level of misinformation about alternative medicine has now reached the point where it has become dangerous and unethical. So far, alternative medicine has remained an ethics-free zone. It is time to change this."
A research methods expert and author of "Snake Oil Science", R. Barker Bausell, has stated that "it's become politically correct to investigate nonsense." There are concerns that just having NIH support is being used to give unfounded "legitimacy to treatments that are not legitimate."
Use of placebos to achieve a placebo effect in integrative medicine has been criticized as, "...diverting research time, money, and other resources from more fruitful lines of investigation in order to pursue a theory that has no basis in biology."
Another critic has argued that academic proponents of integrative medicine sometimes recommend misleading patients by using known placebo treatments to achieve a placebo effect.[n 19] However, a 2010 survey of family physicians found that 56% of respondents said they had used a placebo in clinical practice as well. Eighty-five percent of respondents believed placebos can have both psychological and physical benefits.
Integrative medicine has been criticized in that its practitioners, trained in science-based medicine, deliberately mislead patients by pretending placebos are not. "quackademic medicine" is a pejorative term used for integrative medicine, which medical professionals consider an infiltration of quackery into academic science-based medicine.
An analysis of trends in the criticism of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in five prestigious American medical journals during the period of reorganization within medicine (1965–1999) was reported as showing that the medical profession had responded to the growth of CAM in three phases, and that in each phase, changes in the medical marketplace had influenced the type of response in the journals. Changes included relaxed medical licensing, the development of managed care, rising consumerism, and the establishment of the USA Office of Alternative Medicine (now National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine).[n 20] In the "condemnation" phase, from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, authors had ridiculed, exaggerated the risks, and petitioned the state to contain CAM; in the "reassessment" phase (mid-1970s through early 1990s), when increased consumer utilization of CAM was prompting concern, authors had pondered whether patient dissatisfaction and shortcomings in conventional care contributed to the trend; in the "integration" phase of the 1990s physicians began learning to work around or administer CAM, and the subjugation of CAM to scientific scrutiny had become the primary means of control.
Use and regulation
Prevalence of use
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been described as a broad domain of healing resources that encompasses all health systems, modalities, and practices and their accompanying theories and beliefs, other than those intrinsic to the politically dominant health system of a particular society or culture in a given historical period. CAM includes all such practices and ideas self-defined by their users as preventing or treating illness or promoting health and well-being. Boundaries within CAM and between the CAM domain and that of the dominant system are not always sharp or fixed.[dubious ]
According to recent research, the increasing popularity of the CAM needs to be explained by moral convictions or lifestyle choices rather than by economic reasoning.
About 50% of people in developed countries use some kind of complementary and alternative medicine other than prayer for health. A British telephone survey by the BBC of 1209 adults in 1998 shows that around 20% of adults in Britain had used alternative medicine in the past 12 months. About 40% of cancer patients use some form of CAM.
In developing nations, access to essential medicines is severely restricted by lack of resources and poverty. Traditional remedies, often closely resembling or forming the basis for alternative remedies, may comprise primary healthcare or be integrated into the healthcare system. In Africa, traditional medicine is used for 80% of primary healthcare, and in developing nations as a whole over one-third of the population lack access to essential medicines.
Some have proposed adopting a prize system to reward medical research. However, public funding for research exists. Increasing the funding for research on alternative medicine techniques is the purpose of the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. NCCIH and its predecessor, the Office of Alternative Medicine, have spent more than $2.5 billion on such research since 1992; this research has largely not demonstrated the efficacy of alternative treatments.
That alternative medicine has been on the rise "in countries where Western science and scientific method generally are accepted as the major foundations for healthcare, and 'evidence-based' practice is the dominant paradigm" was described as an "enigma" in the Medical Journal of Australia.
In the US
In the United States, the 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) required that for states to receive federal money, they had to grant religious exemptions to child neglect and abuse laws regarding religion-based healing practices. Thirty-one states have child-abuse religious exemptions.
The use of alternative medicine in the US has increased, with a 50 percent increase in expenditures and a 25 percent increase in the use of alternative therapies between 1990 and 1997 in America. Americans spend many billions on the therapies annually. Most Americans used CAM to treat and/or prevent musculoskeletal conditions or other conditions associated with chronic or recurring pain. In America, women were more likely than men to use CAM, with the biggest difference in use of mind-body therapies including prayer specifically for health reasons". In 2008, more than 37% of American hospitals offered alternative therapies, up from 27 percent in 2005, and 25% in 2004. More than 70% of the hospitals offering CAM were in urban areas.
A survey of Americans found that 88 percent thought that "there are some good ways of treating sickness that medical science does not recognize". Use of magnets was the most common tool in energy medicine in America, and among users of it, 58 percent described it as at least "sort of scientific", when it is not at all scientific. In 2002, at least 60 percent of US medical schools have at least some class time spent teaching alternative therapies. "Therapeutic touch", was taught at more than 100 colleges and universities in 75 countries before the practice was debunked by a nine-year-old child for a school science project.
Prevalence of use of specific therapies
The most common CAM therapies used in the US in 2002 were prayer (45%), herbalism (19%), breathing meditation (12%), meditation (8%), chiropractic medicine (8%), yoga (5–6%), body work (5%), diet-based therapy (4%), progressive relaxation (3%), mega-vitamin therapy (3%) and Visualization (2%)
In Britain, the most often used alternative therapies were Alexander technique, Aromatherapy, Bach and other flower remedies, Body work therapies including massage, Counseling stress therapies, hypnotherapy, Meditation, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Ayurvedic medicine, Nutritional medicine, and Yoga. Ayurvedic medicine remedies are mainly plant based with some use of animal materials. Safety concerns include the use of herbs containing toxic compounds and the lack of quality control in Ayurvedic facilities.
According to the National Health Service (England), the most commonly used complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) supported by the NHS in the UK are: acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropractic, homeopathy, massage, osteopathy and clinical hypnotherapy.
In palliative care
Complementary therapies are often used in palliative care or by practitioners attempting to manage chronic pain in patients. Integrative medicine is considered more acceptable in the interdisciplinary approach used in palliative care than in other areas of medicine. "From its early experiences of care for the dying, palliative care took for granted the necessity of placing patient values and lifestyle habits at the core of any design and delivery of quality care at the end of life. If the patient desired complementary therapies, and as long as such treatments provided additional support and did not endanger the patient, they were considered acceptable." The non-pharmacologic interventions of complementary medicine can employ mind-body interventions designed to "reduce pain and concomitant mood disturbance and increase quality of life."
In Austria and Germany complementary and alternative medicine is mainly in the hands of doctors with MDs, and half or more of the American alternative practitioners are licensed MDs. In Germany herbs are tightly regulated: half are prescribed by doctors and covered by health insurance.
Some professions of complementary/traditional/alternative medicine, such as chiropractic, have achieved full regulation in North America and other parts of the world and are regulated in a manner similar to that governing science-based medicine. In contrast, other approaches may be partially recognized and others have no regulation at all. Regulation and licensing of alternative medicine ranges widely from country to country, and state to state.
Government bodies in the USA and elsewhere have published information or guidance about alternative medicine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has issued online warnings for consumers about medication health fraud. This includes a section on Alternative Medicine Fraud, such as a warning that Ayurvedic products generally have not been approved by the FDA before marketing.
Conflicts of interest
Some commentators have said that special consideration must be given to the issue of conflicts of interest in alternative medicine. Edzard Ernst has said that most researchers into alternative medicine are at risk of "unidirectional bias" because of a generally uncritical belief in their chosen subject. Ernst cites as evidence the phenomenon whereby 100% of a sample of acupuncture trials originating in China had positive conclusions. David Gorski contrasts evidence-based medicine, in which researchers try to disprove hyphotheses, with what he says is the frequent practice in pseudoscience-based research, of striving to confirm pre-existing notions. Harriet A. Hall writes that there is a contrast between the circumstances of alternative medicine practitioners and disinterested scientists: in the case of acupuncture, for example, an acupuncturist would have "a great deal to lose" if acupuncture were rejected by research; but the disinterested skeptic would not lose anything if its effects were confirmed; rather their change of mind would enhance their skeptical credentials.
Adequacy of regulation and CAM safety
Many of the claims regarding the safety and efficacy of alternative medicine are controversial. Some alternative treatments have been associated with unexpected side effects, which can be fatal.
A commonly voiced concerns about complementary alternative medicine (CAM) is the way it's regulated. There have been significant developments in how CAMs should be assessed prior to re-sale in the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) in the last 2 years. Despite this, it has been suggested that current regulatory bodies have been ineffective in preventing deception of patients as many companies have re-labelled their drugs to avoid the new laws. There is no general consensus about how to balance consumer protection (from false claims, toxicity, and advertising) with freedom to choose remedies.
Advocates of CAM suggest that regulation of the industry will adversely affect patients looking for alternative ways to manage their symptoms, even if many of the benefits may represent the placebo affect. Some contend that alternative medicines should not require any more regulation than over-the-counter medicines that can also be toxic in overdose (such as paracetamol).
Interactions with conventional pharmaceuticals
Forms of alternative medicine that are biologically active can be dangerous even when used in conjunction with conventional medicine. Examples include immuno-augmentation therapy, shark cartilage, bioresonance therapy, oxygen and ozone therapies, and insulin potentiation therapy. Some herbal remedies can cause dangerous interactions with chemotherapy drugs, radiation therapy, or anesthetics during surgery, among other problems. An anecdotal example of these dangers was reported by Associate Professor Alastair MacLennan of Adelaide University, Australia regarding a patient who almost bled to death on the operating table after neglecting to mention that she had been taking "natural" potions to "build up her strength" before the operation, including a powerful anticoagulant that nearly caused her death.
To ABC Online, MacLennan also gives another possible mechanism:
And lastly [sic] there's the cynicism and disappointment and depression that some patients get from going on from one alternative medicine to the next, and they find after three months the placebo effect wears off, and they're disappointed and they move on to the next one, and they're disappointed and disillusioned, and that can create depression and make the eventual treatment of the patient with anything effective difficult, because you may not get compliance, because they've seen the failure so often in the past.
Conventional treatments are subjected to testing for undesired side-effects, whereas alternative treatments, in general, are not subjected to such testing at all. Any treatment – whether conventional or alternative – that has a biological or psychological effect on a patient may also have potential to possess dangerous biological or psychological side-effects. Attempts to refute this fact with regard to alternative treatments sometimes use the appeal to nature fallacy, i.e., "That which is natural cannot be harmful." Specific groups of patients such as patients with impaired hepatic or renal function are more susceptible to side effects of alternative remedies.
An exception to the normal thinking regarding side-effects is Homeopathy. Since 1938, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated homeopathic products in "several significantly different ways from other drugs." Homeopathic preparations, termed "remedies", are extremely dilute, often far beyond the point where a single molecule of the original active (and possibly toxic) ingredient is likely to remain. They are, thus, considered safe on that count, but "their products are exempt from good manufacturing practice requirements related to expiration dating and from finished product testing for identity and strength", and their alcohol concentration may be much higher than allowed in conventional drugs.
Those having experienced or perceived success with one alternative therapy for a minor ailment may be convinced of its efficacy and persuaded to extrapolate that success to some other alternative therapy for a more serious, possibly life-threatening illness. For this reason, critics argue that therapies that rely on the placebo effect to define success are very dangerous. According to mental health journalist Scott Lilienfeld in 2002, "unvalidated or scientifically unsupported mental health practices can lead individuals to forgo effective treatments" and refers to this as "opportunity cost". Individuals who spend large amounts of time and money on ineffective treatments may be left with precious little of either, and may forfeit the opportunity to obtain treatments that could be more helpful. In short, even innocuous treatments can indirectly produce negative outcomes. Between 2001 and 2003, four children died in Australia because their parents chose ineffective naturopathic, homeopathic, or other alternative medicines and diets rather than conventional therapies.
Unconventional cancer "cures"
There have always been "many therapies offered outside of conventional cancer treatment centers and based on theories not found in biomedicine. These alternative cancer cures have often been described as 'unproven,' suggesting that appropriate clinical trials have not been conducted and that the therapeutic value of the treatment is unknown." However, "many alternative cancer treatments have been investigated in good-quality clinical trials, and they have been shown to be ineffective....The label 'unproven' is inappropriate for such therapies; it is time to assert that many alternative cancer therapies have been 'disproven'."
Edzard Ernst has stated:
...any alternative cancer cure is bogus by definition. There will never be an alternative cancer cure. Why? Because if something looked halfway promising, then mainstream oncology would scrutinize it, and if there is anything to it, it would become mainstream almost automatically and very quickly. All curative "alternative cancer cures" are based on false claims, are bogus, and, I would say, even criminal.
Indian Ayurvedic medicine includes a belief that the spiritual balance of mind influences disease.
- "[A]lternative medicine refers to all treatments that have not been proven effective using scientific methods."
- "Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a broad domain of resources that encompasses health systems, modalities, and practices and their accompanying theories and beliefs, other than those intrinsic to the dominant health system of a particular society or culture in a given historical period. CAM includes such resources perceived by their users as associated with positive health outcomes. Boundaries within CAM and between the CAM domain and the domain of the dominant system are not always sharp or fixed."
- "It is time for the scientific community to stop giving alternative medicine a free ride. There cannot be two kinds of medicine – conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work... speculation, and testimonials do not substitute for evidence."
- "The phrase complementary and alternative medicine is used to describe a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that have historic origins outside mainstream medicine. Most of these practices are used together with conventional therapies and therefore have been called complementary to distinguish them from alternative practices, those used as a substitute for standard care. ... Until a decade ago or so, "complementary and alternative medicine" could be defined as practices that are neither taught in medical schools nor reimbursed, but this definition is no longer workable, since medical students increasingly seek and receive some instruction about complementary health practices, and some practices are reimbursed by third-party payers. Another definition, practices that lack an evidence base, is also not useful, since there is a growing body of research on some of these modalities, and some aspects of standard care do not have a strong evidence base."
- "An alternative medical system is a set of practices based on a philosophy different from Western biomedicine."
- "CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine."
- The Final Report (2002) of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy states: "The Commissioners believe and have repeatedly stated in this Report that our response should be to hold all systems of health and healing, including conventional and CAM, to the same rigorous standards of good science and health services research. Although the Commissioners support the provision of the most accurate information about the state of the science of all CAM modalities, they believe that it is premature to advocate the wide implementation and reimbursement of CAM modalities that are yet unproven."
- Mary Ruggie in Chapter 2 of Marginal to Mainstream: Alternative Medicine in America said, "By the mid-1990s, the notion that some alternative therapies could be complementary to conventional medicine began to change the status of...alternative medicine. The 21st century is witnessing yet another terminological innovation, in which CAM and conventional medicine are becoming integrative."
- As David J. Hufford, Professor and Director at the Doctors Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine at the Penn State College of Medicine, has argued: "Simply because an herbal remedy comes to be used by physicians does not mean that herbalists cease to practice, or that the practice of the one becomes like that of the other."
- The BMA used the term non-conventional medicine instead of alternative medicine.
- The Office for Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, was renamed NCCAM in 1998.
- "Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients"; "Evidence based medicine, whose philosophical origins extend back to mid-19th century Paris and earlier, remains a hot topic for clinicians, public health practitioners, purchasers, planners, and the public. British centres for evidence based practice have been established or planned in adult medicine, child health, surgery, pathology, pharmacotherapy, nursing, general practice, and dentistry; the Cochrane Collaboration and Britain's Centre for Review and Dissemination in York are providing systematic reviews of the effects of health care".
- In his book The Homœopathic Medical Doctrine Samuel Hahnemann the creator of homeopathy wrote: "Observation, reflection, and experience have unfolded to me that the best and true method of cure is founded on the principle, similia similibus curentur. To cure in a mild, prompt, safe, and durable manner, it is necessary to choose in each case a medicine that will excite an affection similar (ὅμοιος πάθος) to that against which it is employed."
- Peking University Health Science Center (formerly Beijing Medical University) was the first of the kind in China to teach western medicine and train medical professionals.
- For an encyclopaedic account of the development of "western" medicine in the period leading up to the reforms in the medical schools of US resulting from the Flexner Report, published at the time of that report, see the article, Allbutt, Thomas Clifford (1911). "Medicine". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- In his introduction to the Flexner Report, Henry S. Pritchett stated, "The fundamental sciences upon which medicine depends have been greatly extended. The laboratory has come to furnish alike to the physician and to the surgeon a new means for diagnosing and combating disease. The education of the medical practitioner under these changed conditions makes entirely different demands in respect of both preliminary and professional training."
- The earliest occurrence of the term "alternative medicine" in an English language publication was only in 1974, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
- As the medical professor Kenneth M. Ludmerer noted in 2010: "Flexner pointed out that the scientific method of thinking applied to medical practice. By scientific method, he meant testing ideas with well-planned experiments to establish accurate facts. The clinician's diagnosis was equivalent to the scientist's hypothesis: both medical diagnosis and hypothesis required the test of an experiment. Flexner argued that mastery of the scientific method of problem solving was the key for physicians to manage medical uncertainty and to practice in the most cost-effective way."
- As a 2010 article in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded:
real acupuncture treatments were no more effective than sham acupuncture treatments. There was, nevertheless, evidence that both real acupuncture and sham acupuncture were more effective than no treatment, and that acupuncture can be a useful supplement to other forms of conventional therapy for low back pain.
- According to the medical historian James Harvey Young:
In 1991 the Senate Appropriations Committee responsible for funding the National Institutes of Health (NIH) declared itself "not satisfied that the conventional medical community as symbolized at the NIH has fully explored the potential that exists in unconventional medical practices.
- Sobel, D.S. (2000). "Chapter 28: The Cost-effectiveness of Mind-body Medicine Interventions". In Mayer, E.A.; Saper, C.B. Progress in Brain Research. Volume 122. pp. 393–412. ISBN 9780444500496. PMID 10737073. doi:10.1016/S0079-6123(08)62153-6.
- van Deventer, M.O. (2008). "Meta-placebo: Do doctors have to lie about giving a fake treatment?". Medical Hypotheses. 71 (3): 335–9. PMID 18485613. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2008.03.040.
- Beyerstein, B.L. (1999). "Psychology and 'alternative medicine' social and judgmental biases that make inert treatments seem to work". Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine. 3 (2). Archived from the original on 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
- "Complementary therapies: The big con?". The Independent. London. 2008-04-22. Archived from the original on 2010-04-17. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
- Offit, P. (2013). Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine. HarperCollins. ISBN 0062222961. Also published in the UK as Killing Us Softly: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine. ISBN 9780007491735.
- Ernst, E. (2010). "The public's enthusiasm for complementary and alternative medicine amounts to a critique of mainstream medicine". International Journal of Clinical Practice. 64 (11): 1472–4. PMID 20846193. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02425.x.
- Weber, D.O. (1998). "Complementary and alternative medicine considering the alternatives". Physician Executive. 24 (6): 6–14. PMID 10351720.
- Beyerstein, B.L. (2001). "Alternative medicine and common errors of reasoning". Academic Medicine. 76 (3): 230–7. PMID 11242572. doi:10.1097/00001888-200103000-00009.
- Barnes, P.M.; Powell-Griner, E.; McFann, K.; Nahin, R.L. (2004). "Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults: United States, 2002" (PDF). Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics (343): 1–19. PMID 15188733.
- National Science Board (2002). "Chapter 7: Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Public Understanding, Section: Belief in Alternative Medicine". Science and Engineering Indicators - 2002. Arlington, Virginia: Division of Science Resources Statistics, National Science Foundation, US Government.
- IOM Report 2005, p. 19.
- Angell, M.; et al. (1998). "Alternative medicine--The risks of untested and unregulated remedies". New England Journal of Medicine. 339 (12): 839–41. PMID 9738094. doi:10.1056/NEJM199809173391210.
- Sampson, W. (1995). "Antiscience Trends in the Rise of the "Alternative Medicine" Movement". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 775 (1): 188–197. PMID 8678416. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1996.tb23138.x.
- Hines, Terence (2003). Pseudoscience and the Paranormal (2nd ed.). Amerst, New York: Prometheue Books. ISBN 9781573929790.; Sampson, Walter (March 2001). "The Need for Educational Reform in Teaching about Alternative Therapies". Academic Medicine. 76 (3): 248–250. PMID 11242574. doi:10.1097/00001888-200103000-00011.; Coulter, Ian D; Willis, Evan M (June 2004). "The Rise and Rise of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: a Sociological Perspective". Medical Journal of Australia. 180 (11): 587–589. PMID 15174992.; Sagan 1996
- Kent Heather (1997). "Ignore Growing Patient Interest in Alternative Medicine at Your Peril - MDs Warned" (PDF). Canadian Medical Association Journal. 157 (10): 1427–1428. PMC . PMID 9371077.
- Goldrosen MH, Straus SE (2004). "Complementary and alternative medicine: assessing the evidence for immunological benefits" (PDF). Nature Perspectives. 4 (11): 912–921. PMID 15516970. doi:10.1038/nri1486.
- Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine 2015, p. 1, chpt. 14-E.
- "Complementary Medicine — Alternative Medical Systems". WebMD. 2014-01-14. Archived from the original on 2015-06-01. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
- "The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States". National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. 2015-04-07. Archived from the original on 2015-06-01. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
- Beyerstein BL (2001). "Alternative medicine and common errors of reasoning". Academic Medicine. 76 (3): 230–237. PMID 11242572. doi:10.1097/00001888-200103000-00009.
- Xiaorui Zhang. "Traditional Medicines: Definitions". WHO website. Medicines. World Health Organization. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2012-11-11. Extracted from WHO 2000.
- WHO 2000.
- IOM Report 2005, pp. 16, 175.
Sointu 2012, pp. 13–14.
Nissen et al. 2013.
Eisenberg et al. 1993.
- Dasgupta, Amitava; Hammett-Stabler, Catherine A (2011). Herbal Supplements: Efficacy, Toxicity, Interactions with Western Drugs, and Effects on Clinical Laboratory Tests. Hoboken NJ: John Wiley and Sons. pp. 202–205. ISBN 9780470433508.
- Shapiro, Rose (2010-09-30). Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All. Random House. ISBN 9781409059165.
- Bombardieri, D.; Easthope, E (October 2000). "Convergence between Orthodox and Alternative Medicine: A Theoretical Elaboration and Empirical Test". Health. London. 4 (4): 479–494. doi:10.1177/136345930000400404.
- Shuval, Judith T.; Averbuch, Emma (2012). "Complementary and Alternative Healthcare in Israel". Israel Journal of Health Policy Research. 1 (7). PMC . PMID 22913721. doi:10.1186/2045-4015-1-7.
- Freedman, David H. (July–August 2011). "The Triumph of New-Age Medicine". Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Kolata, Gina (June 17, 1996), On Fringes of Health Care, Untested Therapies Thrive, The New York Times, retrieved December 22, 2015
- White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy (2002). "Chapter 2: Overview of CAM in the United States: Recent History, Current Status, And Prospects for the Future". Final Report. NIH Pub. 03-5411. US Government Printing Office. ISBN 0160514762. Chapter 2 archived 2011-08-25.
- Ernst, E. (1995). "Complementary medicine: Common misconceptions". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 88 (5): 244–7. PMC . PMID 7636814.
Complementary medicine, defined as health care which lies for the most part outside the mainstream of conventional medicine.
- Joyce, C.R.B. (1994). "Placebo and complementary medicine". The Lancet. 344 (8932): 1279–81. PMID 7967992. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(94)90757-9.
- May, J. (2011). "What is integrative health?". BMJ. 343: d4372. PMID 21750063. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4372.
- Zeller, T.; Muenstedt, K.; Stoll, C.; Schweder, J.; Senf, B.; Ruckhaeberle, E.; Becker, S.; Serve, H.; Huebner, J. (2013-03-01). "Potential interactions of complementary and alternative medicine with cancer therapy in outpatients with gynecological cancer in a comprehensive cancer center". Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology. 139 (3): 357–65. ISSN 1432-1335. PMID 23099993. doi:10.1007/s00432-012-1336-6.
- Ben-Arye, Eran; Polliack, Aaron; Schiff, Elad; Tadmor, Tamar; Samuels, Noah (2013-12-01). "Advising patients on the use of non-herbal nutritional supplements during cancer therapy: a need for doctor-patient communication". Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 46 (6): 887–96. ISSN 1873-6513. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2013.02.010.
- "Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Questions and Answers About Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Cancer Treatment". NCI website. Physician Data Query (PDQ®). National Cancer Institute (NCI), NIH. Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- Borkan, J. (2012). "Complementary alternative health care in Israel and the western world". Israel Journal of Health Policy Research. 1 (1): 8. PMC . PMID 22913745. doi:10.1186/2045-4015-1-8.
- "What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)?". National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Archived from the original on 2005-12-08. Retrieved 2006-07-11.
- "Definition – allopathy". The Free Dictionary. Farlex. Retrieved 25 October 2013. Citing: Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine (2008) and Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th ed. (2009).
- Whorton JC (4 Nov 2003). "Counterculture healing: A brief history of alternative medicine in America". WGBH Educational Foundation. Retrieved 25 Dec 2007.
- Xiaorui Zhang (2001). "Legal Status of Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine: A Worldwide Review" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- Atwood KC (2004). "Naturopathy, pseudoscience, and medicine: myths and fallacies vs truth". Medscape General Medicine. 6 (1): 33. PMC . PMID 15208545.
- National Resident Matching Program
- "Participants". Closer to Truth. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- Jarvis, William T. (1996). "Misuse of the term "Allopathy"". National Council Against Health Fraud. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
- Berkenwald, AD (1998). "In the name of medicine". Annals of Internal Medicine. 128 (3): 246–50. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-128-3-199802010-00023.
- Federspil G; Presotto F; Vettor R (2003). "A critical overview of homeopathy". Annals of Internal Medicine. 139 (8). doi:10.7326/0003-4819-139-8-200310210-00026-w3.
- Elsevier Science (2002). "Author interview (Edzard Ernst, editor of The Desktop Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine)". Harcourt International. Archived from the original on 2002-03-02.
- Cassileth, B.R.; et al. (2004). "Complementary and alternative therapies for cancer". The Oncologist. 9 (1): 80–9. PMID 14755017. doi:10.1634/theoncologist.9-1-80.
- "The short and irreverant e-dition of The Skeptic's Dictionary – part 1 – sCAM – so-called complementary and alternative medicine". skepdic.com. Retrieved 2016-10-15.
- Tyreman, Stephen (2011-05-01). "Values in complementary and alternative medicine". Medicine, Health Care, and Philosophy. 14 (2): 209–17. ISSN 1572-8633. PMID 21104324. doi:10.1007/s11019-010-9297-5.
- Diamond, J. quoted in Dawkins 2003. (p. 36 in 2004 US ed. ISBN 0618335404).
- Fontanarosa, P.B.; et al. (1998). "Alternative medicine meets science". JAMA. 280 (18): 1618–9. PMID 9820267. doi:10.1001/jama.280.18.1618.
- IOM Report 2005, pp. 14–20.
- Ruggie 2004, p. 20.
- Ruggie 2004.
- Sointu 2012, p. 13.
- Sointu 2012, p. 13.
IOM Report 2005, p. 18.
- Gevitz 1997, pp. 603–33.
- IOM Report 2005, p. 18.
- Nissen, N.; et al. (2013). "Researching alternative and complementary therapies: Mapping the field". Medical Anthropology. 32 (1): 1–7. PMID 23206171. doi:10.1080/01459740.2012.718016.
- Carroll, R.T. (2011-05-14). "complementary medicine". The Skeptics Dictionary (Online ed.). Archived 2013-09-27.
- Novella, S. (2010-08-04). "Acupuncture pseudoscience in The New England Journal of Medicine". Science-Based Medicine. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28.
- Gorski, D. (2010-08-03). "Credulity about acupuncture infiltrates The New England Journal of Medicine". Science-Based Medicine. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28.
- IOM Report 2005, p. 14.
- IOM Report 2005, p. 19.
- "Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In a Name?". NCCIH Pub. No. D156. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), US Dept. of Health and Human Services (US HHS). May 2002. Archived from the original on 2005-12-08. Retrieved 2006-07-11.
- "David J. Hufford". Dept. of Folklore and Folklife, University of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- Hufford 2004. In Callahan 2004, p. 29. Quoted in IOM Report 2005, p. 17.
- Saks, M. (1992). "Introduction". In Saks, M. Alternative Medicine in Britain. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 1–21. ISBN 9780198272786.
- British Medical Association (BMA) 1993, p. 7.
- Artus, M.; et al. (2007). "The use of CAM and conventional treatments among primary care consulters with chronic musculoskeletal pain". BMC Family Practice. 8 (1): 26. PMC . PMID 17480212. doi:10.1186/1471-2296-8-26.
- "David M. Eisenberg, M.D.". Health Through Food website. SPE Development US Inc. Archived from the original on 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- Eisenberg et al. 1993.
Eisenberg et al. 1998.
- Sir Walton: Science and Technology Committee 2000, Chapter 1: Introduction.
Wieland et al. 2011.
Astin, J.A.; et al. (1998). "A review of the incorporation of complementary and alternative medicine by mainstream physicians". JAMA Internal Medicine. 158 (21): 2303–10. PMID 9827781. doi:10.1001/archinte.158.21.2303.
Pelletier, K.R.; et al. (1997). "Current trends in the integration and reimbursement of complementary and alternative medicine by managed care, insurance carriers, and hospital providers". American Journal of Health Promotion. 12 (2): 112–22. PMID 10174663. doi:10.4278/0890-1171-12.2.112.
- IOM Report 2005, pp. 17, 196–252.
- Salomonsen, L.J.; et al. (2011). "Use of complementary and alternative medicine at Norwegian and Danish hospitals". BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine. 11 (1): 4. PMC . PMID 21244655. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-4.
American Hospital Association 2008
- Wieland, L.S.; et al. (2011). "Development and classification of an operational definition of complementary and alternative medicine for the Cochrane Collaboration". Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 17 (2): 50–9. PMC . PMID 21717826.
- "Complementary and Alternative Medicine Products and their Regulation by the Food and Drug Administration". Office of Policy and Planning, Office of the Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dept. of Health and Human Services, US Government. 2007. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- CAM Research Methodology Conference, April 1995 Panel on Definition and Description (1997). "Defining and describing complementary and alternative medicine". Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 3 (2): 49–57. PMID 9061989.
- "Complementary and Alternative Medicine". UK Dept. of Health website. Archived from the original on 2010-04-07.
- Zollman et al. 1999.
Chan, E.; et al. (2003). "Complementary and alternative therapies in childhood attention and hyperactivity problems". Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. 24 (1): 4–8. PMID 12584479. doi:10.1097/00004703-200302000-00003.
Coulson, C.; et al. (2005). "Complementary and alternative medicine utilisation in NHS and private clinic settings: A United Kingdom survey of 400 infertility patients". Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction. 2 (1): 5. PMC . PMID 15807886. doi:10.1186/1743-1050-2-5.
Roberti di Sarsina, P. (2007). "The social demand for a medicine focused on the person: The contribution of CAM to healthcare and healthgenesis". Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 4 (S1): 45–51. PMC . PMID 18227933. doi:10.1093/ecam/nem094.
Adams, M.; et al. (2007). "The use of complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients". International Seminars in Surgical Oncology. 4 (1): 10. PMC . PMID 17470282. doi:10.1186/1477-7800-4-10.
Artus et al. 2007.
- Hufford, D.J. "CAM and Cultural Diversity: Ethics and Epistemology Converge". In Callahan (2004), pp. 15–35.
- Kopelman, L. "The Role of Science in Assessing Conventional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines". In Callahan (2004), pp. 36–53.
- IOM Report 2005, p. 17.
- Kong, S.C.; et al. (2005). "The Incidence of self-prescribed oral complementary and alternative medicine use by patients with gastrointestinal diseases". Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 39 (2): 138–41. PMID 15681910.
- Ezzo, J.; Bausell, B.; Moerman, D.E.; Berman, B.; Hadhazy, V. (Fall 2001). "Reviewing the reviews. How strong is the evidence? How clear are the conclusions?". International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care. 17 (4): 457–466. PMID 11758290.
- IOM Report 2005, pp. 17–18.
- NHMRC (2013-09-27). "Complementary and alternative medicines". NHMRC website. Your health. National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Minister for Health. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- "ViFABs definition af alternativ behandling". srab.dk. Archived from the original on 2013-09-24.
- Sackett, D.L.; et al. (1996). "Evidence based medicine: What it is and what it isn't". BMJ. 312 (7023): 71–2. PMC . PMID 8555924. doi:10.1136/bmj.312.7023.71.
- "Our work". Nuffield Trust website. The Nuffield Trust for Research and Policy Studies in Health Services. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28.
- Belsey, J.; et al. (May 2009) . What is Evidence-based Medicine (PDF). What is...? Series (2nd ed.). UK: Hayward Medical Communications.
- "Research methods & information tools". Nuffield Trust website. The Nuffield Trust for Research and Policy Studies in Health Services. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27.
- Bardsley, M.; et al. (2011-03-01). "Predictive risk and health care: An overview" (PDF). The Nuffield Trust for Research and Policy Studies in Health Services. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-09-28.
- "Cochrane CAM Field". University of Maryland website. Center for Integrative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Maryland. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28.
- "Energy Medicine: An Overview". Backgrounders. NCCIH. 2005 . Archived from the original on 2016-05-22.
- O'Connor 1995, p. 2.
- Sarris, J.; et al. (2010). Clinical Naturopathy: An Evidence-based Guide to Practice. Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 9780729579261.
- Jagtenberg T, Evans S, Grant A, Howden I, Lewis M, Singer J (2006). "Evidence-based medicine and naturopathy". J Altern Complement Med. 12 (3): 323–8. PMID 16646733. doi:10.1089/acm.2006.12.323.
- Ernst E (2001). "Rise in popularity of complementary and alternative medicine: reasons and consequences for vaccination". Vaccine. 20 (Suppl 1): S89–93. PMID 11587822. doi:10.1016/S0264-410X(01)00290-0.
- "Naturopathic Medicine". American Cancer Society. 1 Nov 2008. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 20 Nov 2010.
- Hahnemann 1833, p. iii, 48–49.
- Ernst, E. (2002). "A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy". British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 54 (6): 577–82. PMC . PMID 12492603. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2125.2002.01699.x.
- House of Commons: Science and Technology Committee (22 February 2010). Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy (PDF) (Report). HC 45, Fourth Report of Session 2009–2010. London: The Stationery Office.
- Shang, Aijing; Huwiler-Müntener, Karin; Nartey, Linda; Jüni, Peter; Dörig, Stephan; Sterne, Jonathan AC; Pewsner, Daniel; Egger, Matthias (2005), "Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy", The Lancet, 366 (9487): 726–732, PMID 16125589, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67177-2
- "Homeopathy: An Introduction". Backgrounders. NCCIH. 2013 . Archived from the original on 2013-10-15.
- Beyerstein, BL; Wallace Sampson (1996). "Traditional Medicine and Pseudoscience in China: A Report of the Second CSICOP Delegation (Part 1)". Skeptical Inquirer. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. 20 (4). Archived from the original on 2009-10-04.
- Lu, Gwei-Djen; Needham, Joseph (1980). Celestial Lancets: a History and Rationale of Acupuncture and Moxa. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521215138.
- Maciocia, Giovanni (1995). Tongue Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine. Seattle: Eastland Press. ISBN 9780939616190.
- Camillia Matuk (2006). "Seeing the Body: The Divergence of Ancient Chinese and Western Medical Illustration" (PDF). Journal of Biocommunication. 32 (1).
- Deshpande, Vijaya (January 1987). "Medieval Transmission of Alchemical and Chemical Ideas between India and China" (PDF). Indian Journal of History of Science. 22 (1): 15–28. PMID 11622483.
- Wujastyk 2003, p. xviii.
- Mishra 2004, p. 8.
- Valiathan, M.S. (2006). "Ayurveda: Putting the house in order" (PDF). Guest Editorial. Current Science. 90 (1): 5–6.
- "Lead Poisoning Associated with Ayurvedic Medications — Five States, 2000–2003". Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 53 (26): 582–584. 9 July 2004.
- Saper, R.B.; et al. (2008). "Lead, mercury, and arsenic in US- and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines sold via the Internet". JAMA. 300 (8): 915–23. PMC . PMID 18728265. doi:10.1001/jama.300.8.915.
- Sagan 1996.
- Rosa L, Rosa E, Sarner L, Barrett S (April 1998). "A close look at therapeutic touch". JAMA. 279: 1005–10. PMID 9533499. doi:10.1001/jama.279.13.1005.
- Abdulla, Sara (May 13, 1999). "Phytotherapy - good science or big business?". Nature. doi:10.1038/news990513-8.
Science-based medicine, with its emphasis on controlled study, proof, evidence, statistical significance and safety is being rejected in favour of 'alternative medicine' – an atavistic portmanteau of anecdote, hearsay, rumour and hokum.... Probably the most commercially successful and widely used branch of alternative or complementary medicine is 'phytotherapy'. These are the tablets, powders and elixirs, otherwise known as herbal medicine, that are sold in most countries, through health shops and pharmacies as 'nutritional supplements'.... Only a tiny minority of these remedies have been shown to have mild-to moderately beneficial health effects... So why are affluent, otherwise rational, highly educated people (for this is the average user profile) so hungry for phytotherapy?... people still believe that 'natural' equals good and safe despite plenty of evidence to the contrary." ... as far as the human body is concerned, 'natural' is meaningless... Equally, what's so safe about consuming substances that need meet no standards of contents? ...
- De Smet, Peter A.G.M. (December 1997). "The Role of Plant-Derived Drugs and Herbal Medicines in Healthcare". Drugs. 54 (6): 801–40. PMID 9421691. doi:10.2165/00003495-199754060-00003.
- "According to a New Government Survey, 38 Percent of Adults and 12 Percent of Children Use Complementary and Alternative Medicine" (Press release). NIH News. Bethseda, Maryland: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine. 10 December 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
- Quack Medicine: A History of Combating Health Fraud in Twentieth-Century America, Eric W. Boyle, 
- Countercultural Healing: A brief History of Alternavie Medicine in America, James Whorton, PBS, November 4, 2003, 
- Nature Cures – The History of Alternative Medicine in America, James C. Whorton, Oxford University Press, 2002, "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-08. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- The Rise and Rise of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: a Sociological Perspective, Ian D Coulter and Evan M Willis, Medical Journal of Australia, 2004; 180 (11): 587–89
- The Alternative Fix, Frontline, Public Broadcasting System
- The New Age of Alternative Medicine, Why New Age Medicine Is Catching On, Claudia Wallis, Time Magazine, 11-4-1991, 
- New Age Medicine, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs; John Ankerberg, John Weldon, 1996, pp. 470–508, 
- Smith, T (1983). "Alternative medicine". British Medical Journal (Clinical research ed.). 287 (6388): 307–08. PMC . PMID 6307462. doi:10.1136/bmj.287.6388.307.
One of the few growth industries in contemporary Britain is alternative medicine. An apparently endless stream of books, articles, and radio and television programmes urge on the public the virtues of treatments ranging from meditation to drilling a hole in the skull to let in more oxygen.
- Other healers, other cures: A guide to alternative medicine, Helen Kruger, 1974, 
- "A Guide to Alternative Medicine", Donald Law (1975)
- "The Politics of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health", Eric W. Boyle, Presentation to the conference of the Society for History in the Federal Government, College Park, Maryland, March 5, 2010, 
- Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States, 1990–1997: results of a follow-up national survey. Eisenberg DM1, Davis RB, Ettner SL, Appel S, Wilkey S, Van Rompay M, Kessler RC., JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1569-75, 
- Singh, Simon.; Ernst, Edzard (2008). Trick or Treatment : the undeniable facts about alternative medicine. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393066616. OCLC 181139440. preview via Google Books.
- "$2.5 billion spent, no alternative cures found". Alternative Medicine. NBCNews.com. Associated Press. 2009-06-10. Archived from the original on 2009-06-13.
- Book raises alarms about alternative medicine, Liz Szabo, USA Today, July 2, 2013, 
- Robert Booth (26 April 2010). "Prince Charles's aide at homeopathy charity arrested on suspicion of fraud". London: guardian.co.uk.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the American Public. (2005). "State of Emerging Evidence on CAM". Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States. National Academies Press (US).
- "Complementary Therapies". MeSH–NCBI. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- Knöss W, Stolte F, Reh K (Jul 2008). "The regulatory framework for complementary and alternative medicines in Europe". Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 51 (7): 771–78. PMID 18584103. doi:10.1007/s00103-008-0584-8.
- Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, 11-6-2001 with later amendments, 
- Homeopathic Medicine: Europe's #1 Alternative for Doctors, Dana Ullman, Huffington Post, 11-17-2011, 
- "Homoeopathy booming in ", Prasad R Lancet 370. November 17, 2007, 1679–80
- ECHAMP, Facts and Figures, 2nd edition, 2007
- "Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation". CH. Art. 118a Complementary medicine.
- Legal Status and Regulation of Complementary andAlternative Medicine in Europe; Solveig Wiesener, Torkel Falkenberg, Gabriella Hegyid, Johanna Hök, Paolo Roberti di Sarsina, Vinjar Fønnebø; Forsch Komplementmed 2012; 19(suppl 2):29–36, Nov. 2012, 
- Bivins, R. (2011). "Chapter 32: Histories of Heterodoxy". In Jackson, M. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Medicine. Oxford University Press. pp. 578–97. ISBN 9780199546497.
- Jütte, R. (2001). "Alternative Medicine and Medico-Historical Semantics" (PDF). In Eklof, M.; Nelson, M.C. Historical Aspects of Unconventional Medicine: Approaches, Concepts, Case Studies. European Association for the History of Medicine and Health. pp. 11–26. ISBN 095365222X.
- De Blécourt, W.; et al. (1999). "Preface: Situating "alternative medicine" in the modern period". Medical History. 43 (3): 283–5. PMC . PMID 16562317. doi:10.1017/S0025727300065364.
- Jütte, R. (1999). "The historiography of nonconventional medicine in Germany: A concise overview". Medical History. 43 (3): 342–58. PMC . PMID 10885128. doi:10.1017/S002572730006539X.
- Bullock, M.B. (1980). An American Transplant: The Rockefeller Foundation and Peking Union Medical College. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520035591.
- Porter, R. (1988). "Chapter 1: Before the Fringe: 'Quackery' and the Eighteenth-Century Medical Market". In Cooter, R.; Society for the Social History of Medicine. Studies in the History of Alternative Medcicine. London: Macmillan in association with St Antony's College, Oxford. ISBN 9780333462133.
Loudon, I. (2006). "A brief history of homeopathy". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 99 (12): 607–10. PMC . PMID 17139061. doi:10.1258/jrsm.99.12.607.
- Bivins 2007, p. 171.
- Brunton, D. (2004). "Chapter 5: The Emergence of a Modern Profession?". In Brunton, D. Medicine Transformed: Health, Disease and Society in Europe 1800-1930. Manchester University Press in association with the Open University. pp. 119–50. ISBN 9780719067358.
Brown, M. (2007). "Chapter 12: Medicine, Quackery, and the Free Market: The 'War' Against Morison's Pills and the Construction of the Medical Profession, c.1830-c.1850". In Jenner, M.S.R.; Wallis, P. Medicine and the Market in England and its Colonies, c.1450-c.1850. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 238–61. ISBN 9780230506435.
- Pickstone, J. (2006). "Medicine, Society and the State". In Porter, R. The Cambridge History of Medicine. Cambridge University Press. pp. 260–97. ISBN 9780521864268.
- Ramsey M (1999). "Alternative medicine in modern France". Med Hist. 43 (3): 286–322. PMC . PMID 10885126. doi:10.1017/S0025727300065376.
- Silverman, B.D. (2011). "William Henry Welch (1850–1934): The Road to Johns Hopkins". Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings. 24 (3): 236–42. PMC . PMID 21738298.
- Pritchett, H.S. "Introduction". In Flexner Report (1910), p. viii.
- Hiatt, M.D.; et al. (2003). "The impact of the Flexner Report on the fate of medical schools in North America after 1909" (PDF). Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. 8 (2): 37–40.
- Madras Indigenous Systems of Medicine Committee 1921-23; Usman, M.; et al. (1925). The Report of the Committee on the Indigenous Systems of Medicine, Madras (The Usman Report). Madras, India: Superintendent, Government Press. OCLC 229483035.
- Madras Group (1984). "What is the role of indigenous medical sciences in our health care system? (Responses of indigenous medical practitioners to the Madras Inquiry sixty years ago)". Patriotic and People Oriented Science and Technology. 4 (1): 64–95. Condensed in Madras Group (1985). "What is the role of indigenous medical sciences in our health care system?" (PDF). Perspective. Vikalpa. 10 (3): 271–7.
- Bivins 2007, pp. 164–70.
- "alternative medicine, n". OED Online. Oxford English Dictionary. March 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2015.(subscription required); Kruger, Helen (1974). Other Healers, Other Cures: A Guide to Alternative Medicine. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. ISBN 9780672517082.
- BMA 1993.
Cant, S.; Sharma, U. (1999). "Alternative Health Practices and Systems". In Albrecht, G.L.; Fitzpatrick, R.; Scrimshaw, S.C. The Handbook of Social Studies in Health and Medicine. Sage Publications. p. 433. ISBN 9781847870964.
Saks 2003, p. 117.
- Relman, A.S. (1998-12-14). "Andrew Weil, the boom in alternative medicine, and the retreat from science. A Trip to Stonesville". The New Republic. 219 (24). pp. 28–36. Reproduced at Quackwatch, (2002-03-10) and archived from there 2002-10-10.
- "MedicalMakers: David Satcher". The HistoryMakers website. Archived from the original on 2013-05-11. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
Office of Public Health and Science (2007-01-04). "David Satcher (1998-2002)". US HHS. Archived from the original on 2007-12-05.
- "U.S. Surgeon General launches new health resources at government gateway website: Alternative health and Spanish language online resources". Health.gov website (Press release). HHS News. Partnerships for Health in the New Millennium. 1999-11-18 [1998-03-18]. Archived from the original on 2000-04-16.
- Eisenberg, D.M.; et al. (1993). "Unconventional medicine in the United States –– Prevalence, costs, and patterns of use". New England Journal of Medicine. 328 (4): 246–52. PMID 8418405. doi:10.1056/NEJM199301283280406.
- Eisenberg, D.M.; et al. (1998). "Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States, 1990–1997: Results of a follow-up national survey". JAMA. 280 (18): 1569–75. PMID 9820257. doi:10.1001/jama.280.18.1569.
- Horrigan, B.J. (2007). "Introduction and Summary" (PDF). Integrative Medicine Best Practices. Bravewell Collaborative. p. 3. Retrieved 2013-10-06. Introduction and Summary archived 2013-05-03.
- Flexner, A.; The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT) (1910). "Medical Education in the United States and Canada Bulletin Number Four (The Flexner Report)". Boston: D. B. Updike, Merrymount Press. Available from CFAT: The Flexner Report.
- Ludmerer, K.M. (2010). "Commentary: Understanding the Flexner Report" (PDF). Academic Medicine. 85 (2): 193–6. PMID 20107341. doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181c8f1e7.
- Bianco, C. "How Becoming a Doctor Works: Medical School Curriculum". HowStuffWorks website. Archived from the original on 2013-10-05.
- "Stanford's medical curriculum". Stanford University website. Stanford University School of Medicine. Archived from the original on 2013-05-09.
- "Medical Student Education Program: Curriculum Overview". Yale University website. Yale School of Medicine. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04.
- Snyderman, R.; et al. (2002). "Integrative medicine: Bringing medicine back to its roots". JAMA Internal Medicine. 162 (4): 395–7. PMID 11863470. doi:10.1001/archinte.162.4.395.
- Berman, B.M. (2001). "Complementary medicine and medical education". BMJ. 322 (7279): 121–2. PMC . PMID 11159555. doi:10.1136/bmj.322.7279.121.
- "Center for Integrative Medicine". University of Maryland website. University of Maryland School of Medicine. Archived from the original on 2010-03-23.
- "Doctor of medicine profession (MD)". MedlinePlus. US National Library of Medicine, NIH. 2011-02-03. Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
- BMA 1993.
- Sir Walton: Science and Technology Committee 2000, Chapter 6: Professional Training and Education
- Dan Hurley (2006). Natural causes: death, lies, and politics in America's vitamin and herbal supplement industry. New York: Broadway Books. ISBN 978-0-7679-2042-1.
- Important Events in NCCAM History
- "OAM's Legislative History", Office of Alternative Medicine Series (OAMS), Office of NIH History Archives, National Institutes of Health, Box 4, Folder 7
- "Arizona company agrees to pay $200,000 to settle FTC charges it made false health claims about bee-pollen products," FTC News Notes, December 30, 1992.
- Book Review, Natural Causes: Death, Lies, and Politics in America's Vitamin and Herbal Supplement Industry, Donald Marcus, M.D., New England Journal of Medicine, 6-21-2007; 356:2659, doi:10.1056/NEJMbkrev57733, 
- "The 1993 Snake Oil Protection Act". New York Times. October 5, 1993. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
- Shadow Medicine: The Placebo in Conventional and Alternative Therapies, John S. Halle, 
- Toward an Integrative Medicine: Merging Alternative Therapies with Biomedicine, Hans A. Baer, 
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), Skeptics Dictionary, 
- Office Of Alternative Medicine Gets Unexpected Boost, Paul Smaglik, The Scientist, 11-10-1997, 
- Why the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Should Be Defunded, Wallace I. Sampson, M.D, Quackwatch, 
- Scientists Speak Out Against Federal Funds for Research on Alternative Medicine, David Brown, Washington Post, 3-17-2009, 
- Full Committee Hearing, Integrative Care: A Pathway to a Healthier Nation, SD 4-30 (Feb. 26, 2009), United States Senate, 
- Tom Harkin’s War on Science, Peter Lipson, Discover Magazine editor's opinion in New York Times, 3-2-2009, 
- $34 billion spent yearly on alternative medicine, NBC News, 7-30-2009
- Is taxpayer money well spent or wasted on alternative-medicine research?, Susan Perry, 5-8-2012, MinnPost, 
- NACCIH Charter
- Kent, H. (1997). "Ignore growing patient interest in alternative medicine at your peril - MDs warned". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 157 (10): 1427–8. PMC . PMID 9371077.
- Goldrosen, M.H.; et al. (2004). "Complementary and alternative medicine: assessing the evidence for immunological benefits". Perspective. Nature Reviews Immunology. 4 (11): 912–21. PMID 15516970. doi:10.1038/nri1486.
- IOM Report 2005.
- Sarris, J. (2012). "Current challenges in appraising complementary medicine evidence". Medical Journal of Australia. 196 (5): 310–1. PMID 22432660. doi:10.5694/mja11.10751.
- Alcock, J. (1999). "Alternative medicine and the psychology of belief". Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine. 3 (2).
- Ernst, E. "The HealthWatch Award 2005: Prof. Edzard Ernst: Complementary medicine: The good the bad and the ugly". UK: HealthWatch. Archived from the original on 2013-10-16.
- Ernst, E. (2011). "How Much of CAM Is Based on Research Evidence?". Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2011: 676490. PMC . PMID 19465405. doi:10.1093/ecam/nep044.
- "Alternative Medicine: Think yourself better". The Economist. 2011-05-19. pp. 83–4. Archived from the original on 2011-05-22.
- Ernst, E. (2008). "Placebo and other Non-specific Effects". In Ernst, E. Healing, Hype, or Harm? A Critical Analysis of Complementary or Alternative Medicine. Imprint Academic, Societas. ISBN 9781845401184.
- Katz, D.L.; et al. (2003). "The evidence base for complementary and alternative medicine: Methods of evidence mapping with application to CAM". Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 9 (4): 22–30. PMID 12868249.
- IOM Report 2005, pp. 135–36.
- Bodeker, G.; et al. (2002). "A public health agenda for traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine". American Journal of Public Health. 92 (10): 1582–91. PMC . PMID 12356597. doi:10.2105/AJPH.92.10.1582.
- Vickers, A. (2004). "Alternative cancer cures: 'Unproven' or 'disproven'?". CA – A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 54 (2): 110–8. PMID 15061600. doi:10.3322/canjclin.54.2.110.
- Ernst, E.; et al. (2004). "Ethical problems arising in evidence based complementary and alternative medicine". Journal of Medical Ethics. 30 (2): 156–9. PMC . PMID 15082809. doi:10.1136/jme.2003.007021. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
- Ernst, E. (1999). "Funding research into complementary medicine: The situation in Britain". Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 7 (4): 250–3. PMID 10709311. doi:10.1016/S0965-2299(99)80011-9.
- Ernst, .E; Pittler, M.H.; Stevinson, C.; White, A., eds. (2001). The Desktop Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Edinburgh: Mosby. ISBN 9780723432074. OCLC 492760852.
- Brown, D. (2009-03-17). "Scientists speak out against federal funds for research on alternative medicine". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
- Cassileth, B.R. (1999). "Evaluating complementary and alternative therapies for cancer patients". CA – A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 49 (6): 362–75. PMID 11198952. doi:10.3322/canjclin.49.6.362.
- Sampson W, Atwood K (2005). "Propagation of the absurd: demarcation of the absurd revisited". Med. J. Aust. 183 (11–12): 580–1. PMID 16336135.
- Barrett, S. (2004-02-10). "Be Wary of "Alternative" Health Methods". Quackwatch. Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
- "NCAHF Mission Statement". National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) website. 2009-11-30. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- Steele, F.R. (1996). "Book review: The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan". Nature Medicine. 2 (9): 1042. doi:10.1038/nm0996-1042.
Hines, T. (2003). Pseudoscience and the Paranormal (2nd ed.). Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781573929790.
Sampson, W. (2001). Grollman, A.P., ed. "The need for educational reform in teaching about alternative therapies". Academic Medicine. 76 (3): 248–50. PMID 11242574. doi:10.1097/00001888-200103000-00011.
Coulter et al. 2004.
- IOM Report 2005, pp. 17–19.
- Zollman, C.; et al. (1999). "What is complementary medicine?". ABC of complementary medicine. BMJ. 319 (7211): 693–6. PMC . PMID 10480829. doi:10.1136/bmj.319.7211.693.
- Lilienfeld, S.O. (2002). "Our raison d'ĕtre". Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. Center for Inquiry. 1 (1). Archived from the original on 2007-07-26. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- Hughes, D. (2010-12-23). "Alternative remedies 'dangerous' for kids says report". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2010-12-24.
- Acharya, D.; et al. (2008). Indigenous Herbal Medicines: Tribal Formulations and Traditional Herbal Practices. Jaipur, India: Aavishkar Publishers. p. 440. ISBN 9788179102527.
- Ernst, E. (2005). "The efficacy of herbal medicine -- An overview". Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology. 19 (4): 405–9. PMID 16011726. doi:10.1111/j.1472-8206.2005.00335.x.
- Dawkins, R. (2003). Menon, L., ed. A Devil's Chaplain: Selected Essays. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 9780753817506. (p. 180 in 2004 US ed. ISBN 0618335404).
- Holloway, R. (2003-02-14). "A callous view". Books. The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 2010-04-11. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
- Ernst, E. (1996). "The ethics of complementary medicine". Journal of Medical Ethics. 22 (4): 197–8. PMC . PMID 8863142. doi:10.1136/jme.22.4.197.
- Butler, K.; et al. (1992). A Consumer's Guide to "Alternative Medicine": A Close Look at Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Faith-healing and Other Unconventional Treatments. Consumer Health Library. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus. ISBN 9780879757335.
- Ernst, E. (2011-11-08). "Alternative medicine remains an ethics-free zone". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 2013-01-28.
- Berman, B.M.; Langevin, H M.; Witt, C.M.; Dubner, R. (2010). "Acupuncture for chronic low back pain". New England Journal of Medicine. 363 (5): 454–61. PMID 20818865. doi:10.1056/NEJMct0806114. Archived from the original on 2011-07-30.
- Kermen, R.; Hickner, J.; Brody, H.; Hasham, I. (2010). "Family physicians believe the placebo effect is therapeutic but often use real drugs as placebos" (PDF). Family Medicine. 42 (9): 636–42. PMID 20927672.
- Winnick, T.A. (2005). "From quackery to "complementary" medicine: The American medical profession confronts alternative therapies". Social Problems. 52 (1): 38–61. JSTOR 10.1525/sp.2005.52.1.38. doi:10.1525/sp.2005.52.1.38.
Winnick, T.A. (2009). "From Quackery to "Complementary" Medicine: The American Medical Profession Confronts Alternative Therapies". In Conrad, P. The Sociology of Health and Illness (8th ed.). New York: Worth. pp. 261–77. ISBN 9781429205580.
- Young, J.H. (1998). "The Development of the Office of Alternative Medicine in the National Institutes of Health, 1991-1996". Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 72 (2): 279–98. PMID 9628052. doi:10.1353/bhm.1998.0110.
- Martin, Hélène; Debons, Jérôme (2015). CAM and conventional medicine in Switzerland : divided in theory, united in practice. In N. K. Gale & J. V. McHale, Routledge Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medecine. Perspectives from social science and law. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 271–91.
- Ernst, E. (2003). "Obstacles to research in complementary and alternative medicine". Medical Journal of Australia. 179 (6): 279–80. PMID 12964907.
- Astin, J.A. (1998). "Why patients use alternative medicine: results of a national study". JAMA. 279 (19): 1548–53. PMID 9605899. doi:10.1001/jama.279.19.1548.
- Thomas, K.J.; Nicholl, J.P.; Coleman, P. (2001). "Use and expenditure on complementary medicine in England: A population based survey". Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 9 (1): 2–11. PMID 11264963. doi:10.1054/ctim.2000.0407.
- Horneber, M.; Bueschel, G.; Dennert, G.; Less, D.; Ritter, E.; Zwahlen, M. (2011). "How many cancer patients use complementary and alternative medicine: A systematic review and metaanalysis". Integrative Cancer Therapies. 11 (3): 187–203. PMID 22019489. doi:10.1177/1534735411423920.
- "Traditional medicine". WHO. 2003. Archived from the original on 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- Horrobin, D.F. (1986). "Glittering prizes for research support". Nature. 324 (6094): 221. doi:10.1038/324221a0.
- "NCCIH Funding: Appropriations History". NCCIH. 2008-01-09. Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
- Atwood, K.C., IV (September–October 2003). "The Ongoing Problem with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine". Skeptical Inquirer. 27.5. Archived from the original on 2009-11-16. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- Green S (2001). "Stated goals and grants of the Office of Alternative Medicine/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine". Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine. 5 (4): 205–07.
- Coulter, I.D.; et al. (2004). "The rise and rise of complementary and alternative medicine: A sociological perspective". Medical Journal of Australia. 180 (11): 587–9. PMID 15174992.
- Merrick, Janna (June 2003). "Spiritual Healing, Sick Kids and the Law: Inequities in the American Healthcare System". American Journal of Law & Medicine. 29 (2): 269–99.
- "Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect" (PDF). Child Welfare Information Gateway. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- Warner, J. (2006-07-20). "Alternative Medicine Goes Mainstream". WebMD. CBS News. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- "Latest Survey Shows More Hospitals Offering Complementary and Alternative Medicine Services" (Press release). American Hospital Association. 2008-09-15. Archived from the original on 2012-09-02.
- Rosa, L.; Rosa, E.; Sarner, L.; Barrett, S. (1998). "A Close Look at Therapeutic Touch". JAMA. 279 (13): 1005–10. PMID 9533499. doi:10.1001/jama.279.13.1005.
- Barnes, P.M.; Bloom, B.; Nahin, R.L. (2008). "Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults and children: United States, 2007" (PDF). National Health Statistics Reports (12): 1–23. PMID 19361005.
- Sir Walton: Science and Technology Committee 2000.
- Wujastyk 2003.
- "Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)". NHS Careers website. National Health Service in England (NHS), UK Dept. of Health. Archived from the original on 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- Kellehear, A. (2003). "Complementary medicine: Is it more acceptable in palliative care practice?". Medical Journal of Australia. 179 (6 Supplement): S46–8. PMID 12964939.
- Menefee, L.A.; Monti, D.A. (2005). "Nonpharmacologic and complementary approaches to cancer pain management". The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 105 (5 Supplement): S15–20. PMID 16368903.
- Cassileth, B.R. (1996). "Alternative and complementary cancer treatments". The Oncologist. 1 (3): 173–9. CiteSeerX . PMID 10387984.
- Marty, A.T. (1999). "The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines". Books, Journals, New Media. JAMA. 281 (19): 1852–3. doi:10.1001/jama.281.19.1852-JBK0519-2-1.
- WHO 2005.
- "Medication Health Fraud". fda.gov.
- "Alternative Medicine Fraud". fda.gov.
- FDA, Use Caution With Ayurvedic Products
- Ernst E (2011). "Conflicts of Interest in Alternative Medicine". Skeptical Inquirer. 35 (4).
- Gorski D (16 November 2009). "Conflicts of interest in science-based medicine". Science-Based Medicine.
- Hall HA (27 April 2011). "Conflicts of interest". Science-Based Medicine.
- Niggemann, B.; Grüber, C. (22 February 2003). "Side-effects of complementary and alternative medicine". Allergy. 58 (8): 707–16. PMID 12859546. doi:10.1034/j.1398-9995.2003.00219.x.
- Colquhoun, D. (2012). "Regulation of alternative medicine ‐ Why it doesn't work" (PDF). Scottish Universities Medical Journal. EPub. 1 (16): 1–9.
- Connelly, P. (2012). "The ethics of acupuncture" (PDF). Scottish Universities Medical Journal. 1 (2): 165–9.
- Malcolm, R. (2012). "Small but intriguing - The unfolding story of homeopathic medicine" (PDF). Scottish Universities Medical Journal. EPub. 1 (15): 1–7.
- Hills, B. (2011-09-23) . "Fake healers: Why Australia's $1 billion-a-year alternative medicine industry is ineffective and out of control". BenHills.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- Swan, N. (2000-10-02). "Alternative Medicine – Part Three". The Health Report. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Radio National. Archived from the original on 2008-03-06. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- Roozbeh, J; Hashempur, M. H.; Heydari, M (Nov 2013). "Use of herbal remedies among patients undergoing hemodialysis". Iran J Kidney Dis. 7 (6): 492–95. PMID 24241097.
- Del Prete, A; Scalera, A; Iadevaia, M. D.; Miranda, A; Zulli, C; Gaeta, L; Tuccillo, C; Federico, A; Loguercio, C (2012). "Herbal products: benefits, limits, and applications in chronic liver disease". Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012: 837939. PMC . PMID 22991573. doi:10.1155/2012/837939.
- Stehlin, I. (December 1996). "Homeopathy: Real medicine or empty promises?". FDA Consumer Magazine. FDA. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12.
- Miller, Gabriel (2 September 2014), "Asking the Experts: Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Cancer", Medscape, retrieved 7 September 2014
- Bivins, R. (2007). Alternative Medicine? A History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199218875.
- Board of Science and Education, British Medical Association (1993). Complementary Medicine: New Approaches to Good Practice. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780192861665.
- Callahan, D., ed. (2004). The Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Accommodating Pluralism. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. ISBN 9781589014640.
- Cohen, Michael H. (1998). Complementary & Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 9780801856891.
- Committee on the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the American Public, Board on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Institute of Medicine, US National Academies (2005). Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. ISBN 0309092701.
- Gevitz, N. (1997) . "Chapter 28: Unorthodox Medical Theories". In Bynum, W.F.; Porter, R.S. Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine. Vol. 1. New York & London: Routledge. ISBN 9780415164191.
- Hahnemann, S. (1833). The Homœopathic Medical Doctrine, or "Organon of the Healing Art". Translation by Devrient, C.H. Annotated by Stratten, S. Dublin: W.F. Wakeman.
- Kasper, Dennis L; Fauci, Anthony S.; Hauser, Stephen L.; Longo, Dan L.; Jameson, J. Larry; Loscalzo, Joseph (2015). Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (19th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Education. ISBN 9780071802154.
- Mishra, Lakshmi Chandra (2004). Scientific Basis for Ayurvedic Therapies. Boca Raton: CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-1366-X.
- O'Connor, Bonnie Blair (1995). Healing Traditions: Alternative Medicine and the Health Professions. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 9780812213980.
- Ruggie, M. (2004). Marginal to Mainstream: Alternative Medicine in America. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521834292.
- Sagan, C. (1996). The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780394535128.
- Saks, M. (2003). Orthodox and Alternative Medicine: Politics, Professionalization and Health Care. Sage Publications. ISBN 9781446265369.
- Sointu, E. (2012). Theorizing Complementary and Alternative Medicines: Wellbeing, Self, Gender, Class. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230309319.
- Walton J., Sir, Science and Technology Committee, House of Lords, Parliament of the United Kingdom (2000) [Session 1999-2000, HL 123]. Sixth Report: Complementary and Alternative Medicine. London: The Stationery Office. ISBN 9780104831007.
- Taylor, Kim (2005). Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China, 1945–63: a Medicine of Revolution. Needham Research Institute Studies. London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0-415-34512-X.
- Wujastyk, D., ed. (2003). The Roots of Ayurveda: Selections from Sanskrit Medical Writings. Translated by D. Wujastyk. London and New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0140448241.
- Bausell, R.B (2007). Snake oil science : the truth about complementary and alternative medicine. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195313680.
- Benedetti, F.; et al. (2003). "Open versus hidden medical treatments: The patient's knowledge about a therapy affects the therapy outcome". Prevention & Treatment. 6 (1). doi:10.1037/1522-37184.108.40.206a.
- Dawkins, R. (2001). "Foreword". In Diamond, J. Snake Oil and Other Preoccupations. London: Vintage. ISBN 9780099428336. Reprinted in Dawkins 2003.
- Downing AM, Hunter DG (2003). "Validating clinical reasoning: A question of perspective, but whose perspective?". Manual Therapy. 8 (2): 117–19. PMID 12890440. doi:10.1016/S1356-689X(02)00077-2.
- Eisenberg DM (July 1997). "Advising patients who seek alternative medical therapies". Annals of Internal Medicine. 127 (1): 61–69. PMID 9214254. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-127-1-199707010-00010.
- Gunn IP (December 1998). "A critique of Michael L. Millenson's book, Demanding Medical Excellence: Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age, and its Relevance to CRNAs and Nursing". AANA Journal. American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. 66 (6): 575–82. ISSN 0094-6354. PMID 10488264.
- Hand, W.D. (1980). "Folk Magical Medicine and Symbolism in the West". Magical Medicine. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 305–19. ISBN 9780520041295. OCLC 6420468.
- Illich, I. (1976). Limits to Medicine: Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health. Penguin. ISBN 9780140220094. OCLC 4134656.
- Mayo Clinic (2007). Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine: The New Approach to Using the Best of Natural Therapies and Conventional Medicine. Parsippany, New Jersey: Time Home Entertainment. ISBN 9781933405926.
- Stevens, P., Jr. (November–December 2001). "Magical thinking in complementary and alternative medicine". Skeptical Inquirer.
- Planer, F.E. (1988). Superstition (Rev. ed.). Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. ISBN 9780879754945. OCLC 18616238.
- Rosenfeld, A. (c. 2000). "Where Do Americans Go for Healthcare?". Cleveland, Ohio: Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
- Snyder, Mariah; Lindquist, Ruth (May 2001). "Issues in Complementary Therapies: How We Got to Where We Are". Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. 6 (2).
- Tonelli MR (2001). "The limits of evidence-based medicine". Respiratory Care. 46 (12): 1435–40; discussion 1440–1. PMID 11728302.
- Trivieri, L. Jr. (2002). Anderson, J.W., ed. Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 9781587611414.
- Wisneski, L.A.; et al. (2005). The scientific basis of integrative medicine. CRC Press. ISBN 9780849320811.
- Zalewski, Z. (1999). "Importance of philosophy of science to the history of medical thinking". CMJ. 40 (1): 8–13. Archived from the original on 2004-02-06.
World Health Organization
- General Guidelines for Methodologies on Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine (PDF). WHO/EDM/TRM/2001.1. Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO). 2000.
This document is not a formal publication of the WHO. The views expressed in documents by named authors are solely the responsibility of those authors.
- WHO Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in Chiropractic (PDF). Geneva: WHO. 2005. ISBN 9241593717.
- WHO Kobe Centre; Bodeker, G.; et al. (2005). WHO Global Atlas of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine. WHO. ISBN 9789241562867. Summary.
- Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. Aliso Viejo, California : InnoVision Communications, c1995- NLM ID: 9502013
- Alternative Medicine Review: A Journal of Clinical Therapeutics. Sandpoint, Idaho : Thorne Research, c. 1996 NLM ID: 9705340
- BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. London: BioMed Central, 2001 NLM ID: 101088661
- Complementary Therapies in Medicine. Edinburgh ; New York : Churchill Livingstone, c. 1993 NLM ID: 9308777
- Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM. New York: Hindawi, c. 2004 NLM ID: 101215021
- Forschende Komplementärmedizin / Research in Complementary Medicine
- Journal of Integrative Medicine
- Journal for Alternative and Complementary Medicine New York : Mary Ann Liebert, c. 1995
- Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine (SRAM)
|Library resources about
- Alternative medicine at DMOZ
- The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: US National Institutes of Health
- The Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine: US National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health
- Knowledge and Research Center for Alternative Medicine: Denmark, the Ministry of the Interior and Health
- Guidelines dor Using Complementary and Alternative Methods: from the American Cancer Society
- Complementary and Alternative Medicine Index: from the University of Maryland Medical Center
- Integrative Medicine Podcasts and Handouts: Teaching modules from the University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine Program
- "Alternative Medicine": A BBC/Open University television series that examines the evidence scientifically
- "Complementary and alternative medicine: What is it?": from the Mayo Clinic
- Natural Standard Research Collaboration
- A Different Way to Heal? and Videos: from PBS and Scientific American Frontiers
- Who Gets to Validate Alternative Medicine?: from PBS
- What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine? – Steven Novella, Maryland
- "Alternative" health practice – Skeptic's Dictionary
- Quackwatch.org – Stephen Barrett (See also: Quackwatch)
- Purday, K.M. (2009-01-27). "Review – Healing, Hype, or Harm? A Critical Analysis of Complementary or Alternative Medicine, by Edzard Ernst (Editor)". Metapsychology online reviews. 13 (5).
- What's the harm? Website created by Tim Farley listing cases of people harmed by various alternative treatments
- The Alternative Medicine Racket A video investigation of state-supported quackery at the National Institutes of Health. – Reason TV