Talk:Alternative medicine

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Edit Efficacy section[edit]

I would like to make the following addition to the "Efficacy" section beginning Line 243:

"The NCCIH has often been criticized for its low standards for funding alternative medicine research. Such criticisms have garnered national attention, forcing the NCCIH to publish a post on its site asserting its scientific credibility. One of the main critiques has been that peer reviews of grant proposals are often performed by CAM practitioners instead of health experts. As a result, many ineffectual grant proposals have been supported. One such example is a study funded by the NCCIH which found that cranberry juice cocktail was no better at preventing urinary tract infections than the placebo. Many similar questionable research proposals have been funded by the NCCIH.This has taken away much-needed funding from researching alternative treatments that may actually work, further perpetuating the stigma of CAM as scientific quackery"

I think this should be included because alternative medicines like turmeric for example do have the potential to become integrated into modern medicine, but misallocation of funding has reinforced this false stigma that the field of alternative medicine is complete scientific quackery. Please let me know what you all think. Thank you! Rmukh17 (talk) 22:05, 6 December 2018 (UTC)

Please cite reliable source(s) for the proposed text. Qexigator (talk) 19:49, 10 December 2018 (UTC)

RfC - Again[edit]

There is an RfC relevant to this topic at - the COI noticeboard Morgan Leigh | Talk 00:44, 1 January 2019 (UTC)


Why is this author allowed to post? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:602:77F:D6EE:ECB8:539C:E130:834B (talk) 03:01, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Can you please specify which author and identify some of the edits that you consider biased please.  Velella  Velella Talk   03:10, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Yes. We are biased.[edit]

In the section above, Morgan Leigh says " 'fake medicine', your biases are showing. "

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, once said:

"Wikipedia’s policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals – that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.
What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse'. It isn’t.[1][2]"

So yes, we are biased towards science and biased against pseudoscience.
We are biased towards astronomy, and biased against astrology.
We are biased towards chemistry, and biased against alchemy.
We are biased towards mathematics, and biased against numerology.
We are biased towards medicine, and biased against homeopathic medicine.
We are biased towards venipuncture, and biased against acupuncture.
We are biased towards cargo planes, and biased against cargo cults.
We are biased towards crops, and biased against crop circles.
We are biased towards laundry soap, and biased against laundry balls.
We are biased towards water treatment, and biased against magnetic water treatment.
We are biased towards electromagnetic fields, and biased against microlepton fields.
We are biased towards evolution, and biased against creationism.
We are biased towards medical treatments that have been proven to be effective in double-blind clinical trials, and biased against medical treatments that are based upon preying on the gullible.
We are biased towards astronauts and cosmonauts, and biased against ancient astronauts.
We are biased towards psychology, and biased against phrenology.
We are biased towards Mendelian inheritance, and biased against Lysenkoism.

And we are not going to change.

--Guy Macon (talk) 09:47, 31 December 2018 (UTC)

Quoted from User talk:Morgan Leigh. Tgeorgescu (talk) 03:57, 20 January 2019 (UTC)


The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

"This article looks so biased that it's hard to think that it hasn't been written on commission. It contains a lot of inadequacies, provides clearly opinionated definition incompatible with definitions a few renowned sources provide, it contains logical inconsistencies as well as one citation taken out of the context; it needs to be seriously reworked. Especially the definition."

Has anyone heard that Wikipedia is obliged to provide the "neutral point of view" content, which means unbiased and not making readers feel that an encyclopedia rated something as definitely bad? The major writers must have forgotten about that. The first lead will be read by the most people, and it is the most worth discussing on, because after reading so much bad things about alternative medicine comparing with the rest of the articles about it on the Internet, many people will never try any medicine which hasn't been produced by someone whose paramount goal is to dictate how quickly cure diseases. There is not even one word about pharmaceutical industry, but who would be the other person an ill person would get help from? (“Patient cured is a customer lost”)

A key question: what is alternative medicine? So, Wikipedia, you say that alternative medicine is "...promotion or use of practices which are unproven, disproven, impossible to prove, or excessively harmful in relation to their effect"? Wrong! Every dictionary would tell you that alternative medicine is just the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard care, or not included in the traditional medical curricula, or instead of traditional western medicine! A few dictionaries or medicine services will tell you this (even one gov site):

Moreover, you clearly admitted in the FAQ of the talk section that this definition is not reliable "...its use as a primary source is not consistent with Wikipedia's guideline on identifying reliable medical sources", yet you decided to put it. National Science Foundation's or American Science Association's opinion is as important as any other national institute of science. Why the heck are you knowingly putting definition from inconsistent sources instead of concluding the definition from all definitions from dictionaries made by professionals? The reference to some journal of NSF only says that the definition is hard to be established, not that their definition is widely used, as the reference should show: Oh, you excuse the reason for putting this definition with: "...but its inclusion remains important to some...". I guess that these 'some' are the people responsible for fending off critically thinking readers. By providing such radically different definition from the rest of 'alternative medicine' definitions which can be found in trusted sources, you are representing the topic unfairly, and not even allow to reasonably explain the followers of any alternative medicine technique.

The whole lead is solely devoted to telling us the negative effects of using the alternative therapies, and it enlists what makes them worse than big pharma products, while there is no references in the paragraph to prove the worse effects only. A flagship full A4 page neutral point of view material. A shame that Wikipedia doesn't devote any articles to describing side effects of any types of drugs, or how dangerous they can be, while an average OTC drug has a list of side effects half A4 page long.

I see that someone made a really nice graph showing all possible results of applying alternative therapies. I conclude that this person believes blindly that Wikipedia’s definition of alternative medicine applies to all methods mentioned in the article, or the subject of falsehood of the methods was exhausted, or this person is a morbid pessimist. Either way, if a placebo effect works, then it means that pharmaceuticals are not as needed as they seem, because something which hasn't been patented not products can be used to cure.

I also see that either nobody cares about treating diseases on one's own and showing working methods to other people, or that someone is pulling the strings when it comes to the fair choice of presented proof. I opt for the second option, because I do not believe that the articles concerning alternative methods of healing on mainstream Polish websites concerning medicine were so highly rated, if they didn't work. Examples: (translate the websites via Google Translate to see what they are about, and see favourable comments if there are any)

Notice that the tables showing types of alternative medicine shows only those methods whose efficiency can be relatively easily questioned, like: chiropractic, Ayurveda, naturopathy, acupuncture, yet forms difficult to question has been omitted, and shown only in the separate article showing full list of forms of alternative medicine : equine-assisted therapy (it really is mentioned there, seriously?!), physiotherapy, meditation, laughter therapy, yoga.

The yoga issue is worth some attention, because it shows great incoherences in systematization of this subject, because if you type 'yoga' in the search box you'll get an article with the definition that this is just "a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India". As the other end of the spectrum you can find on Wikipedia a bit hidden article about yoga for therapeutic purposes: . So one part of Wikipedia acknowledges that yoga is practiced because of its at least small health benefits and on the other hand some Wikipedians treat it as a fringe medicine in common with shamanism? Interesting. Someone might have just offended 38 millions US, and 300 millions practitioners worldwide. This is how many of practitioners there are according to The Good Body: Thanks Wikipedia. Why the yoga wouldn't work? Because some PhD Mr Uebelacker cannot overcome 'methodological limitations'? Lastly, it'd be against common sense reasoning to think that yoga can't cure anything; it must be at least as good as any work-out, because they all are some kinds of physical exercise, so much recommended by any coach or physician in any form, therefore it shouldn't be enlisted among alternative medicine forms. Let me remind the definition of alt med written by someone wrote in the first paragraph of the article: "Alternative practices, products, and therapies range from those which are simply ineffective to those having known harmful and toxic effects." It's hard to say anything bad about yoga. Challenge physical activity as ineffective, authors of this article, I dare you. The cat is out of the bag, isn't it?

,,The lobby has successfully pushed for alternative therapies to be subject to far less regulation than conventional medicine" Wait — what lobby? Mafia? Drug dealers? Big pharmaceutical companies? It doesn't make any sense that some group could push legal changes towards legalizing selling everything that might not work. I can't recall anyone who would be that influential to influence any western government with all their WHO, UE, and advisory medical institutes towards allowing for some crap.

"Alternative diagnoses and treatments are not part of medicine, or of science-based curricula in medical schools, nor are they used in any practice based on scientific knowledge or experience." — Bullcrap. Use Google. If that was true, sport physiotherapist would not exist, the Everglade University, SCNM Medical School, or GWSP in Chorzów (university), would not have their alternative medicine faculties:

There is more examples of such universities. Do you think universities would offer these courses if they couldn't present proof that this kind of medicine is effective?

"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 US$2.5 billion on such research since 1992" — Well, basically Wikipedia in other words gently says that the US government and their medical institutions consists of idiots, due to the fact that the 'scientific consensus' (I'm cross-referring to the first sentence of the article), or at least the aforementioned National Science Foundation considers alternative medicine techniques as these which 'refer to all treatments that had not been proven effective using the scientific method' (Talk->FAQ), yet the US government keeps wasting money on researching something which keeps proving that it can't work despite 27 years of testing. Or maybe the alternative medicine methods will never be proven, because 'It differs from experimental medicine in that the latter employs responsible investigation,...", but nobody want to provide 'responsible investigation', because it's easier not to do this? So much room for speculation. But most importantly, why would US government spend so much money on something which has already been proved many times that it's not working? Something's fishy here...

So renowned doctor Marcia Angell says: "There cannot be two kinds of medicine – conventional and alternative". True, but this does not mean that she considers all the techniques mentioned in your list as a fraud. Who knows what methods would she acknowledge as working or not? In fact, considering that she also wrote a book The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It , and that she criticized pharmaceutical industry, as well as biases in the medical establishment, I'd be inclined to think that she actually is more supportive towards what you call scam than the existing cures. Do you take statements out of context hoping that nobody will check the overall worldview of the authority, huh? Notice that her opinion about the alternative medicine was stated well before she stated her opinion about drug industry too. As she states 5 years later after stating her opinion about alternative medicine: “Over the past two decades the pharmaceutical industry has moved very far from its original high purpose of discovering and producing useful new drugs. Now primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit, this industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the US Congress, the FDA, academic medical centres, and the medical profession itself. ” If even US Congress can be manipulated by pharmaceutical industry, then what ‘non-profit’, poor, Wikipedia has to say in this matter?

Someone in the discussion mention Minchin’s Law when it comes to the definition of alternative medicine. Really guys? He’s an actor. Not a physician. Not even a thinker. And his view of alternative medicine is his opinion. I don’t why did he say “by definition” while formulating his own definition, but I guess it’s from our beloved Wikipedia because it’s hard to find definition of alternative medicine outside of Wikipedia which also treats this branch as fringe. And he clearly denies existence of anything which simply goes beyond the current comprehension of supernatural activities. You may not describe opinions as laws, especially when they are said by someone who mainly works as an artist. By trusting the opinion of such an ‘expert’ you are showing belief bias/biased interpretation and this person is experiencing status quo bias. No medical professional authority assessed the validity of that claim anywhere.

As someone in the discussion highlighted: “Alternative or complementary medicine is dangerous...”, language should not present opinion or suggest a medical advice. And this is what this article does with the use of this adjective. I concur.

Lastly, keep in mind that with the content of this article you are indirectly condemning a lot of people who have been using alternative medicine therapies. And I really mean A LOT of people; roughly 25 % (adults + children) from the huge group which could represent the entire US population used some kind of alternative therapy according to the survey gathered by NHIS in 2007: These percentage cannot be lower in all more conservative societies, where traditional medicine is pretty prevalent (China, India, South American countries). Therefore I can assume that 25 % of the world population at least tried alternative medicine methods. You are really nasty to suggest that 2 billions of people in the world were so stupid that they tried something which probably will never be proven that it's working.

That's it people. You better have your arguments well prepared before defending the content of this article, unless you want to look like idiots, cause I provided you with at least 10 legitimate arguments on why this article looks totally opinionated. I'm not going to change the article itself, because a man puts effort to expand the article, and an admin might come and revert any changes which can't be validated in solid sources. What are these solid sources? I don't know, but I guess it providing requires reading strictly scientific, uninteresting journals, sometimes inaccessible without paying. And your noble readiness to change Wikipedia's ignorant attitude towards arts practiced by 'lunatic charlatans' will go to waste. I don't even know if this long entry won't be deleted. Of course, I secured myself by coping the content of this entry as well as some Wikipedia's articles from the time of writing this text, cause I won't risk losing 4 hours of my time.

Thank you Wikipedia for making me completely lose faith in your credibility, and I wish you to find a cheap, efficient, and without serious side effects medicine produced by a international corporation, should you suffer from any chronic ailment or being destroyed by any deadly disease of affluence.

-- (talk) 15:38, 23 January 2019 (UTC)The Polish Onion

(TL;DR) . Is there a actual change to the article being requested here? And if so, please express it briefly in the form of "Please change X to Y" or "Please add X between Y and Z" followed by the source(s) used to back up the change. No one will waste time trying to find it in that wall of text --McSly (talk) 16:05, 23 January 2019 (UTC)

Of course there is a request to change. One needs to start with redefining in such a way that the definition has regard to the definitions provided by Cambridge or Merriam Webster dictionary. We can do it at once, (can we?) but if the change won't be reverted, it make the rest of the article look like a not justified criticism of these methods. Roxy, did you mark it as closed because it's just too long? –– (talk) 19:06, 23 January 2019 (UTC)The Polish Onion

TLDR version: This article looks so biased that it's hard to think that it hasn't been written on commission. It contains a lot of inadequacies, provides clearly opinionated definition incompatible with definitions a few renowned sources provide, it contains logical inconsistencies as well as one citation taken out of the context; it needs to be seriously reworked. Especially the definition. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:13, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

Yup. -Roxy, the dog. wooF 16:29, 23 January 2019 (UTC)

Is the graphic at the top not excessively POV?[edit]

To be clear, I think alternative medicine is almost all ineffective and a significant percentage of it is outright fraudulent, and I think this article should make every effort to present the overwhelming weight of evidence against it. But isn't it a bit much to have the main image of the article (and thus the first thing most people look at) an infographic debunking the subject? There's nothing like that in the articles about astrology or Young Earth Creationism. I think, if anything, it hurts the cause of evidence-based medicine to have this article read like a polemic rather than an evenhanded dismissal of something any reasonable person *would* dismiss. ❃Adelaide❃ (talk) 11:46, 6 February 2019 (UTC)

I've never liked it, it is confusing. But whatever. Guy (Help!) 19:32, 7 February 2019 (UTC)
Me too. It looks like an IQ test that I would probably fail. Johnuniq (talk) 22:23, 7 February 2019 (UTC)
I agree it can be improved, but removing it is a horrible idea. It presents the mechanisms (possibly in too much detail) for how alternative medicine is "perceived to work". That it takes two minutes to process is the point — you need to read the caption to understand the underlying deception of alternative medicine. It is under no circumstances POV, and is very well supported by the contents of the article. I'll look into what improvements can be made. The scientific community is quite clear on that "alt-med" is not "reasonable" nor a subject for scientific discussion. It's been time and time again proven to be nonsense. This critique looks like all the other nonsense dives at "there might just be something to alt-med, we should't dismiss it", despite the fact that sources are dismissing it, and dismissing the anti-science base of alt-med philosophy. Carl Fredrik talk 13:15, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

Agree. Took me 2 mins to process. The idea is sound, but the graphics is wrong: i.e. not useful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zezen (talkcontribs)

The graphic is not wrong. It's thoroughly supported by the sources in the article. Carl Fredrik talk 13:15, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
Yes, but it's noisy and confusing. No problem with having it in the body. Guy (Help!) 13:51, 12 February 2019 (UTC)