Alternative Medical Systems
Alternative medicine is any practice that is put forward as having the healing effects of medicine, but is not based on evidence gathered with the scientific method. Often not part of conventional treatment, alternative medicine is usually based on tradition, belief in supernatural energies, pseudoscience, errors in reasoning, propaganda, or fraud. Alternative therapies lack scientific validation, and their effectiveness is either unproved or disproved. They have also been defined more broadly as the treatments that are not part of the conventional healthcare system.
Alternative medicine is sometimes grouped with complementary medicine which, in general, refers to the same interventions when used in conjunction with mainstream techniques, under the umbrella term complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM. Integrative medicine (or integrative health) is the combination of the practices and methods of alternative medicine with evidence based medicine. Critics maintain that the terms “complementary” and “alternative medicine” are deceptive euphemisms meant to give an impression of medical authority.
Alternative medicine methods are diverse in their foundations and methodologies. Methods may incorporate or base themselves on traditional medicine, folk knowledge, spiritual beliefs, or newly conceived approaches claiming to heal.
Many of the claims regarding the efficacy of alternative medicines are controversial. Research on alternative medicine is frequently of low quality and methodologically flawed. The safety of alternative medicine is also controversial. Some alternative treatments have been associated with unexpected side effects, which can be fatal. Alternative treatments are used in place of conventional medicines, but even with the very safest alternative medicines, delays and absences of conventional medicine has resulted in deaths where they are ineffective. Some voluntary health agencies focused upon health fraud, misinformation, and quackery as public health problems, have been highly critical of alternative medicine generally or more specifically.
Read more about Alternative Medical Systems: Terminology, Characterization, Classifications, Usage, Education, Regulation, Criticism, Integrative Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Fringe Medicine, Appeal, Academic Resources
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