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Complementary and alternative medicine is becoming popular by the day in many developed countries including the UK. Data from surveys conducted in 2000 suggest that there were about 50,000  complementary and alternative medicine practitioners in the UK. The House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology report on CAM, generally considered most of the CAM therapies as safe. Alternative medicine practices are as diverse in their foundations as in their methodologies. A 1998 systematic review of studies assessing its prevalence in 13 countries concluded that about 31% of cancer patients use some form of complementary and alternative medicine.[12] Alternative medicine varies from country to country. Other groups and individuals have offered various definitions and distinguishing characteristics. The term "alternative medicine" is generally used to describe practices used independently or in place of conventional medicine. Well-known proponents of evidence-based medicine, such as the Cochrane Collaboration and Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, use the term alternative medicine but agree that all treatments, whether "mainstream" or "alternative", ought to be held to standards of the scientific method.[21] Their view is that evidence-based medicine is an ideal state which has not yet been achieved by either current mainstream or alternative medicine.
According to the NCCAM,[10] formerly unproven remedies may be incorporated into conventional medicine if they are shown to be safe and effective. Mind-body medicine takes a holistic approach to health that explores the interconnection between the mind, body, and spirit. Biofield therapies are intended to influence energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the body. Bioelectromagnetic-based therapies use verifiable electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, alternating-current or direct-current fields in an unconventional manner. Many people utilize mainstream medicine for diagnosis and basic information, while turning to alternatives for what they believe to be health-enhancing measures.
Advocates of alternative medicine hold that the various alternative treatment methods are effective in treating a wide range of major and minor medical conditions, and that recently published research (such as Michalsen, 2003,[58] Gonsalkorale 2003,[59] and Berga 2003[60]) proves the effectiveness of specific alternative treatments. Complementary therapies are often used in palliative care or by practitioners attempting to manage chronic pain in patients. In defining complementary medicine in the UK, the House of Lords Select Committee determined that the following therapies were the most often used to complement conventional medicine:[69] Alexander technique, Aromatherapy, Bach and other flower remedies, Body work therapies including massage, Counselling stress therapies, hypnotherapy, Meditation, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Maharishi Ayurvedic medicine, Nutritional medicine, and Yoga.
A botanicas, such as this one in Massachusetts, caters to the Latino community and sells folk medicine alongside statues of saints, candles decorated with prayers, and other items. The National Science Foundation has also conducted surveys of the popularity of alternative medicine.
The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. In the United States, increasing numbers of medical colleges have started offering courses in alternative medicine. Similarly "unconventional medicine courses are widely represented at European universities. In contrast to unconventional schools in Britain, no conventional medical schools offer courses that teach the clinical practice of alternative medicine.[78] The British Medical Acupuncture Society offers medical acupuncture certificates to doctors, as does the College of Naturopathic Medicine UK and Ireland. Jurisdiction differs concerning which branches of alternative medicine are legal, which are regulated, and which (if any) are provided by a government-controlled health service or reimbursed by a private health medical insurance company. A number of alternative medicine advocates disagree with the restrictions of government agencies that approve medical treatments.
The production of modern pharmaceuticals is strictly regulated to ensure that medicines contain a standardized quantity of active ingredients and are free from contamination.
As of 2005 the Cochrane Library had 145 CAM-related Cochrane systematic reviews and 340 non-Cochrane systematic reviews. Most alternative medical treatments are not patentable, which may lead to less research funded by the private sector.
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.
Forms of alternative medicine that are biologically active can be dangerous even when used in conjunction with conventional medicine. Conventional treatments are subjected to testing for undesired side-effects, whereas alternative treatments generally are not subjected to such testing at all. Those who have 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.[citation needed] For this reason, critics argue that therapies that rely on the placebo effect to define success are very dangerous.


A study published in 1998[51] indicates that a majority of alternative medicine use was in conjunction with standard medical treatments. Authors have speculated on the socio-cultural and psychological reasons for the appeal of alternative medicines among that minority whose use them in lieu of conventional medicine.
In addition to the social-cultural underpinnings of the popularity of alternative medicine, there are several psychological issues that are critical to its growth. Even though operating in a regulatory environment that is considered somewhat weak, the market for alternative and complementary medicine continues to expand. However, it adjudged that acupuncture, chiropractic and herbal medicine could be harmful if they were not practiced properly. Practices may incorporate or base themselves on traditional medicine, folk knowledge, spiritual beliefs, or newly conceived approaches to healing.[8] Jurisdictions where alternative medical practices are sufficiently widespread may license and regulate them.
The term "complementary medicine" is primarily used to describe practices used in conjunction with or to complement conventional medical treatments.
The IOM found that in a study of 160 Cochrane systematic reviews of mainstream techniques, 20% were ineffective and 21% had insufficient evidence.[15] The IOM therefore defined alternative medicine broadly as the nondominant approach in a given culture and historical period. Ernst characterizes the evidence for many alternative techniques as weak, nonexistent, or negative, but states that compelling evidence exists for others, particularly certain herbs and acupuncture[22] – although this evidence does not mean these treatments are mainstream, especially not worldwide. Several scientists share this point of view and state that "[o]nce a treatment has been tested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was considered alternative at the outset. Tonelli argues that CAM cannot be evidence-based unless the definition of evidence is changed.
They assert that a PubMed search revealed over 370,000 research papers classified as alternative medicine published in Medline-recognized journals since 1966 in the National Library of Medicine database. Complementary medicine is considered more acceptable in the interdisciplinary approach used in palliative care than in other areas of medicine. The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - article 34 (Specific legal obligations) of the General Comment No. In the USA, for example, critics say that the Food and Drug Administration's criteria for experimental evaluation methods impedes those seeking to bring useful and effective treatments and approaches to the public, and that their contributions and discoveries are unfairly dismissed, overlooked or suppressed. Alternative medicine products are not subject to the same governmental quality control standards, and consistency between doses can vary. 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.[89] According a 2005 book by a US Institute of Medicine panel, the number of RCTs focused on CAM has risen dramatically. Examples include immuno-augmentation therapy, shark cartilage, bioresonance therapy, oxygen and ozone therapies, insulin potentiation therapy. Any treatment — whether conventional or alternative — that has a biological or psychological effect on a patient may also have potentially dangerous biological or psychological side-effects. 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. Approximately 4.4 percent of those studied used alternative medicine as a replacement for conventional medicine. Step by step, people in USA and UK have discovered their properties and have started to ask for them.
It engages all TV channels for advertising and regional channels are also included in sales promotion. The article 'Alternative Medicine Industry Overview' has more information on the industry in general.
The report also came up with a classification of CAM treatments and divided them into three groups as follows.Group One - Osteopathy, herbal medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, and homeopathy. The claims made by alternative medicine practitioners are generally not accepted by the medical community because evidence-based assessment of safety and efficacy is either not available or has not been performed for many of these practices.
NCCAM suggests "using aromatherapy therapy in which the scent of essential oils from flowers, herbs, and trees is inhaled in an attempt to promote health and well-being and to help lessen a patient's discomfort following surgery"[10] as an example of complementary medicine. If it is found to be reasonably safe and effective, it will be accepted."[9] According to them it is possible for a method to change categories (proven vs.
He states that "the methods of developing knowledge within CAM currently have limitations and are subject to bias and varied interpretation. Traditional remedies, often closely resembling or forming the basis for alternative remedies, may comprise primary health care or be integrated into the health care system.
Alternative medicine providers recognize that health fraud occurs, and argue that it should be dealt with appropriately when it does, but that these restrictions should not extend to what they view as legitimate health care products.


This leads to uncertainty in the chemical content and biological activity of individual doses. Increasing the funding for research of alternative medicine techniques was the purpose of the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Attempts to refute this fact with regard to alternative treatments sometimes use the appeal to nature fallacy, i.e. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated homeopathic products in "several significantly different ways from other drugs."[98] 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.
The research found that those who used alternative medicine tended to have higher education or report poorer health status. Treatments for severe diseases such as cancer and HIV infection have well-known, significant side effects.
Other terms sometimes used to describe them include 'natural medicine', 'non-conventional medicine' and 'holistic medicine'.”Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in the UKThe increasing use of CAM came into limelight and surveys were conducted to assess its impact as early as the mid-nineties. These practices have the best established professional organizations and training standards. If scientific investigation establishes the safety and effectiveness of an alternative medical practice, it may be adopted by conventional practitioners.[9][10] Because alternative techniques tend to lack evidence, some have advocated defining it as non-evidence based medicine, or not medicine at all. CAM must develop and defend a rational and coherent method for assessing causality and efficacy, though not necessarily one based on the results of controlled clinical trials."[35] Further, A review of Michael L. The same survey found that 96% of respondents who sought the services of an alternative medicine practitioner also sought the services of a medical doctor in the past 12 months. This lack of oversight means that alternative health products are vulnerable to adulteration and contamination.[88] This problem is magnified by international commerce, since different countries have different types and degrees of regulation. A 1995 study by the Alternative Health Information Bureau and the Nursing Times, which surveyed 393 nurses, found that about 58% of the nurses reported to use complementary therapies in their work, with as many as 89% agreeing to using alternative therapies at home.A separate 1999 study found that not only were there about 50,000 CAM practitioners in the UK, but close to 10,000 statutory registered health professionals practiced some form of CAM around the country. It has a far larger meaning and mission in that it calls for restoration of the focus of medicine on health and healing and emphasizes the centrality of the patient-physician relationship."[19] The combination of orthodox and complementary medicine with an emphasis on prevention and lifestyle changes is known as integrated medicine. Millenson's book Demanding Medical Excellence: Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age described it as "a wake up call to both medicine and nursing" due to what Millenson calls a "lack of scientific-based medical practice". This can make it difficult for consumers to properly evaluate the risks and qualities of given products. Also, About 5 million patients agreed to having consulted an alternative medicine practitioner in the last year.A large variety of CAM practices exist in the UK, from Homeopathy to Acupuncture and Naturopathy to Reflexology, and more. Lundberg, former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and Phil B.
According to the review, the book states that "85% of current practice has not been scientifically validated" and that it suggests that users of the research presented by Medline should question research articles rather than assuming they are accurate simply because of where they are published. Fontanarosa, Senior Editor of JAMA,"[27] Richard Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford,[28][29][30] Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh,[31] and Stephen Barrett, founder and operator of Quackwatch, who argues that techniques currently labeled "alternative" should be reclassified as "genuine, experimental, or questionable.
The review states that Millenson's thesis and conclusion call for all health researchers and policy makers to do a better job in assuring valid methodology and avoidance of bias in published research.[36] Michael Dixon, the Director of the NHS Alliance stated that “People argue against complementary therapies on the basis of a lack of evidence. Genuine alternatives are comparable methods that have met science-based criteria for safety and effectiveness. These reasons include that use of CAM is dictated by fashion, there has been a revival of interest in the paranormal phenomenon such as astrology, an increasing number of people today are worried about their health, and that the growing use of CAM reflects a general attitude of society towards science.
Experimental alternatives are unproven but have a plausible rationale and are undergoing responsible investigation. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Regulation in the UKThe CAM industry functions under a weak federal system of regulation. While setting up a CAM business doesn't require a license, some forms of CAM practices have consolidated training standards and professional codes of conduct. Practices such as homeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture, massage therapies, naturopathy and nutritional therapy, as a result, can be considered as well-regulated, albeit voluntarily.
Blurring these distinctions enables promoters of quackery to argue that because some practices labeled "alternative" have merit, the rest deserve equal consideration and respect.



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