There Is No Such Thing As Alternative Medicine

Witch Doctor by Felix42 contra la censura @ Flickr

Witch Doctor by Felix42 contra la censura @ Flickr

There is no such thing as alternative medicine. Test it against a placebo. If it works better than the placebo, it’s not alternative – if it doesn’t, it’s not medicine.

At its most basic, the heart of the matter really is that simple.

Think your herb tea cures your cold?

Test it against a placebo. If it works better than the placebo, it’s not alternative – if it doesn’t, it’s not medicine.

The United States federal government has spent $2.5 billion testing alternative medicines.

Ginko biloba helps your memory?

There is no such thing as alternative medicine. Test it against a placebo. If it works better than the placebo, it’s not alternative – if it doesn’t, it’s not medicine.

“Echinacea for colds. Ginkgo biloba for memory. Glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis. Black cohosh for menopausal hot flashes. Saw palmetto for prostate problems. Shark cartilage for cancer. All proved no better than dummy pills in big studies funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The lone exception: ginger capsules may help chemotherapy nausea.”

Shark cartilage cures cancer?

There is no such thing as alternative medicine. Test it against a placebo. If it works better than the placebo, it’s not alternative – if it doesn’t, it’s not medicine.

The board in charge of the testing was artificially loaded with proponents of “alternative medicine”, and still FAILed to find any evidence that these treatments worked any better than placebo.

“The bottom line is that NCCAM is an ideological, not a scientific organization. It exists to validate CAM, not to test whether it works or not. And when it doesn’t produce the results its boosters in the legislature, like Tom Harkin, want to see, there’s serious trouble.”

Guess what? There is no such thing as alternative medicine. Test it against a placebo. If it works better than the placebo, it’s not alternative – if it doesn’t, it’s not medicine.

Reiki? Still stupid, after all these years.

“Evidence—there isn’t any

Really, there isn’t. Every once in a while, I skim the literature to see what may be new regarding various cult medicine practices. There are dozens of pilot studies and case reports, which are basically useless, but most of the controlled trials have failed to show any benefit to reiki above that of placebo. (The pilot studies mostly evaluate the safety of reiki, which shouldn’t be in doubt given its inert nature.) For example, an article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (not exactly hostile ground for reiki) published a randomized controlled trial of reiki for fibromyalgia pain. The conclusions?

Neither Reiki nor touch improved the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Energy medicine modalities such as Reiki should be rigorously studied before being recommended to patients with chronic pain symptoms. (J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Nov;14(9):1115-22.)If reiki is so damned promising, it shouldn’t be all that hard to measure an effect.”

It’s not that hard. Really. There is no such thing as alternative medicine. Test it against a placebo. If it works better than the placebo, it’s not alternative – if it doesn’t, it’s not medicine.

Prayer?

“CONCLUSIONS: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.”

There is no such thing as alternative medicine. Test it against a placebo. If it works better than the placebo, it’s not alternative – if it doesn’t, it’s not medicine.

My Pop told me yesterday that he’s being sent to a doctor in Greenville to address his busted eardrum/balance issues. …with crystals.

Using crystals to adjust your balance?

Now everybody repeat after me:

There is no such thing as alternative medicine. Test it against a placebo. If it works better than the placebo, it’s not alternative – if it doesn’t, it’s not medicine.

From whence came the art:

That image is titled Witch Doctor, by Felix42 contra la censura, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

4 Responses to “There Is No Such Thing As Alternative Medicine”

  1. Rystefn Says:

    Poor Reiki… It doesn’t work and it’s not even cool like acupuncture.


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