Manipulative and body-based methods, and Energy therapies.
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.
Unlike medicine, [n 4] an alternative product or practice does not originate from using scientific methods, but may instead be based on hearsayreligiontradition, superstitionbelief in supernatural energies, pseudoscienceerrors in reasoningpropagandafraudor other unscientific sources.
The meaning of the term "alternative" in the expression "alternative medicine", is not that it is an effective alternative to medical sciencealthough some alternative medicine promoters may use the loose terminology to give the appearance of effectiveness.
Allopathic 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. It was used to describe the traditional European practice of heroic medicine but later continued to be used to describe anything that was not homeopathy.
The meaning implied by the label has never been accepted by conventional medicine and is considered pejorative. Due to its many names the field has been criticized for intense rebranding of what are essentially the same practices: Traditional medicine 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.
Holistic medicine[ edit ] The words balance and holism are often used alongside complementary or integrative medicine, 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.
Eisenberg,  characterized alternative medicine "as interventions neither taught widely in medical schools nor generally available in US hospitals".
It is time for the scientific community to stop giving alternative medicine a free ride. 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.
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.
Sundhedsstyrelsenuses 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.
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. Unscientific belief systems[ edit ] Alternative medicine, such as using naturopathy or homeopathy in place of conventional medicineis based on belief systems not grounded in science.For example, the United States National Institutes of Health department studying alternative medicine, currently named National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, was established as the Office of Alternative Medicine and was renamed the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine before obtaining its current name.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the American Public. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US) ; In December , the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the National Center for Health Statistics (part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released new findings on Americans' use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States Introduction While relatively new in the U.S., complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a. Comprehensive and reliable findings on Americans' use of complementary and alternative medicine, released in December This fact sheet contains statistical highlights and a link to the full The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States | .
The survey included questions on 36 types of CAM therapies commonly used in the United States practitioner-based therapies, such as acupuncture, and 26 other self-care therapies that do not require a provider, such as natural products.