How much do you know about alternative medicine?



9 Questions

What is the main factor that gives rise to the perceived effect of alternative medicine?

Which of the following is a reason why alternative medicine is criticized for taking advantage of the least fortunate members of society?

What is the most common reason for using complementary and alternative medicine in the US?

What is the primary factor that distinguishes alternative medicine from conventional medicine?

What is the most common complementary and alternative therapy used in the US?

What is the main reason for the rise of alternative medicine in the West?

What is the main criticism of alternative medicine research?

What is the most common complementary and alternative therapy used in Britain?

What is the World Health Organization's recommendation for the use of alternative medicine?


Overview of Alternative Medicine

  • Alternative medicine lacks biological plausibility, testability, repeatability, or evidence from clinical trials.

  • Alternative therapies do not originate from using the scientific method, but instead rely on testimonials, anecdotes, religion, tradition, superstition, belief in supernatural "energies", pseudoscience, errors in reasoning, propaganda, fraud, or other unscientific sources.

  • The perceived effect of an alternative practice arises from a belief that it will be effective (the placebo effect) or from the treated condition resolving on its own (the natural course of disease).

  • Alternative medicine is a highly profitable industry with a strong lobby, and faces far less regulation over the use and marketing of unproven treatments.

  • Complementary medicine (CM), complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integrated medicine or integrative medicine (IM), and holistic medicine attempt to combine alternative practices with those of mainstream medicine.

  • Traditional medicine practices become "alternative" when used outside their original settings and without proper scientific explanation and evidence.

  • Alternative methods are often marketed as more "natural" or "holistic" than methods offered by medical science, that is sometimes derogatorily called "Big Pharma" by supporters of alternative medicine.

  • Alternative medicine consists of a wide range of health care practices, products, and therapies that claim to heal but are not based on the scientific method.

  • Alternative medical systems may be based on traditional medicine practices, such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurveda in India, or practices of other cultures around the world.

  • Substance based practices use substances found in nature such as herbs, foods, non-vitamin supplements and megavitamins, animal and fungal products, and minerals.

  • Alternative medicine has a classification system for branches of complementary and alternative medicine that divides them into five major groups, including two types of energy medicine.

  • The history of alternative medicine refers to the history of a group of diverse medical practices that were collectively promoted as "alternative medicine" beginning in the 1970s.Overview of Alternative Medicine: Trends, Criticisms, Efficacy, and Use

  • Alternative medicine rose in popularity in the West following the counterculture movement of the 1960s and the new age movement of the 1970s.

  • The American Medical Association abolished its quackery committee and closed down its Department of Investigation in 1975, which led to the rise of mass marketing of "alternative medicine" as a collection of "natural" and effective treatment "alternatives" to science-based biomedicine.

  • Medical education in the US has generally not included alternative medicine as a teaching topic, and medical schools' teaching is based on current practice and scientific knowledge.

  • There is a general scientific consensus that alternative therapies lack the requisite scientific validation, and their effectiveness is either unproved or disproved. Many of the claims regarding the efficacy of alternative medicines are controversial, and research on them is frequently of low quality and methodologically flawed.

  • Alternative therapies do not complement functional medical treatment and may negatively impact it by making prescription drugs less effective.

  • Alternative therapies may be credited for improving a patient's condition even though the objective effect is non-existent or harmful.

  • Practitioners of complementary medicine usually discuss and advise patients as to available alternative therapies, and patients often express interest in mind-body complementary therapies because they offer a non-drug approach to treating some health conditions.

  • Alternative medicine is a profitable industry with large media advertising expenditures, and the popularity of complementary & alternative medicine (CAM) may be related to other factors such as psychological effects, socioeconomic factors, and marketing.

  • Patients may seek alternative medicine due to a lack of access to contemporary medicine, averse to the painful, unpleasant, and sometimes-dangerous side effects of biomedical treatments, or for moral convictions or lifestyle choices.

  • Traditional remedies, often closely resembling or forming the basis for alternative remedies, may comprise primary healthcare or be integrated into the healthcare system in developing nations and Latin America.

  • Critics have proposed adopting a prize system to incentivize the development of alternative therapies.

  • Alternative medicine is criticized for taking advantage of the least fortunate members of society, and many patients lack access to contemporary medicine due to a lack of private or public health insurance.Overview of Alternative Medicine: Use, Regulation, and Risks

  • Alternative medicine is a form of medical practice that is not based on scientific evidence and includes techniques such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and herbal remedies.

  • The use of alternative medicine has been on the rise in countries where Western science is accepted as the major foundation for healthcare, with 52% of medical specialists accepting and 45% using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

  • In the US, 36% of adults use some form of CAM, with women being more likely than men to use it, and most people using it to treat musculoskeletal or chronic pain conditions.

  • The most common CAM therapies used in the US are prayer, herbalism, and breathing meditation, while in Britain the most commonly used therapies are aromatherapy, homeopathy, and massage.

  • CAM is often used in palliative care and is considered more acceptable in interdisciplinary approaches to end-of-life care.

  • The regulation of alternative medicine varies widely from country to country, with some professions such as chiropractic being fully regulated in North America and others having no regulation at all.

  • Alternative medicine may lead to negative outcomes, including dangerous interactions with conventional pharmaceuticals, side effects, treatment delay, and unconventional cancer "cures".

  • Alternative medicine may also lead to a false understanding of the body and science, and is often not subject to the same rigorous testing as conventional medicine.Criticism of Alternative Medicine

  • Alternative medicine is not always supported by scientific evidence and has been criticized for diverting resources from more productive research.

  • Alternative medicine is often less regulated than conventional medicine, raising ethical concerns about whether practitioners have the necessary knowledge to treat patients.

  • Marketing and propaganda methods are often used in alternative medicine, leading some to compare it to pseudoscience.

  • Some have argued that conflicts of interest are more prevalent in alternative medicine research, as researchers may be biased towards their chosen subject.

  • Research into alternative therapies has been accused of diverting resources from more productive lines of investigation.

  • The low standard of evidence accepted by the alternative medicine community has been criticized for potentially putting patients at risk.

  • The US National Institute of Health has spent $2.5 billion investigating alternative therapies, with none found to be effective.

  • Alternative medicine has been described as an "ethics-free zone" by some critics.

  • Propaganda methods used in alternative medicine have been compared to those used by Hitler and Goebbels.

  • Alternative medicine practitioners may have more to lose if their treatments are rejected by research than disinterested scientists.

  • Some have called for greater regulation and more rigorous scientific testing of alternative medicine.

  • The World Health Organization advises caution in the use of alternative medicine and recommends that it be used only in conjunction with conventional medicine.


Test your knowledge on alternative medicine with this informative quiz! From its history to its criticisms, this quiz covers a wide range of topics related to alternative medicine. Learn about the different types of alternative therapies, their effectiveness, and the potential risks involved. Explore the rise in popularity of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and the controversies surrounding its use and regulation. Whether you're a skeptic or a believer, this quiz is sure to provide valuable insights into the world of alternative medicine.

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