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During my continuing education about so-called "complementary and alternative" medicine one question presents itself in my mind over and over: Isn't that fraud? Well, is it?

And by "CAM," I mean ...

The book Snake Oil Science, by R. Barker Bausell, defines "Complementary and Alternative" therapies as "physical, mental, chemical, or psychic interventions ... practiced in the absence of both

scientific evidence proving their effectiveness and

a plausible biological explanation for why they should be effective,

and their practice continues unabated even after

...there is scientific evidence that they are ineffective and

...their biological basis is discredited."



•Is "CAM" Fraud?

We all know it is. But I have had accupuncture a few times in my life and enjoyed the process, I left it feeling a little better about things. I could see how one of these processes could help, for instance, a cancer patient, reduce stress and stay positive about their other sometimes dehumanizing treatments.

Its sort of like going to the doctor and then going somewhere else to get some bedside manner...

That, said, their good can all be easily outweighed by a simple belief that the Alternative to medicine is the thing doing the healing.

There are a whole host of difficult questions, in my mind anyway. How do you safeguard against unfounded claims, how much is the treatment worth, etc etc

Over here, the justifications the NHS gives for permitting CAM are as follows; first there is a limited public demand for it, second CAM tends to be both cheap and have an analgesic effect. There need not be any suggestion that this is anything other than the placebo effect, but the thought is that it is better than hypocondriacs seek their placebos through the state health care system on the cheap than paying money to go overseas for it.

I'm not sure I'm convinced (in fact, I'm thoroughly unconvinced) but I thought it was worth my recounting.

Thanks for linking to Burdr! :)


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