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What is Alternative Medicine?
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Whatever it is, PalMD doesn't have very nice things to say about it.

When someone offers you an "alternative therapy", ask them what it is an alternative to. Does it work better that something else? Is it safer? How do you know? Why should I believe you?

All good questions.

Mainstream medicine is any medicine that works--the problem is the definition of "works". Medical science has fairly stringent standards of evidence. A medicine or treatment is subjected to statistically valid trials, preferably randomized controlled trials, that can be replicated and similar results obtained. They are also proven safe, meaning the risk/benefit ratio is acceptable by some (often arbitrary) standard.

Yep. For example, this double-blind study on acupuncture just came out, reporting that "sham" acupuncture (i.e. people who had no training in acupuncture pretending to perform it) actually relieved pain better than supposed acupuncture specialists.

More from PalMD:

You sound angry...are you angry?

Yes. Very angry. The more time people spend seeking "alternatives" to proven medical science, the less healthy they will be. I have devoted my life to preventing and treating disease, and thanks to modern science, I do it well. It pisses me off to see people seduced by purveyors of woo. So, yes, I'm angry. When you see advertisements for "altie" cures, chiropractors, and homeopaths, you should be angry too.

The whole thing is worth a read.

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