n. any of various medical methods and practices used in place of, or as well as, conventional medicine
n. the practice of medicine without the use of drugs; may involve herbal medicines or self-awareness or biofeedback or acupuncture
Alternative medicine is any practice that is put forward as having the healing effects of medicine, but does not originate from evidence gathered using the scientific method, is not part of biomedicine, or is contradicted by scientific evidence or established science. It consists of a wide variety of health care practices, products and therapies, ranging from being biologically plausible but not well tested, to being directly contradicted by evidence and science, or even harmful or toxic. Examples include new and traditional medicine practices such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, energy medicine, various forms of acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, Sekkotsu, and Christian faith healing. The treatments are those that are not part of the science-based healthcare system, and are not clearly backed by scientific evidence. Despite significant expenditures on testing alternative medicine, including $2.5 billion spent by the United States government, almost none have shown any effectiveness greater than that of false treatments ( placebo), and alternative medicine has been criticized by prominent figures in science and medicine as being quackery, nonsense, fraudulent, or unethical.
Complementary medicine is alternative medicine used together with conventional medical treatment, in a belief not confirmed using the scientific method that it "complements" (improves the efficacy of) the treatment. CAM is the abbreviation for complementary and alternative medicine. Integrative medicine (or integrative health) is the combination of the practices and methods of alternative medicine with conventional medicine.
Alternative medical diagnoses and treatments are not included as science-based treatments that are taught in medical schools, and are not used in medical practice where treatments are based on what is established using the scientific method. Alternative therapies lack such scientific validation, and their effectiveness is either unproved or disproved or impossible to prove. Alternative medicine is usually based on religion, tradition, superstition, belief in supernatural energies, pseudoscience, errors in reasoning, propaganda, or fraud. Regulation and licensing of alternative medicine and health care providers varies from country to country, and state to state.
The scientific community has criticized alternative medicine as being based on misleading statements, quackery, pseudoscience, antiscience, fraud, or poor scientific methodology. Promoting alternative medicine has been called dangerous and unethical. Testing alternative medicine has been called a waste of scarce medical research resources. Critics have said "there is really no such thing as alternative medicine, just medicine that works and medicine that doesn't", and "Can there be any reasonable 'alternative' [to medicine based on evidence]?"
Usage examples of "alternative medicine".
Whatever the British Medical Association would like to say about alternative medicine, healing does, in fact, work.
The landlord operated out of a storefront in Chinatown, between a market that was running a special on ducks' feet and an alternative medicine joint that promised health, well-being, and spiritual balance or your money back.
The midwife tried alternative medicine -- with no bet -- ter result.
In my day I was known as something of an apostle of alternative medicine.
Shelly had joined them under the impression they were some sort of poetry society, but she'd confided to me almost at once that they seemed more interested in what was known in the publishing trade as New Age topicsmysticism, astrology, spiritualism, and alternative medicine.