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Biased Criticism about Complementary Medicine

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Article by Friends of Holistic Health Group

Friends of Holistic Health - Editor's answers and comments in regards to:

Biased Criticism of 'Complementary and Alternative’ medicine (CAM)

A minority within the public health system voices some general Criticism of 'Complementary and Alternative’ medicine (CAM) such as the following:

1.     CAM has not been subjected to scientific testing, and often violates, rather than supports, the health of many.
Editors Comment:
Statements such as these are too general to warrant a specific answer.
How do we violate or compromise a patient’s health?
Which specific form of CAM is in question?
And how are we able to police those claims if no specifics are mentioned.

However, CAM, if practiced as intended will not compromise a patient’s health.

Qualified accredited CAM practitioners are strongly against fraudulent so-called natural treatments that are practiced by unqualified or rouge practitioners.

Fraudulent treatments, false claims, over charging or betraying a patient’s trust, is not limited to the Natural Therapies, unfortunately we see this within the medical system, and indeed in any other profession as well.

2.    Other statements such as: “Modern healthcare is underpinned by good science”.

Editors Comment:
This may indicate that good science is all what is needed.  As much as I agree with above statement, as much I can see where the present state of science is failing human health.

A Doctor’s advice relates to a scientific diagnosis, complete with scientific tests, which may return as negative. That does not mean that the patient is in perfect health, quiet to the contrary. The patient may still be suffering, but the medical practitioner  will not be able to prescribe a treatment for something which scientifically does not exist.

This situation, where a medical practitioner is more or less forced to wait till a disease can be diagnosed before treating, presents as a failure of care.

Note: Interestingly enough, many patients in such a situation will consult a Naturopath or similar CAM practitioner.

Note: CAM practitioners believe in preventative treatment and lifestyle modification, aiming to stop the yet undiagnosed disease to develop.

Note: CAM practitioners do know that general practitioners do not have the time for a 1 hour consultation to consult a patient about lifestyle modification, such as nutrition, exercise, sleep habits, eating habits, stress amelioration and more.

3.    CAM practitioners are not well enough educated or the education is not scientifically based and therefore should not be taught at Universities, as well as describing Natural Therapies as pseudoscience.

Editors Comment:
Again a very general statement. It may be true, that parts of Natural Therapies fail to provide sound scientific evidence.
However, the important bulk of the studies are scientific. The general public may not know, that by example, Naturopaths have to study subjects such as: Anatomy and Physiology – Disease States – Differential Diagnosis – Bio Chemistry – Nutrition, just to name a few. Those studies are absolute necessary to have the base knowledge to ascertain how to apply some of the natural type treatments. A massage therapist probably knows the insertion and origins of muscles and ligaments better than a general practitioner. A Herbalist will be able to make the right judgement, based on the knowledge of Bio Chemistry and Pharmacology, in the obvious addition to the knowledge of herbal constituents, what herbal mix to give to a patient.

Note: A herb prescribed has usually no side effects, whereas the same herb or the constituents there of, which are used to synthetically derive a drug from, will have side effects.

Note: Not all treatments needs a scientific base. Some treatments are given, because it is just common sense, logic. We don’t need science to explain that someone is overweight, and that diet, exercise and attitudes towards food should be modified.

Is it correct science if the medical treatment advices; “lap band surgery”?

4.     Unfortunately we even found statements on the internet such as: "Covert attempts to deceive the public".
Editors Comment:
Statement such as these are not helping, as mentioned before, sadly there are people within our community which may be accused of that, however, similar to medical practitioners, CAM practitioners are dedicated to help patients achieve better health.

5.     Criticism often centres around the idea that treatments are based on giving a “medicine’ such as a supplement, and the claims that those supplements are not scientifically verified.
Editors Comment:
Interestingly this is as far from the truth as one can get. Esp; in the last 20 years the scientific advances into biochemistry has brought on a whole new influx of valuable scientific data regarding the use of supplementation.

Editors Comment relating to Self-Regulation:

There certainly is some valid criticism within the wider community; which needs to be addresses, unfortunately it is hard to police or follow up, esp. if it is not specific.

There is a possible role for Associations to police and withdraw accreditation if an accredited practitioner is found to be claiming cures or acts in a fraudulent manner.


useNature.com and “Friends of Holistic Health was established in late 1999 by Dieter Luske, Holistic Naturopath.

Australia has seen an increase in the use of ‘complementary and alternative medicines’ (CAMs), at considerable benefit to the public and to the wider health care community.

Despite the increase in popularity and the ever-increasing scientific research backing up natural based science, some general criticism against CAM still exists and therefore prevents the full integration within the wider medical establishment.


Kind Regards, Article by Dieter Luske


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13 Jul 2013

Last Update: 24 Sep 2015

Article/Information supplied by Friends of Holistic Health Group

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.

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