Alternative Medicine

Therapies shown to be safe and effective:

* Acupuncture relieved pain and chemotherapy-induced nausea

* Mindfulness meditation reduced stress and pain

* Tai chi improved balance in patients with Parkinson’s disease

* Clinical hypnosis reduced post-menopausal hot flashes

Approaches proved not to be effective:

* St. John’s wort supplements did not relieve depression.

* Gingko biloba did not slow mental decline, improve memory or reduce blood pressure.

* Echinacea did not prevent or treat colds.

Approaches proved not to be safe:

* Ephedra was found to be associated with heart attacks and death.

* Certain supplements that claim to help patients lose weight, build muscle and improve their sexual performance have been found to be contaminated and unsafe.

Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

From USA Today.

Comments (12)

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  1. JD says:

    The uncertainty in effectiveness of treatments is reason enough to let people have more freedom over their health care choices.

    • JD says:

      People need a variety of options so that they can decide what risks they are willing to take as opposed to being toward a certain treatment that eventually is proved to be dangerous.

      People who are desperate (like have terminal illnesses) should be allowed to try “experimental” treatments.

      • Samuel says:

        Yeah, well, especially coming from alternative medicine often in the form of supplements, the risks aren’t really high. So, it’s important to give that freedom of choice to people.

        • JD says:

          What do you think about the idea of letting dying people participate in less proven treatments? If you knew you were going to die, why not?

          • Samuel says:

            I think they should have every right to participate in alternative medicine if they so choose to do so. There are several accounts out there that these types of treatments have saved people’s lives in ways most medical doctors don’t understand or want to admit.

            • Serrapeptase says:

              Serrapeptase is a naturally occurring enzyme that has shown proven results in treating a number of health concerns and ailments.

  2. Tim says:

    “Gingko biloba did not slow mental decline, improve memory or reduce blood pressure.”

    Hmmm, my mother takes this and says it helps but I wonder how certain this study is about its effectiveness.

  3. Samuel says:

    * Echinacea did not prevent or treat colds.

    Really? I like to take Echinacea to boost my immune system. Now I am not sure, but as long as I feel some benefits…

  4. Devon Herrick says:

    Certain supplements that claim to help patients lose weight, build muscle and improve their sexual performance have been found to be contaminated and unsafe.

    This interpretation is somewhat amusing. The supplements for erectile dysfunction that have been found to be contaminated are generally adulterated with sildenafil citrate. Sildenafil is an unauthorized generic version of the active ingredient in Viagra. I suspect this information encourages buyers rather than scare them away.

  5. Randall says:

    There is so much out there both at the pharmacy and online. Means so much to test and some things work for you and others don’t. We are all the independent testers of all that claims to have a positive function in our lives.

  6. Jim says:

    “Certain supplements that claim to help patients lose weight, build muscle and improve their sexual performance have been found to be contaminated and unsafe.”

    -Gotta be careful what you place in your body!

  7. Chris says:

    >Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

    Oh I’m sure they don’t have a horse in the race do they?

    How was this study done, double blind with a control group? Lots of studies have shown the placebo effect is a real objectively quantifiable phenomenon, any scientific study in healthcare has to take that into account which is why, for instance, with medications one group is given a sugar pill, the other the real drug. How do you handle that when testing acupuncture? Have the patient close their eyes and press on their skin, but do not insert a needle? What methodology was used? Did they do patient surveys? Were the patients randomly selected from random people on the street, or from existing patients who have, on their own, sought out these alternative treatments (exhibiting a preexisting bias)?

    I’m not saying there is no benefit to acupuncture, I’m saying this study is likely shit.