Since I have a master’s and doctoral degree in health education and since I’m a professor in a department of public health with an undergraduate curriculum that includes substantial attention to health education, I participate in the email discussion group of . On August 16th, I received a message to the discussion group from the inviting participants to complete an online survey from the Joint Committee on Health Education and Promotion Terminology with results to be analyzed at the Committee’s meeting in September 2011.
The survey items include various terms used by health educators, the currently approved terminology, and three choices followed by a type-in box:
- This term should remain as defined
- This term should remain in the report but modified in definition
- This term is no longer commonly used in health education/health promotion literature
If modify, please provide the suggested wording and reference for that definition if you are citing it from a specific source.
For one of the terms, my preferred response would have be have been a fourth choice that was not offered: The term is commonly used in health education/health promotion and elsewhere, but it should not be used because its use only serves to distort our thought processes and promote quackery.
Here is the term along with the definition presented in the survey:
Complementary and Alternative Health Practices: These practices generally include natural substances, physical manipulations, and self-care modalities. These approaches often incorporate aspects of interventions derived from traditional practices. The approach in Western societies has been to select specific approaches from these systems and apply them to health maintenance, health enhancement, or disease management. Such approaches can be used to compliment[sic] conventional allopathic care (complementary therapy), or as an alternative to conventional approaches (alternative therapy). Many of these complementary and alternative approaches have not been validated through experiential research, but those that have, such as acupuncture for pain, are being integrated into conventional health practices (integrative medicine).
And here are my objections to the term and to the definition given:
“Complementary and alternative health practices” is marketing that conceals how promoting (via advertising, publicity, direct selling, word-of-mouth, etc.) non-validated or invalidated practices is unethical. When a practice is science-based, it is simply part of good healthcare or health promotion. “Complementary and alternative” jargon is never necessary to describe validated practices in health promotion or health care delivery. Science-based uses of natural substances, physical manipulations, and self-care modalities are all part of regular medicine.
Science-based natural products medicine is called pharmacognosy. Labels like “complementary and alternative” are used to give the impression of legitimacy, not to pharmacognosy, but to superstitious and often ecologically destructive uses of natural products such as herbalism (particularly ), , , and .
Physical manipulations with a rational basis such as many of those included in personal exercise programs and physical therapy do not require euphemistic labels such as “complementary” or “alternative.” However, the labels “complementary” or “alternative” are often applied to give the appearance of legitimacy to superstition-based or pseudoscience-based physical manipulation treatments such as those used in chiropractic. Many chiropractors falsely claim that the spine requires periodic maintenance “adjustments” of health compromising that only chiropractors can supposedly detect. Such adjustments don’t complement anything else and they aren’t a viable alternative for health promotion or disease prevention.
Many of the manipulations promoted as “complementary” or “alternative” are actually non-physical; they are rooted in vitalism, which is defined as: “” Different have different for the supposed vital principle. In anthroposophy, the names are the divine element in nature, astral body, formative force, or either body. In Ayurvedic medicine, it’s prana. In chiropractic, it’s innate intelligence. In Reichian psychotherapy, it’s orgone energy. In homeopathy, it’s vital energy. In naturopathy, it’s vis medicatrix naturae. In Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, it’s chi or qi or ki.
The vital principle was in Star Wars as “the force.” But in the real universe, nothing like “the force” is reliably detectable and there are no Jedi-like masters who can manipulate anything akin to it for healing or any other purposes. In the movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, the vital principle was called . The idea that some people have skills as mojo detectors or mojo manipulators is as absurd as the movie, but “.”
Self-care modalities have been promoted as “complementary” and “alternative,” but what useful distinction is there to be made between supposed “complementary” or “alternative” self-care modalities and those that don’t qualify and are therefore implicitly non-complementary or non-alternative? If the distinction is to be based on validation for safety and efficacy, why introduce euphemistic language like “complementary” or “alternative”? Categories such as validated, non-validated, and invalidated should suffice to give consumers useful information for deciding what modalities of self-care are worth trying out.
It’s true that many tradition-based practices are promoted as “complementary” or “alternative.” Scholars who attempt to advance “complementary and alternative medicine” often Since it is often considered rude to be judgmental about traditions associated with particular cultures, are useful in public relations. But numerous practices, products, and services marketed to consumers as “complementary” or “alternative” are promoted as “innovative,” “advanced,” “cutting edge,” “modern,” “scientific,” and the like, not as tradition-based. Examples include such so-called complementary and alternative medicine approaches (sCAMs) as , , , , , , , , , , and
Referring to the selection of specific approaches from traditional systems in Western societies as “complementary” or “alternative” implies an East-West dichotomy that is simply false. Tradition-based systems and supposed whole-system care are not uniquely Eastern. Is it only in Western societies that approaches from traditional systems get used separately from whole-system care?
Medical anthropologists, medical sociologists, educated laypersons, health educators, and even physicians often make the mistake of describing standard medical practices of today and recent decades as “conventional allopathic care.” Allopathy is a term coined by as a label for medical practices of his day that were based upon ancient Greek humoral theory of disease such as bleeding and purging and blistering to manipulate the four so-called body humors: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile. As medicine became more science-based, it discarded treatment based upon the convention of manipulating body humors and progressed by developing healthcare consistent with progress in biological and physical sciences. Nevertheless, approaches to healthcare based upon humoral theory—what Hahnemann called allopathy—persist today in parts of India, Pakistan and elsewhere as Unani medicine, which, ironically, Unani is an Arabic adjective meaning Greek.
Since modern medicine makes progress by relying on science, it is iconoclastic—the antithesis of conventional. By contrast, the real allopathy practiced today as Unani medicine is bound to its ancient conventions. Like much of what gets promoted as “complementary” and “alternative,” Unani medicine reflects conventional wisdom of healing traditions rather than the rigor of scientific testing and the iconoclasm of scientific discovery.
I have that calling an approach to healthcare “complementary” implies that it adds to the outcome when combined with some other treatment and that calling an approach to healthcare “alternative” implies that it can be successfully used in lieu of some other approach. However, this is misleading labeling. Simply calling an approach “complementary” doesn’t mean it actually complements anything else and calling an approach “alternative” doesn’t make it a viable alternative. The jargon “complementary and alternative” serves to distract attention away from questions of utility based upon scientific merit.
Professor Richard Dawkins : “Either it is true that a medicine works or it isn’t. It cannot be false in the ordinary sense but true in some ‘alternative’ sense.”
Drs. John E. Dodes and Marvin Schissel put it : “Erythromycin is an alternative to penicillin, but a pogo stick is not an alternative to an automobile.”
Drs. Marcia Angell and Jerome Kassirer : “There cannot be two kinds of medicine—conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work.”
Dr. George Lundberg :
There is no “alternative medicine.” There is only medicine:
- Medicine that has been tested and found to be safe and effective. Use it; pay for it.
- And, medicine that has been tested and found to be unsafe or ineffective. Don’t use it; don’t pay for it.
- And, medicine for which there is some plausible reason to believe that it might be safe and effective. Test it and then place it into one of the other two categories.
Although many people believe that acupuncture for pain is medicine that fits Dr. Lundberg’s first category, places it in the second category, especially considering the as a therapy. Few, if any, health practices that have been promoted as “complementary” and “alternative” also belong in Dr. Lundberg’s first category. More than ten years of research funding by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine .
The term integrative medicine is superfluous and should not be used by responsible health professionals. Palliative care and adjunctive care are meaningful and useful terms for efforts to provide rational modalities of humane care, comfort, and support addressing the diverse needs of patients. The term “integrative medicine” adds nothing to describe approaches strongly supported by scientific evidence, but serves as an income-generating mechanism for attracting patients to seemingly special modalities that typically lack support beyond cherry-picked evidence or tradition. The term “integrative medicine” is not needed to offer science-based psychological approaches for managing health problems, but it does help in marketing when you are offering modalities based on vitalism. “Integrative medicine” represents , not a meaningful medical specialty. It projects a misleading image of academic seriousness that serves
Terms such as “alternative,” “complementary,” and “integrative” have become popular euphemisms for non-validated and invalidated approaches to health enhancement—especially approaches with farfetched rationales. The use of such euphemisms facilitates quackery: the promotion of health products, services, or practices of questionable safety, effectiveness, or validity for an intended purpose. . In some circles, it is politically incorrect to refer to quackery. But if we cannot refer to quackery as quackery, we can expect . I suggest that there are better alternatives to using currently popular euphemisms of alt-speak.
William M. London is a in the and in the in the at California State University, Los Angeles. He co-authored the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth (in press) editions of the college textbook . Since 2002, he has been associate editor of the free weekly e-newsletter . Since 2005, he has been co-host of the web site. He tweets as .
<!–<!–(1) HEDIR, the Health Education Directory
(2) American Association for Health Education
(5) gruesome extractions of bile from living bears
(6) shark cartilage
(7) rhinoceros horns
(9) a doctrine that the functions of a living organism are due to a vital principle distinct from physicochemical forces” or “a doctrine that the processes of life are not explicable by the laws of physics and chemistry alone….
(10) health cults
(14) there are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them
(15) like to emphasize traditional systems of care and ignore other practices marketed as “complementary and alternative.”
(16) fallacious appeals to traditional wisdom
(17) metabolic therapy
(18) chelation therapy
(19) oxygenation treatments
(20) insulin potentiation therapy
(21) clinical ecology
(22) anti-aging medicine
(23) attachment therapy
(24) various other mental health therapies
(26) cellular therapy
(27) syncrometers & zappers.
(28) Samuel Hahnemann (formulator of homeopathic treatment principles)
(29) the World Health Organization recognizes as a type of “CAM.”
(30) previously explained
(31) has explained
(32) this way
(34) explains it this way
(35) the weight of evidence
(36) lack of a plausible rationale for acupuncture
(37) has failed to contribute to medical progress
(39) only to obscure its hype and help secure funding for clinical research of dubious need.
(40) Today quackery is a far less popular term than the euphemisms
(41) it to persist as a neglected public health scandal
(43) Honors College
(44) Department of Public Health
(45) College of Health and Human Services
(46) Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions
(47) Consumer Health Digest
(48) Credential Watch
Incoming Post Search Feeds:
techno fruhstuck correspondence heart beat
Dr biochemistry gmail edu
NASA comet ison update
nasa nibiru 10 11 2013
Modern marvels regenerative medicine
petru aurelian simionescu 2013
futurists physical therapy
liberty generator tube
- How To Give Medicine To Your Dog - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Traditional Medicine 1-Nollywood Movie - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Ganda Boys - "Laughter is Medicine" (aka Ganda Foundation address, 7.3.14) - Video - May 27th, 2014
- INTELLIGENT HEALTH & PREVENTIVE MEDICINE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM (IPMIS) - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Medicine Heist - GTA V Short Film - Video - May 27th, 2014
- (REVIEW) Married to Medicine | Season 2: Ep. 8 | Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner (RECAP) - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Married to Medicine Season 2 Episode 8 Part 1 - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Watch Married to Medicine Season 2 Episode 8 - Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner? HD Online||Quad's - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Married To Medicine Season 2 Review - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Old Crow Medicine Show - Dearly Departed Friend - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Laughter is the best medicine 6 - Video - May 27th, 2014
- The Mind Body Connection, Integratve Medicine, Endocrinolgy & Metabolism - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Medicine Man - James Aron Gray - (Minimal Techno Deep Tribal) - Video - May 27th, 2014
- sansa & petyr [au] - medicine - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Herbal Veterinary Medicine Part 1(Kannada) - - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Married to Medicine Season 2 Episode 8 Guess Who's Not Coming To Dinner? Se2 Ep8 S02x08 part 1 - Video - May 27th, 2014
- Nonprescription Nexium heartburn medicine launches - May 27th, 2014
- The next revolution in cancer treatment - May 27th, 2014
- Medicine Wheel celebrated at Lusscroft Farm - May 27th, 2014
- Sex-Specific Changes in Cerebral Blood Flow Begin at Puberty - May 27th, 2014
- Precision Diagnostics for Personalized Medicine - Video - May 25th, 2014
- Cheapest MD PG PHD in Medicine in China - Video - May 25th, 2014
- Cancer avatars for personalized medicine - Video - May 25th, 2014
- Dr. Victoria Sharma, Neurology & Sleep Medicine - Video - May 25th, 2014
- Naturopathic Medicine Invigorates your Natural Ability for your Body to Heal in Sarasota, FL - Video - May 25th, 2014
- Virtual Heart: How Engineering Is Helping Medicine | 23 May 2014 - Video - May 25th, 2014
- Eli and Clare - Medicine - Video - May 25th, 2014
- Traditional Chinese Medicine to be accepted in healthcare system in UK - Video - May 25th, 2014
- The Last of Us Playthrough Part 53 Joel's Medicine / Tracked Playthrough / Walkthrough - Video - May 25th, 2014
- Sacramento Zoo Mourns Loss of Father of Zoological Medicine - May 25th, 2014
- Stephen Montgomery - Stanford Medicine Big Data Interview - Video - May 24th, 2014
- Hank Greely - Stanford Medicine Big Data Interview - Video - May 24th, 2014
- Homes for Sale - 2740 Medicine Ridge Road, Plymouth, MN 55441 - Video - May 24th, 2014
- SEHU KHEPERA ANKH ANCIENT EGYPTIAN MEDICINE PART 1 - Video - May 24th, 2014
- Angel Chat #53 - Naturopathic Medicine VS Western Allopathic Medicine - Video - May 24th, 2014
- Professor Dr BM Hegde on Alternative Medicine Part 1 - Video - May 24th, 2014
- ReMed Natural Medicine Clinic - Video - May 24th, 2014
- "My Medicine" - The Pretty Reckless in Little Rock - Video - May 24th, 2014
- Duke Medicine Profiles: Hope E. Uronis, MD, MHS - Video - May 24th, 2014
- New HIV-AIDS Experimental "Energy Medicine" - Video - May 24th, 2014
- Medicine Bag's New Release..... Do U Juana - Video - May 24th, 2014
- HAPPY - MU - Minia University - Faculty Of Medicine - - Video - May 24th, 2014
- Fish 'medicine' to be given on June 8 | Studio N - Video - May 24th, 2014
- Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for Menstrual Pain - Video - May 24th, 2014
- DayZ Standalone (Taste of My Own Medicine) - Video - May 24th, 2014
- Assessment of triage patients on the acute medicine unit at NInewells Hospital - Video - May 24th, 2014
- Married To Medicine | Season 1 Episode 2 | Mistress of Medicine - Video - May 24th, 2014
- Jo Stanley - May 24th, 2014
- Brand New 2014 GMC Terrain SLT for sale in Medicine Hat - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Great Medicine, but Nobody's Getting Rich - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- UW|360 May 2014 - UW Medicine Montana TRUST - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Married to Medicine Season 2 Episode 7 Review - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Meet Omar, Translational Medicine Leader at Roche - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Triple Lutz Report--Medicare Raises Costs Of Medicine And Fracking Coming To Mexico--Episode 349 - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Married to Medicine Season 2 Episode 7 Part 3 - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Neuroscience Daniel Medicine Kraft and Introduction to - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Traditional Medicine part 1 latest Nigerian Nollywood Movie - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Traditional Medicine 2 Nigerian Nollywood Movie 2014 - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Minecraft Xbox Medicine Mania 1964 - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- My own medicine - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- FORENSIC MEDICINE - Mosa Plays: The Wolf Among Us (Episode 1 - Part 2) - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Smartphones Changing the Future of Medicine! - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- The Pretty Reckless My Medicine (DJ Padzer Remix) - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Joel Dudley : Assistant Professor of Genetics & Genomics, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- Stanford Medicine X Live! Designing For the Physical Environment - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- How to Get Your Cat to Take It's Medicine by Dr. Sara Pizano - Video - May 23rd, 2014
- DJ Liquid & DJ Shortcut - Hip Hop Medicine - Vol. 4 - Thrust - Do You Understand - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- DJ Liquid & DJ Shortcut - Hip Hop Medicine - Vol.4 - Citizen Kane - Blackrain - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- Holistic Doctor Southfield MI - Cutler Integrative Medicine - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- stampylongnose minecraft - Medicine Mania  - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- 2014 University of Buffalo Commencement Address School of Dental Medicine Dr. Steven A. Guttenberg - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- american medicine - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- Alternative Medicine Works! So Here's A Way To Get Health Insurance To Cover It - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- "A Fashion Faux pas" (Married to Medicine Season 2 ep 7) - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- Kneeling Medicine Ball Side Slams - (GetFitivity.com) - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- Party Girl Predicaments: The Breast Medicine - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- Daughter-Medicine (skins) - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- Medicine Walk 003 - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- Medicine Ball Band ft. Charlie Hickox "Let The Four Winds Blow" [OFFICIAL VIDEO] - Video - May 22nd, 2014
- YCDTOTV ep 43 Medicine 1983 - Video - May 22nd, 2014