Alternative medicine

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Alternative medicine is a term used for systems of healthcare that are not part of mainstream evidence-based medicine.


  • There is no alternative medicine. There is only medicine that works and medicine that doesn't work.
  • Once a treatment has been tested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was considered alternative at the outset. If it is found to be reasonably safe and effective, it will be accepted...there is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking.”**S.A. Tabish (2008) ‘Complementary and Alternative Healthcare: Is it Evidence-based?’
  • Alternative medicine people call themselves "holistic" and say it's the "whole" approach. Well, if it's the whole approach, let it be the mind as well. Use logic, use sense, use the incredible five wits you were given by creation.
  • Well, my interpretation is no more valid than anyone else's, but I would say in terms of medicine, people want to take control of their own lives, and ironically they seem to think that they are taking control of their lives more by using so-called complementary or alternative medicines than by using orthodox medicine. In other words, they think it’s a statement of originality and individuality. To you and me it seems self-evidently ridiculous, this homeopathic medicine. It is so preposterous, and yet some people I know and respect insist on believing it.
    • Stephen Fry (2010) on the reason for the popularity of alternative medicine. In: "Last Chance to Think" Interview by Kylie Sturgess in Skeptical Inquirer. Vol 34 (1).
  • [P]harma being shit does not mean magic beans cure cancer.
  • By definition (I begin), alternative medicine (I continue) has either not been proved to work or been proved not to work. Do you know what they call alternative medicine that's been proved to work? Medicine.
  • Man 1: [going through the contents of a bookshelf] All your books are full of blank pages.
    Man 2: Not true. That one has some ink on page 78.
    Man 1: A smudge.
    Man 2: So?
    Man 1: There are no words. You're not reading. There's no story there.
    Man 2: Maybe not for you. When I look at those books, I think about all kinds of stories. Reading is about more than what's on the page. Holding a book prompts my mind to enrich itself. Frankly, I suspect the book isn't even necessary. The whole industry is evil. Greedy publishers and rich authors try to convince us our brains need their words. But I refuse to be a sucker.
    Man 1: Who sold you all these blank books?
  • We hate Big Pharma. We hate big government. We don’t trust The Man. And we shouldn’t. Our health care system sucks. It’s cruel to millions of people. It’s absolutely astonishingly cold and soul-bending to those of us who can even afford it. So we run away from it, and where do we run? We leap into the arms of Big Placebo.

See also

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