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3 things parents should know about complementary and alternative medicine

August 29, 2017

About the Author

photo of Claire McCarthy, MD

Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Claire McCarthy, MD, is a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition to being a senior faculty editor for Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. McCarthy … See Full Bio
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Pragya Das
September 4, 2017

If someone considers yoga and meditation harmful in anyway to a healthy person – it is more of ignorance than knowledge. They are not to cure diseases, but to prevent them.

Paul H.
September 4, 2017

You talk about western medicine as having the better idea,but I don’t agree. In my experience I have suffered greatly with your kind of medicine . First the VA put me on Prozac , that caused me to gain 137lb. in 6-8 months. Next came cholesterol meds, then came diabetes meds. just to let you that there is no history of diabetes in my family. Because of my weight gain I lost mobility. I have had 3 back surgery and the weight caused me pain then a lot of codeine. I could go on, but I really don’t see any sense in giving my complete history. To make a long story short, I ended up on 22 medications for 14 yrs. I finally realized that western medicine didn’t have all the answers and I should look for a better way for my treatment. So I turned to alternative medicine , I now no longer have all the side effects I was suffering and all the pain. With all the Lies that the system you find so great too support. It tells me you are about nothing more than the almighty dollar and the hell with the Patiences

Steven Bieber
September 4, 2017

Alternative medicine does help and more & more people are reaping the benefits of Alternative Medicine. For example as stated above in the this article, Acupuncture is a method used for pain management. You can check out this site for the various treatments offered:

Raghavendra Purohit
August 31, 2017

People turn to complementary & alternative medical (CAM) healing for a number of reasons, which seem quite valid:

#Most western medicines do have serious side effects and when prescribed well, have lead to serious complications
#Western medical treatment is expensive & is beyond the reach of a large number of people
#People are frustrated with large scale commercialization of western medicare

Instead of introducing skepticism in the minds of people regarding CAM, some very specific cases of harm done by alternative form of treatment can be cited. Otherwise, it would seem that the protagonists of western medicine would like people get dissuaded from turning to CAM

August 30, 2017

Yes, It is difficult to know if treatments are safe or effective without randomized trials

Daniel Semakula
August 30, 2017

Disclosure: I am one of the authors of that paper, and part of a larger international and interdisciplinary team doing research on how to help people make informed health choices in the face of the many claims of effects of treatments. I came across this article because it speaks about a problem that our research group is trying to address.

Daniel Semakula
August 30, 2017

This is a big problem everywhere! We should not be satisfied that a purported treatment has been reported or observed to have some benefits to some people or that it is theoretically thought to be helpful. We need to be mindful of the concept of “the placebo effect” and the issue of conflicting interests. It is difficult to know if treatments are safe or effective without randomized trials. There is a good open access paper published in 2015 on Key Concepts that people need to understand to assess the trustworthiness of claims about benefits and harms of treatments. I would recommend it for all patients and health workers. People are spending so much money on unhelpful and probably harmful treatments.

September 3, 2017

Unhelpful? ‘Probably’ harmful? Not such an unbiased researcher, huh. Thousands, no millions of testimonies, anecdotal evidence and documented ‘mirackes’/ remissions /yes, cures using natural methods of treatment, say otherwise. Please research ALL the available documentation and not only that which supports your hypothesis that it’s all just junk!

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