About a week ago, I posted about a truly execrably credulous article on alternative medicine published at CNN.com, which basically took a panel of true believers and asked them which five alternative medicine modalities had the best evidence to show that they “work.”
Now, Steve Novella weighs in. His key point, with which I agree, is that “alternative” medicine advocates (or “complementary and alternative medicine,” or CAM) have been wildly successful in framing their favored woo as being on an equal footing with “conventional” medicine, all the while carving out a double standard that allows non-evidence-based modalities to be excepted from the normal standards of medical evidence. Moreover, he points out how CAM advocates either appropriate certain conventional therapies (physical therapy, vitamins) and label them as “alternative,” while packaging the somewhat plausible alternative medicine modalities (herbal medicines, for example) with the “grossly absurd” (like homeopathy, Reiki, or “detoxification,” for example) and then try to sell the whole package as though it works.
Say what you will, Steve’s point that we “conventional” physicians have not done as good a job at “framing” as CAM advocates is hard to argue with.
Well worth a read.