Alternative therapies

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By K K Jain MD

In this clinical article, Dr. K K Jain, Consultant in Neurology from Basel, Switzerland, evaluates the role of "complementary medicine," or "alternative medicine," in the practice of neurology. These should be considered supplementary to conventional medicine rather than as an alternative. Well-known therapies of this category include herbs, homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine, and Chinese medicine. Scientific basis is shown in only a few of these approaches. Some of these methods may be used for the treatment of disorders for which no satisfactory therapy exists in modern medicine; further research is needed for the evaluation of these methods. Adverse effects of complementary methods should not be ignored.

Key Points

  •  The use of alternative therapies in Western countries is increasing.
  • Scientific basis of most of the alternative therapies has not been established.
  • Some of the alternative therapies for which safety information is available may be used as a supplement to conventional treatments.

In This Article

Historical note and nomenclature
Scientific basis
Results and Effects
Adverse effects
References cited