Complementary and alternative practices have received a lot of negative comments and criticism in recent years from healthcare providers and scientists. Those that reject traditional therapies state a practice can only be considered ‘medicine’ once it has gone through scientific testing to prove its effectiveness. A famed evolution biologist, Richard Dawkins, claims: “alternative medicine is a set of practices which cannot be tested, refuse to be tested, or consistently fail tests.” Once these practices demonstrates its effectiveness in experiments, it stops being alternative, and simply becomes medicine.
Since western medical practices have gone through the stringent requirements to prove its success, it must disclose all the potential side-effects that occur. Since regulations haven’t been in place to test alternative practices, there might be several undesired side-effects associated with traditional medicine that patients remain unaware of. There could also be simultaneous complications when alternative therapies are used in conjunction with western medicine.
The lack of regulation in the alternative medicine industry worries a lot of healthcare professionals and patients alike. All mainstream healthcare providers are required to have licenses to practice, and medical facilities regularly go through quality and cleanliness check-ups. However, these processes have not translated to the alternative medical world. Any practitioner claiming to be an alternative medicine specialist can set up a clinic without proper licensing, and facilities housing these specialists do not go through proper accreditation procedures.
The only way to get complete approval of government officials, healthcare providers, and integrate alternative practices into mainstream medicine is by: Licensing all therapists that claim to provide alternative care, gaining proper accreditation for educating future practitioners, regulation of the industry to assure patients the highest quality of products and services are being provided, and proper experimentation procedures to demonstrate safety and effectiveness.