One of the biggest limitations of most alternative therapies is the fact that their efficacy claims are usually based on anecdotesrather than clinical trials. However, this doesn’t mean that CAM therapies are useless. Several alternative medicine therapists tout their remedies as instant wonders, although such claims of fast results are generally not backed by scientific observation or proof. Miracles do happen, but generally, CAM therapies do not heal instantly. Some herbs and therapies can take anywhere between weeks to months to work, and they require several sessions to show their benefits.
Many CAM practitioners choose scientific words to explain how their therapies work, without showing any clinical results. The same is true with homeopathy, one of the most used form of CAM therapy, where therapists want us to believe that water has an inherent memory and it can remember the substances it came in contact with during the preparation stage, and transfers the same memory to the patient’s body. Although, there is no clinically supported evidence to prove this theory, the fact is that in several diseases, homeopathy does work.
Interestingly, as several researchers have started working on proving the results of alternative therapies, we are discovering that several of them do work, but not always. As an example, acupuncture has been proven to be helpful in reducing nausea that is associated with chemotherapy, but trials conducted to prove its benefits in reducing back pains have shown that it is not a better choice than a placebo.
There is enough evidence to show that CAM therapies do work, but they only do if they perfectly fit your needs. People usually turn to alternative therapies either after they have had a bad experience with conventional medicine, or if they haven’t found a cure in conventional medicine. In both the cases, people go towards alternative medicine because it is the final way forward for them and they believe that there is nothing to lose.
Conventional medicine isn’t always superior to alternative ones, but they are definitely better studied. This doesn’t mean that all CAM therapies just have a placebo effect, as some definitely work.
For all potential wellness tourists, it becomes important that they do as much research as they can. Look for alternative therapy options that have been studied to not cause any harm. You should keep an eye on treatments that have some anecdotal reports of success for the specific problem you have, while avoiding the anecdotal evidence given by alternative therapists.