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Complementary Medicine: Useless or Unproven?-Reply

Denise McKee, MD
JAMA. 1995;273(23):1834-1835. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520470042024.
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In Reply.  —I disagree with Dr Sampson's rebuttal of our review of the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine. Sampson's fixation on semantics detracts from any real contribution he may be trying to make. "Traditional," at least as used in the United States in reference to medical practice, usually indicates medicine practiced by medical school—trained practitioners, scientifically based, ethical, rational, and backed by the scientific method, to use Sampson's terms. "Alternative" medicine usually refers to therapies that fall out of the mainstream of Western medical practice, often those not backed by the scientific method of scrutiny, and includes successful practices of acupuncture, biofeedback, hypnosis, and herb therapy among many other therapeutic modalities.Not everything that is useful in medicine lends itself to the scrutiny of double-blind studies. For example, how does one reliably measure the effect of spirituality or the influence of a loving family on individual health? Yet these intangibles


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