Tag: integrative medicine


Myths integrative medicine sells us: “We never advocate alternative medicine without conventional medicine”

"Integrative medicine" (IM) effectively integrates quackery with real medicine. The main talking point by advocates of IM meant to deflect this criticism is that IM practitioners always use alternative medicine with conventional medicine and never advocate the use of alternative medicine alone. A new book by a prominent advocate of IM suggests that this talking point is at best self-delusion among academics...

/ January 8, 2017

In the tradition of Chairman Mao, traditional Chinese medicine gets a new boost by the Chinese government

Despite a lack of evidence for its efficacy and safety, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has made major inroads into US medical centers, both academic and community. I've told the story of how Chairman Mao Zedong created the myth of TCM and promoted it to credulous Westerners to facilitate the "integration" of TCM and "Western medicine." Over the holiday break, I learned that...

/ January 2, 2017
Yes, it's true that placebos are just as powerful as homeopathy. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean what believers in integrative medicine think it does.

Can the mind really heal the body? The false narrative of placebo “healing” revisited

Placebo effects are inextricably bound to the question of whether the alternative medicine modalities that are being “integrated” into medicine actually have any useful therapeutic effects or not; i.e., whether they are merely placebos. Here, I examine an article in National Geographic that peddles the false narrative that placebo effects have real "healing" powers against diseases like Parkinson's disease.

/ December 12, 2016
The Integrative Medicine Wheel: False hope and lies

State Medical Boards should not recognize board certification in “Integrative Medicine”

Integrative medicine is not a real specialty in medicine. Let's not treat it as though it were.

/ December 8, 2016

Milestones on the path to integrating quackery with medicine

It’s been a long time since I’ve encountered Glenn Sabin. You might remember him, though. He runs a consulting firm, FON Therapeutics, which is dedicated to the promotion of “integrative” health, or, as I like to put it, the “integration of pseudoscience and quackery with science-based medicine. What I remember most about Sabin is how he once proclaimed that “integrative medicine” was...

/ November 21, 2016
Kenneth Woliner

Is there a distinct standard of care for “integrative” physicians? The Woliner case

We at SBM argue that there should be a single, science-based standard of care in medicine. Unfortunately, with the rise of "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) also called "integrative medicine," there is a separate standard emerging that allows CAM practitioners to get away with using unproven and disproven treatments. The case of Dr. Kenneth Woliner illustrates this problem.

/ October 13, 2016

Diet and exercise versus cancer: A science-based view

One of the most effective spin techniques used by advocates of “integrative medicine” (also sometimes called “complementary and alternative medicine,” or CAM for short) to legitimize quackery has been to claim basically all non-pharmacologic, non-surgical interventions as “integrative,” “complementary,” or “alternative.” Thus, science-based interventions such as diet changes to treat and/or prevent disease, exercise, and other lifestyle alterations are portrayed as somehow...

/ September 19, 2016

“Non-pharmacological treatments for pain” ≠ CAM, no matter how much NCCIH wishes it so

I’ve had the Monday spot on this blog for quite a long time now. While there are many advantages to posting on Monday, not the least of which is having more time to put a post together (although that is also a disadvantage because it incentivizes my taking more time than I sometimes should), one distinct disadvantage is that all the Monday...

/ September 5, 2016
A typical VA Medical Center

“Complementary and Integrative Health” at the VA: Integrating pseudoscience into the care of veterans

In return for their service to our country, veterans deserve the best science-based medical care that we as a nation can provide. Unfortunately, the VA is integrating quackery into its medical care even more enthusiastically than medical academia.

/ July 18, 2016

Bye Bye Bravewell

Exactly one year ago tomorrow, The Bravewell Collaborative shut down, an event so momentous that few seem to have noticed. It’s been a while since we at SBM devoted much attention to Bravewell, although, at one time, its doings were a regular feature of SBM posts. For those of you not familiar with Bravewell, a brief history. The main mover and shaker...

/ June 16, 2016