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Alternative medicine is any practice that is put forward as having the healing effects of medicine but is not based on evidence gathered using the scientific method. It consists of a wide range of health care practices, products and therapies, using alternative medical diagnoses and treatments which typically have not been included in the degree courses of established medical schools or used in conventional medicine. Examples of alternative medicine include homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, energy medicine and acupuncture.
Complementary medicine is alternative medicine used together with conventional medical treatment in a belief, not proven by using scientific methods, that it "complements" the treatment.[n 1] CAM is the abbreviation for Complementary and alternative medicine. Integrative medicine (or integrative health) is the combination of the practices and methods of alternative medicine with conventional medicine.
The term alternative medicine is used in information issued by public bodies in the Commonwealth of Australia the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Regulation and licensing of alternative medicine and health care providers varies from country to country, and state to state.
Numerous skeptics and critics have disputed the term alternative medicine, citing variations of "there is really no such thing as alternative medicine, just medicine that works and medicine that doesn't".