Be Skeptical of Holistic Medicine

medicine bottles

Writing for Guardian Liberty Voice, Nathan Cranford provides a succinct response to the question of whether holistic medicine works. Referring to alternative and complementary medicine (ACM), he notes:
The problem is that ACMs lack any sort of peer review study. For example, a patient will claim that they took an herbal remedy, got better; therefore, the herbal remedy works. The problem with this reasoning is that it is much more likely that the malady in question would have gotten better anyways, like a bacterial infection or cold. Sometimes the remedy is due to the placebo effect. And occasionally, the product actually does positively contribute to the patient’s health. Nevertheless, it is precisely because of these conflicting possibilities that scientific study, rather than individual hearsay, is most needed. If AMCs worked, then they would simply be dubbed as medicine.
It was unfortunate to see him lump alternative and complementary medicine together in this otherwise effective statement, particularly since he took care to distinguish between them just two paragraphs earlier. Still, the point about holistic medicine is well taken.

I think it makes sense to be quite skeptical of holistic medicine until such time as various remedies have been scientifically evaluated and to remember that personal anecdote is not a substitute for well-controlled studies. It isn't that some of the products might not work; it is simply that we do not presently have evidence to support their efficacy.

Atheism does not necessarily entail skepticism. Plenty of atheists are not skeptics; however, there are advantages to encouraging skepticism among atheists and the religious alike. In the context of holistic medicine, these advantages include saving money and not utilizing potentially hazardous or ineffective products. This seems to be in the interest of everyone not trying to sell holistic medicine.