My understanding of "alternative" and "complementary" "medicine" is that of treatments with either none or little scientific support.
Many forms of alternative medicine do indeed have beneficial consequences, but those consequences are most likely due to the placebo effect. Scientific tests must be made to prove whether a treatment is useful or not, with at least two groups of people with the same condition, one being given an alternative treatment and one being given a placebo -like, for example, sugar pills-. Not having a scientific support for claims of effectiveness is immoral: One would be taking money out of desperate people and giving them something that may or may not work.
If there were any evidentiary support for "Complementary" and "Alternative" medicine they wouldn't have those names at all- they'd just be "Medicine".
These methods are supported by nothing but anecdotes and appeals to antiquity (if it's been around a long time it MUST have some validity!), and have repeatedly failed or been shown a placebo by clinical trials. Many, like homeopathy, are so absurd it's a wonder anyone actually buys into it.
Sadly these bits of snake oil rob millions of people of money and health- many forgo actual medicine in favor of this nonsense.
This conjunction of various field is often said to be untested, lacking in validity and reliability, though its becoming more evident that these can promises certain results when use "properly" alongside conventional medicine. Its said that one in three cancer patients use C.A.M. With their conventional treatments. Surely there must be valid reasons why there is an increase in the use of these alternative treatments. Cynicism aside, lets remember that most of the tradition-conventional treatments we hold so highly once started out as untested-unreliable forms of alternative treatments before the introduction of clinical trial, and even more so peer reviews.
Though lets be honest that's the reason for the scepticism in the first place, the fact that most of these treatments firstly have not been through enough or any clinical trails, treatments and doses have not been calibrated. Many of the (university) courses - like reflexology - are loosing applicant numbers "The teaching of complementary medicine has no place in British universities, says David Colquhoun " (Telegraph), a little crude but I think so to. All of which culminate in a seemingly vague in-between field that's neither science or proved medicine
with that all being said, I still believe that as time passes these will become more normalised, they are certainly a viable means of reforming the NHS - saving money and staff members . There is hope for this vast field yet, or is there?