“Complementary and alternative medicine”: Not just one thing

I’ve been on a bit of a tear criticizing the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). One of the reasons is because, as I’ve said time and time again, there is no logical organizational or scientific reason why the potpourri of disparate, often unrelated, and often mutually contradictory therapies that fall under the rubric of CAM should have its own Center at the National Institutes of Health.

Yesterday, blog bud Abel Pharmboy posted a very good explanation on why. Money quote:

CAM is a terrible term. It is NOT medicine. Modalities proven to work are medicine. Modalities that don’t work are not medicine. There is no complement to medicine. Medicine is medicine. There is no integrative medicine, either. Medicine already takes advantage of all modalities: surgical, pharmacological, radiological, physical, psychological, nutritional – if a clear benefit can be offered to a patient that outweighs the risk.

So-called integrative medicine gurus have adopted proven, preventive medicine techniques – diet, exercise, meditation, yoga – and have used them 1) to justify that “CAM” works and 2) that the efficacy of these approaches justifies study and implementation of approaches that have absolutely no scientific basis.

Exactly what I’ve been saying all along.