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October 2022

Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1992 ; 104(10): 283-5.

[Treatment freedom or arbitrary treatment? Critical thoughts on alternative healing methods]

Ernst E.

Klinik für Physikalische Medizin und Rehabilitation, Universität Wien.

Complementary medicine is (by definition) scientifically untested. This does not mean that it is per se ineffective. Therapeutic success is generally due to more factors than specific therapy alone. Natural history of the disease and placebo effects always have to be taken into account. Therefore one can be misled and ineffective interventions can be followed by apparent success. The uncritical observer might mistakenly interpret this over and over again as apparent confirmation of an ineffective measure. The only solution is therefore to conduct a controlled trial. In the area of complementary therapy such trials are, however, of unsatisfactory quantity and quality.

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