Are alternative medicines safer and more effective?
Alternative medicines include many practices whose true health effects are unknown and can be ineffective or harmful.
Proponents of alternative medicines believe that these are more natural and human-friendly, as well as effective and free of side effects. At least 1 in 10 people have used them in the past 10 years.
Alternative medicines, also known as non-conventional, complementary or traditional medicines, are based on principles that have never been scientifically proven. These include Ayurvedic, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, chiropractic and osteopathy. However, studies aimed at proving its efficacy and safety have been conducted and are still in progress.
In general, when any practice proves useful it becomes part of conventional medicine and is taught to future and current doctors. In Italy, alternative medicines can only be practiced by doctors (acupuncture, homeopathy, phytotherapy) or by health professionals (chiropractic). Other disciplines are practiced by professionals outside the health system (osteopaths, naturopaths, but also shamans and holy men) who, subjected to few checks, only on a voluntary basis define rules and know little and poorly about medical and surgical therapies of proven efficacy and safety.
For this reason, in case you want to take alternative medicines, it is good to be careful and not to suspend or modify current therapies without the advice of a doctor.
1. Eurispes. Italy 2010 report
2. Italian government. Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Agreement between the Government, the Regions and the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano concerning the criteria and modalities for the training and relative exercise of acupuncture, phytotherapy and homeopathy by surgeons and dentists; 54 / CSR of 5/2/2013
3. EpiCentro (ISS). Homeopathy, phytotherapy, acupuncture, Ayurvedic and other unconventional medicines. Know them in order to use them to the fullest