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Medical practitioners are increasingly moving towards a new Integrative Medicine. We decided to retain the terms "alternative" and "complementary" in the Resource Guides of the Alternative Medicine Foundation in order to reflect the distinction between those treatment modalities that are:

  • truly alternative, i.e., used to replace orthodox or conventional treatments
  • complementary, i.e., used as an adjunctive measure in combination with orthodox treatments.

Inevitably, not all modalities fall neatly into either category.

Physicians increasingly find that their patients are gathering information about alternative and complementary treatments from the media, friends and family, and from the World Wide Web. Patients will often arrive for their appointment armed with a fistful of printed sheets. They often have more time to research different treatments than does their medical practitioner.

Members of medical teams and integrative group practices need research resources that are responsible, reliable, and evidence-based. They need clear, impartial information about what their patients are reading and using, and whether there may be possible drug or treatment interactions, positive or negative.

The Resource Guides of the Alternative Medicine Foundation are designed with the busy professional in mind. They are not intended to be comprehensive, or to be used as a guide for treatment. They are provided for information only. The resources are selected and categorized to help you with your own research:

Authoritative research resources:

Listings include reports of clinical trials and peer-reviewed scientific research. However, it is important to note that many practitioners feel the randomized controlled trial is not always the most appropriate research methodology for alternative and complementary treatments.

Case studies/observational data

Case studies, experiential reports and observational findings of practitioners may provide valuable insights and leads for clinical practice or for further research projects.

Folk/traditional information:
Long standing traditional or indigenous systems of medicine, e.g., Chinese, Ayurvedic, Native American, are empirical systems of knowledge, handed down from generation to generation. They have practical validity, even though most of the practices have not been studied in randomized clinical trials, favored by western biomedicine.

The philosophy followed for all the activities and resources of the Alternative Medicine Foundation is to give a neutral description by category since there is a lack of agreement on what constitutes good evidence. See the also the evidence-based herbal resource, HerbMed®:

A professional version of the HerbMed® database, HerbMedPro, is available for subscription or licensing.

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Page last updated September 3, 2006
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