alternative medicine

a term used by practitioners of Western, clinical medicine to refer to a range of approaches to health and disease, some quite ancient and widely practiced. The category is broad, and encompasses bodies of knowledge that may be founded upon anatomical observation, possession of an effective pharmacopeia, and some form of clinical practice; and which may advance self-consistent explanations for the causation and cure of disease, whether physically or supernaturally based. Alternative medicine also comprises approaches with limited known effectiveness. Examples of alternative practices include acupuncture and acupressure, homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, massage, meditation, imaging, relaxation techniques, biofeedback, hypnosis, exercise, life style diets, megavitamin therapy, pulse diagnosis, tongue diagnosis, iridology, rolfing, faith healing, and prayer.

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