Time for a fresh look at complementary medicineBMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7402.1322 (Published 12 June 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1322
- Edward Baldwin, member of House of Lords1
- 1 London SW1A 0PW
Scientific rigour does not always go with complementary and alternative medicine, where assumptions often go unchallenged. But the need for rigour is sometimes as evident on the conventional side as on the unconventional. Having been a serious user of complementary and alternative medicine for nearly 20 years, and finding myself more recently in positions where I have tried to draw attention to some of the remarkable things that seem to be happening in the field, I want to emphasise the need for clear thinking if we are to discover what works, to what extent, and for whom. Evidence (however you choose to define it) is crucial; but it needs to be based on solid foundations.
My first experience of the unusual was 35 years ago. Having damaged my knees through too vigorous an outing in the British hills, I was sent to see specialists, culminating in two eminent gentlemen in Harley Street. They prescribed varying forms of treatment and did me no good …