When people talk about Alternative medicine, they usually refer to treatment methods that are non symptomatic in nature and differ from conventional allopathic medicine. They don't mean to imply some form of ideological, faith based treatment and medicine methods, like the ones (blood letting, etc.) from medieval times.
However, I saw a quote recently that an "article" in the Wall Street Journal that discussed the efficacy of other forms of medicine vis-a-vis conventional medicine. I write "article" in quotes because although it is listed as an article in WSJ, it seems more like an opinion piece to me. Why?
Because the author chooses to quote statistics only for conventional medicine and makes the $1 billion spending appear as a huge amount. In contrast conventional medicine, peer reviewed studies and all, accounts for a $ XXXXX billion dollar industry and the efficacy of conventinal medicine is no greater in statistical terms.
If we look at many of the major problems, "conventional medicine" has been great at diagnosis but at cures or prevention. Cancer is yet to be cured, so maybe we are better off trying to prevent. Incidentally the author conveniently misses discussing therapies which have been having excellent responses, not to mention that vitamin D bills - sold by conventional medicine, can be acquired by naturally suggested therapies themselves.
However for all the articles faults, the author makes some excellent points, one being that natural medicine therapies should also stand up to the test of peer review.
I end with a quote:
George D. Lundberg, a former editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, who said: "There's no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data."