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ON June 15, the RCVS Council discussed a new College position statement on complementary and alternative medicines (CAM). The RCVS views CAM therapies as ‘alternative’ if used instead of conventional medicine, and ‘complementary’ if used alongside conventional medicine (eg, Viner 2016). This misses a fundamental distinction between the various CAM therapies; some are fundamentally inconsistent with modern scientific understanding, whereas others are not. Specifically, some CAM ‘therapies’ – eg, bioresonance, crystal healing, homeopathy, reiki, remote intercessory prayer – require the existence of undemonstrable supernatural (some force beyond scientific understanding) forces in order to have efficacy beyond placebo, and use magic (the power of apparently influencing …
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