Further, a radical viewpoint is that only conventional medicine has empirical support, and that CAM should demonstrate similar support to be considered complementary or alternative (Coulter & Willis 2004). Conversely, a significant proportion of CAM practitioners do not consider the implications of evidence-based practice as essential for CAM (Vickers 2001).
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) includes five major domains: alternative medical systems, mind-body interventions, biologically-based treatments, manipulative and body-based methods, and energy therapies. From very focused therapies such as reflexology the diverse practices range to whole medical systems such as Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine (Coulter & Willis 2004).
According to Vickers (2001), the essential requirement for both conventional medicine and for complementary and alternative medicine is evidence of effectiveness. Consequently, CAM should use the opportunity provided by evidence-based medicine to secure its place in health care as an effective and valid system of treatment which is equal to conventional medicine in significance. Tonelli & Callahan (2001) state that it is important to determine whether CAM therapies can prove themselves to be effectve through sound, systematic clinical research using control groups, placebos, and statistical analysis, in the same way as orthodox medicine. The clinical practice of evidence-based medicine does not discount the value of clinical experience and inductive reasoning; it brings out the best available evidence from systematic research, and uses it for making clinical decisions.
Evidence-based practice refers to the broadening of the core concepts and principles of evidence-based medicine, and their interdisciplinary application in health care practice. It is the effective use of findings which are the “best available, current, valid” (Hadley et al 2008, p.2), besides being relevant and clinically