Kimball C. Atwood IV writes for Skeptical Inquirer:
The NCCAM [National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine] was created by a few advocates who believed in implausible or disproved health claims ... and who felt that the scientific "establishment" was unfairly suppressing them. As such, the Center's role has been more one of advocacy than of science. ... After more than ten years and $200 million, OAM/NCCAM-sponsored research has not demonstrated efficacy for any CAM method, nor has the Center informed the public that any method is useless. It continues to fund and promote pseudoscience. It continues to be influenced by powerful ideologues. The problem with so-called Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in a nutshell, is that it is an assortment of implausible, dishonest, expensive, and sometimes dangerous claims that are exuberantly promoted to a scientifically naive public. The NCCAM, so far, has not been part of the solution.
Atwood's full article outlines just how dangerous and irresponsible so much of "complimentary and alternative medicine" can be. For example, the naturopathic Bastyr University AIDS Research Center has for years recommended the use of St. John's wort despite the fact that it is known to interfere with HIV protease inhibitors. How many people carrying the HIV have developed AIDS or have relapsed because of such a recommendation?
To all the actions of Bastyr University AIDS Research Center and its naturopath director Leanna Standis "irresponsible" and "dangerous" sounds far too lenient - but in America, things like naturopathy aren't required to adhere to the same rigorous standards as real medicine. "Complimentary" and "Alternative" treatments like naturopathy aren't simply quackery; they are beneath contempt. Yet the government continues to fund them.