argument top image

Is alternative medicine effective?
Back to question

Alternative medicine simply acts as a placebo

Any benefits that one experiences from alternative medicine are simply a trick of the mind. Most diseases will come right eventually anyway unless they are chronic or terminal.
< (3 of 3) Next argument >

The Argument

Alternative medicine has become successful on the back of patients using it to treat minor illnesses. In these cases, there is no reason to believe the treatments have cured the ailment. Rather, it is used in illnesses where the placebo effect can bring about 'cure'. Even in instances where these treatments work on a patient that is an animal or small child, the placebo effect makes sense. Often for these groups, the subject wants to please a parent or owner - and therefore begins to believe that the treatments are having a positive effect, despite no proof for this. The natural course of many diseases is cyclical and people often seek alternative therapy when symptoms are at their worst. When symptoms improve, this is attributed to the therapy. An alternative therapy may be tried after conventional medical treatment and when symptoms improve, it is attributed to the new therapy rather than the medical treatment.

Counter arguments

The placebo effects cannot be explained in illnesses where the patients are small children or animals. Yet homeopathic remedies have been used to successfully used to treat both of these groups.


Diseases have a natural, cyclical course


[P1] Alternative medicine is only perceived to work because of the placebo effect.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] The placebo effect does not fully explain the effectiveness of alternative medicine.


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 15 Apr 2020 at 08:57 UTC

Explore related arguments