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Editorials |

Complementary/Alternative Medicine for Asthma : We Do Not Know What We Need To Know

Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Exeter, UK 
 ,  Professor, University of Exeter, Department of Complementary Medicine, Postgraduate Medical School.

Correspondence to: Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT, UK



Chest. 1999;115(1):1-3. doi:10.1378/chest.115.1.1
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Complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) has become an increasingly topical theme in respiratory medicine. It has been defined as “diagnosis, treatment and/or prevention which complements mainstream medicine by contributing to a common whole, by satisfying a demand not met by orthodoxy or by diversifying the conceptual frameworks of medicine.”1 CAM comprises well over 100 different therapies, which have little in common. Each therapy proclaims to be a veritable panacea.2 Some of the most prevalent complementary treatments are acupuncture, aromatherapy, herbalism (phytotherapy), homoeopathy, reflexology, and spinal manipulation (chiropractic and osteopathy). For asthma, the most frequently tried therapies are breathing techniques (including yoga), herbalism, acupuncture, and homoeopathy,3 but the whole spectrum of CAM is also used.

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