"But come on man they've been using this for thousands of years, western medicine doesn't know everything."
And what was the life expectancy for those thousands of years, and what is it since western medicine has taken over? I know it sounds like crazy talk but sometimes it's a good idea to see if things actually work, a great case for that would be medicine right? Maybe apply the scientific method and, oh lets really get crazy, test that shit? So the government spent a decade and a few billion to see if maybe there was something to all this mumbo jumbo. The only one they found to work was Ginger helps prevent nausea associated with chemo.
Here's a short little article on the matter and I think this sums up the biggest problem with "alternatives."
Any treatment that has proven to provide reliable benefit, is automatically added to the canon of ‘western’ medicine. Therefore the only treatments left available for ‘alternative’ to claim, are those that are unproven, or worse, treatments known to be actively harmful.
I could have quoted that entire article, seriously read it. To me this whole thing is just another part of our societies problem with science. Our society thinks that faith is a good thing, our politicians are forced to pander to the masses and say, "Yes, I think that things are true despite a complete lack of evidence" and the crowds cheer. Why is faith a good thing? I just don't get it. I much prefer knowledge to faith but for some reason I'm in the minority on that one. So how do we know something as opposed to just thinking something? You test it, you try to prove your own guess wrong, if you can't (and it's an idea that can be proved wrong) then it's probably right. Makes sense right? Hey that fucking science! And its the reason we Know some shit, we don't know everything and no scientist would claim we do, if we did they'd be out of a job. To tie this back in with the original part, the government is also looking into some even kookier ideas like distance healing, spiritual energies and prayer. Not that I put much value on case studies but here's someone who decided to use prayer to cure their child of Juvenile Diabetes. God came through and she is doing much better, doctors are now prescribing two teaspoons on god for all sorts of illnesses... oh wait that isn't what happened? The child died a slow and agonizing death because the parents refused to give her a shot of insulin? Hmm... well at least they'll have some time to think about their choice while they sit in jail for Second Degree Reckless Homicide.
So yeah western medicine has its problems, for one it's not available to everyone, it's regulatory agencies are too deep in the pockets of big pharma, Doctors are too overworked to spend enough time with their patients, and with the incredible amounts of money being made it's no surprise that there are some shady dealings and outright corruption. I think this is another reason why people are nervous about trusting the guy with the PHD who has $200,000 worth of college loans he needs you to help him pay back. So they go to the nature loving hippie who only smells a little and is in touch with your individual life energies and wants to simple help refocus your chakras. Of course it should be noted that the bullshit sales of alternative meds is a 34 Billion dollar industry, with no proof at all that any of it works.