New research is needed to assess the clinical and cost-effectiveness of complementary therapies, according to a report from a health thinktank.
The report, published today by the King’s Fund, warns that despite the increasing popularity of treatments, such as acupuncture, reflexology and osteopathy, there is still little evidence as to whether, and how, they work.
According to the report, lack of agreement on the best methods to test the efficacy and effectiveness of complementary therapies have made addressing the lack of evidence difficult.
But the report hopes to establish a consensus on how research can be conducted that can be supported by both the conventional and complementary health care communities.
Professor Dame Carol Black, who chaired the committee behind the report, said: ‘It has become widely accepted that a stronger evidence base is needed if we are to reach a better understanding of complementary practices and ensure greater confidence in their clinical and cost effectiveness.
‘The challenge is to develop methods of research that allow us to assess the value of an approach that seeks to integrate the physical intervention, the personal context in which it is given, and non-specific effects that together comprise a particular therapy,’ she added.