In the context of health and wellbeing – treatments, remedies and practices which are exist outside traditional or established institutions or systems and offer variants to those used in conventional, orthodox, mainstream practice. (COM).

Treatments which rely on  mind-sets and ways of thinking which are alternative to rational science-based thought.

‘Alternative medicine is any practice that is presented as having the healing effects of medicine, but is not based on evidence gathered using the scientific method. The treatments are those that are not part of the conventional, science-based healthcare system. Complementary medicine is alternative medicine used together with conventional medical treatment in a belief, not proven by using scientific methods, that it ‘complements’ the treatment’ (Wikipedia).


Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Those systems of medicine or therapy which are ‘not accepted by the majority of mainstream doctors… have mechanisms which lie outside current understanding of modern medicine…which are biologically implausible…which are untested, unproven, disproven, unsafe, only marginally beneficial, or are placebos.’
Dr. Simon Singh and Professor Edzard Ernst: Trick or Treatment? 2008.


One who uses, endorses, and seeks advantage and benefit from camists, condimentary medicine, CAM and camistry.


One who practices CAM, condimentary medicine and camistry.


The domain of the practices, procedures, therapies, remedies and methods employed by camists.
A synonym for CAM.


That which gives spice, flavour.

Condimentary Medicine

Adds flavour and style but not substance and has no functional effect on specific diseases.
Mediated through placebo responses.


That which completes.

Complementary Medicine

That which completes conventional, orthodox, mainstream (COM) care.
As orthodox practitioners do not acknowledge that their remedies and treatment need completion, this is regarded as a misleading term used to enhance marketing of alternative medicine.


Since the eighteenth century, this spelling implies ‘completion of courtesies’ and hence in contemporary usage –  ‘free’ or not paid for at the point of use.


Existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind. Sharks, poison ivy, arsenic, tobbacco, uranium, ionising irradiation are all ‘natural’. They may, or may not, ‘heal’. Pharmaceutical preparations are made from atoms derived from nature.


One who studies placebo effects and whose practice is based on the principle of assisting patients experience the benefits of placebo responses.
Practice as a placebist is contingent on the patient understanding the mechanisms of placebo effects, the association of placebos with hypnotic techniques and on giving fully informed consent on that basis.


The study and therapeutic practice of utilising placebo effects in the context of patients having given fully informed consent.


One who practices placebism or follows placedo (which has more esoteric connotations, taking the clue from camistry).


‘A medicine given more to please than to benefit a patient.’ OED.

‘The placebo may be an inert sugar pill, an active drug, or any treatment no matter how potentially specific or by whom administered…which is ineffective or not specifically effective for the symptom or disease.’
Drs. Arthur and Elaine Shapiro 1995

‘A placebo is something which is intended to act through a psychological mechanism. It is an aid to therapeutic suggestion, but the effect which it produces may be either psychological or physical. It may make the patient feel better without any obvious justification, or it may produce actual changes in such things as the gastric secretion.’
Dr. J. H. Gaddum

‘The effect of placebos has been shown by randomised controlled trials to be very large. Their use in the correct place is to be encouraged …’
Dr. Archie Cochrane 1972


The way or path (Japanese: ) of placebo. A term which might find favour with those who appreciate a more imaginative approach to healthcare. Synonymous with placebism.


A healthcare practitioner outside the mainstream who does not properly inform their patients of the true nature of their practices and remedies; who promotes unsubstantiated treatment methods that lack a scientifically plausible rationale ; who practices medicine in bad faith.

‘A turdy facy, nasty pasty, lousy, fartical rogue’
Ben Jonson: Volpone 1606

Those who support, encourage or endorse such practices may also be quacks.
‘A quack is as a quack does.’
W. F. Bynum. The History of Medicine 2008.


Adjective of ‘tradition’ – an established or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom); a belief or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable. Human sacrifice and slavery have been ‘traditional’, but use of the word imparts no knowledge of relevance, import or ethics.  “Inappropriate use of traditional medicines or practices can have negative or dangerous effects” (World Health Organisation, 2008). Many ‘traditional medicines’ contain parts of endangered species and toxins.


‘The Way of Nothingness’ – specifically in the field of camistry, healthcare and well being.
A compound word from Chinese: wu, ‘nothingness’ plus Japanese: , ‘way or path’.
This term may find favour with and be of assistance to those who value an esoteric approach to these issues.
A synonym for CAM, camistry and condimentary medicine.


One who follows, practices or utilises Wudo.
As in judoka for practitioners of judo.