A large class of interventions, including some traditional healing methods and medications, some modern medications, technical equipment and devices, certain types of massages and manipulations, and unconventional psychotherapeutic approaches, that are resorted to by patients or their close kin in search of a cure for conditions that are often incurable, such as advanced cancer or progressive degenerative neurological disorders. Some are quackery, fraud, and deliberate deception for gain, and many are futile, albeit well-meaning, attempts to achieve cure or remission. Some provide comfort by signaling that something, rather than nothing, is being done to help in a desperate situation, and some have a placebo effect, but usually sick people are better off without such supposed remedies. Traditional healing methods are in some respects in a separate category because, although their efficacy is usually unproven, at least they have stood the test of time in not causing too many deaths or obvious adverse consequences.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.