Are alternative therapies effective? It's an interesting question, with proponents of modern western medicine (allopathic medicine) often deriding the unproven nature of alternative therapies.
Critics also point out that may alternative therapies can carry the potential risk of side effects - simply because they are 'natural' does not mean they are good for you.
However, when you compare alternative therapies with conventional western medicine, you will find that not only is the effectiveness of many conventional treatments highly questionable (e.g. flu shots), the side effects from conventional western medicines are typically far more common and more serious than any that might be found from more natural remedies.
The truth is that in the rush to adopt modern practices and medicines such as penicillin in the early part of the last century, we tended to throw the baby out with the bathwater, rejecting natural treatments that hade been used and developed over the course of hundreds of years.
It is only now that we are starting to return to these treatments, and finding that the reason they were in use for so long is that they are effective. At the same time we are beginning to realise that modern drugs such as antibiotics are not the wonderful cure-alls that we took them for, and in fact have major downsides to them.
So if you are considering treatments such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, homeopathy, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, or whether to use antibiotics or have a flu jab, you have to make a decision based on your beliefs and philosophy of what works best for your body.