Model B : House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, UK - Guidance or information on which modalities are efficacious

The Science and Technology Committee was established under the House of Lords in 1979. The committee published a report of an inquiry into complementary and alternative medicine in November 2000.[i] The report provided criteria for categorization based on:

  • The level of professional organization of the modalities,
  • The availability of an individual diagnostic approach,
  • The aim to complement or substitute allopathic medicine, and
  • The availability of a ‘credible’ evidence base.


Table 3: Categorization by UK House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology.[ii]




Professionally Organized Groups


  • Embraces what may be called the principal disciplines.
  • Each of these therapies claims to have an individual diagnostic approach.
  • Seen as the 'Big 5' by most of the CAM world
  • Osteopathy
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal medicine
  • Homeopathy.


Complementary Therapies

  • Therapies which are most often used to complement conventional medicine.
  • Do not purport to embrace diagnostic skills.

  • Aromatherapy
  • Alexander technique
  • Massage therapy
  • Counseling Stress therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Reflexology
  • Shiatsu
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Nutritional medicine

Alternative Disciplines


  • Alternatives disciplines offer diagnostic information as well as treatment and which, in general, favour a philosophical approach and are indifferent to the scientific principles of conventional medicine, and through which various and disparate frameworks of disease causation and its management are proposed.
  • There are 2 subgroups.
  • Long-established and traditional systems of healthcare


  • Ayurvedic medicine
  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • Anthroposophical
  • Eastern medicine
  • Naturopathy
  • Chinese herbal medicine
  • Other alternative disciplines which lack any credible evidence base.


  • Crystal therapy
  • Iridology
  • Dowsing
  • Radionics, dowsing
  • Kinesiology

Source: Scientific and Technology 6th Report, UK Parliament, UK, 2000

Note: The definitions in italic are direct quotation from the source.

  1. Lords S & T Select.United Kingdom Parliament. Retrieved from [access 6 July 2007]
  2. Scientific and Technology. 6th Report. House of Lords. Retrived from [access 6 July 2007]