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 is established under the House of Lords to scrutinise government policy by undertaking cross-departmental inquiries into a range of different activities. [1]

The Committee published a printed report of an inquiry into complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in November 2000. The report provided criteria for categorisation 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
  • The availability of a ‘credible’ evidence base [2]

Table 3: Categorisation by UK House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology




Professionally Organised 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
  • Counselling stress therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Reflexology
  • Shiatsu
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Nutritional medicine

Alternative Disciplines


  • Alternative 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
  • Kinesiology

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

Note: The definitions are direct quotation from the source.


  1. UK Parliament. Science and Technology Committee (Lords). [homepage on the Internet]. c2021. [cited 2021 Apr 26]. Available from:
  2. UK Parliament. House of Lords (Session 1999-2000). Science and Technology – Sixth Report. [document on the Internet] c2000. [cited 2021 Apr 26]. Available from:
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