Alternative medicine: a phrase that is heavy with connotations, emotions and frankly, a great deal of confusion. Whichever side of the debate you find yourself on, the opinions are usually strong, stubbornly held, and generally backed up with too few facts for any kind of meaningful discussion. It is for these reasons that I usually try to avoid the topic entirely. But avoiding the issue gets us nowhere. So lets do it properly, if we’re going to do it at all. Over the last year I have read no less than 144 scientific papers on seven different so-called “alternative medicines”, in search of the truth behind the hype. From acupuncture to homeopathy, from reiki to hypnotism, I’ve searched high and low to find out what really works, what doesn’t work, what is helpful and what is potentially harmful. This series will explain what I’ve found in a fair and scientific way. It is not meant to offend anybody, merely to arm us all with the facts, so that we can make our own informed decisions.