We are most grateful for the constructive thoughts from these commentators. The differentiation made by Kim et al between complementary and alternative medicine makes some sense logically and (to a degree) medically. However, to prescribe any closed terminology might be premature in a field where the nomenclature is changing rapidly, reflecting political, scientific, and other refinements. The distinction and/or overlap between complementary and alternative depends on the individual case and context. Clinical, logical, and ethical perspectives may converge or diverge. Despite these problems, we thought it useful to start a debate through our article1 about the necessity for an expanded understanding of informed consent in this area. We should also not forget that CAM is often practiced by individuals who have professional training in another health care discipline and who thus may be unaware of many ethical issues taught in medical schools.
Ernst E, Cohen MH. Spiritual Informed Consent for CAM—Reply. Arch Intern Med. 2002;162(8):944. doi: