This month my book pick is Trick or Treatment by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst.
Basically this book looks at all the alternative treatments and the studies that have been done, then tells you whether it actually is worthwhile. (In a word, NO.)
The main discussions are of Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Chiropractic, and Herbal Medicine. I will give you short highlights of each.
Acupuncture: I have done it, seen no difference, and the practitioner finally told me not to come back because he couldn't help me. The book says the studies show no affect except the placebo effect. Basically, sticking the needles randomly has the same effect as doing it the "right" way.
Homeopathy: The products are so diluted that you may as well put one drop of your medicine in Lake Superior, then drink one drop out of the lake. Basically, there is NONE of the original ingredient in the finished solution. There can be a small placebo effect if you believe in it, but no lasting treatment.
Chiropractic: May be helpful if you have low back problems, but takes longer and is more expensive than traditional treatments, and is much more dangerous. If they touch your neck, you can die. If the chiro is a "straight" they have delusional beliefs and ideas that are very dangerous. They cannot help ear infection, asthma, bedwetting, learning disorders, and other problems like these. Do not take x-rays. They are unnecessary and expose you to radiation.
Herbal Medicine: Untested and dangerous. Many drugs come from plants, etc, but they are tested and you know the side effects. St. John's Wort is good for minor depression, but has interactions with other meds you may be on, and you should be aware of the side effects. They are often contaminated or adulterated.
The book also has a few pages on most other alternative treatments. Most are not proven by studies.
Note: you may have heard of the heart study that "proved" prayer worked. It was deeply flawed and many following studies disproved the theory.
To quote Hippocrates, the father of medicine:
There are, in fact, two things, science and opinion:
the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.
Have a good week,