Patients and health care providers are often overwhelmed by the copious amount of information about complementary and alternative treatments available on the internet, in magazines, and on television talk shows. Friends, family, or colleagues with good intentions can also provide advice on what patients should be doing. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine if the information is reliable, and if there are commercial interests influencing the promotion of a therapy. Many therapies advertise unsubstantiated claims with promises ranging from better health and increased energy to weight loss or strengthened immune systems and even cure of diseases.
The Pew Internet & American Life Tracking surveys from March 2011 to February 2012 estimate that 80 percent of adults ages 18 to 65+ use the internet for health and medical information. However, even credible reviews can go out-of-date quickly.