wwh is correct. There are precious few controlled studies of alternative healing methods, e.g., herbal preparations, homeopathy. Some of these are in dire need of external validation via controlled studies. On the other hand, there are those who say that many "alternative" methods do not lend themselves to controlled, de-contextualized tests the way more traditional allopathic healing methods, e.g. drugs & surgery, do. A reasonable argument when you consider this is the reason why there are no placebo-controlled studies of, say, psychotherapy - because the treatment cannot be separated from its context without losing the effect.

An example is the therapeutic touch "controlled study" by a 9 year old girl that JAMA published a few years back. Its proponents claim that if there was a therapeutic touch effect, the experiment would have detected it. Its critics claim that reductionistic bias ensured that the experiment would achieve its desired result: to discredit therapeutic touch.

To return to the topic of words, "alternative" is out of favor as the proper adjective for describing non-allopathic healing modalities. "Complementary" is preferred, because most people use them alongside more traditional western methods. Another area ripe for research: How do these two very diffferent approaches to healing work together?