This article assesses the evidence for effectiveness, adverse effects and cost-effectiveness of complementary therapies, as reflected in publications in high impact factor medical journals during the years 2012-2014. The search detected 13 randomized controlled studies (RCTs) and 14 meta-analyses, which collectively assessed results of 191 RCTs involving the participation of several thousand patients. Pain was the major focus of acupuncture research in both clinical and fMRI studies, which demonstrated that the effect of acupuncture is beyond the placebo effect. In addition, RCTs supported the use of acupuncture as an adjunctive therapy in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and in moderate to severe depression. A promising trend was reported for the ameliorating effect of acupuncture in gout. Spinal manipulations may be helpful in cervical pain and yoga may be a useful treatment option for chronic neck pain, chronic low back pain and for pain-related disability. Beneficial effects of adding hypnosis and massage therapy to the treatment of fibromyalgia patients were also documented. Tai-chi may reduce balance impairment in mild-to-moderate Parkinson's disease and improve symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis. Products containing cranberry are associated with protective effects in some subgroups of patients with recurrent urinary tract infections. Chinese herbs may assist in glycemic control of diabetes patients and improve survival rate of patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Some of the complementary therapies were found to be cost-effective. Physicians should be aware of the possible adverse effects of these treatments and of possible drug-herb interactions. Further larger scale trials are justified.