What do Cochrane systematic reviews say about new practices on integrative medicine?

Sao Paulo Med J. May-Jun 2018;136(3):251-261. doi: 10.1590/1516-3180.2018.0172170418. Epub 2018 Jun 25.


Background: This study identified and summarized all Cochrane systematic reviews (SRs) on the effects of ten integrative practices that were recently added to the Brazilian public healthcare system (SUS).

Design and setting: Review of systematic reviews, conducted in the Discipline of Evidence-Based Medicine, Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM), Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp).

Methods: Review of Cochrane SRs on the following interventions were identified, summarized and critically assessed: apitherapy, aromatherapy, bioenergetics, family constellation, flower therapy, chromotherapy, geotherapy, hypnotherapy, hand imposition or ozone therapy.

Results: We included a total of 16 SRs: 4 on apitherapy, 4 on aromatherapy, 6 on hypnotherapy and 2 on ozone therapy. No Cochrane SR was found regarding bioenergetics, family constellation, chromotherapy, clay therapy, flower therapy or hand imposition. The only high-quality evidence was in relation to the potential benefit of apitherapy, specifically regarding some benefits from honey dressings for partial healing of burn wounds, for reduction of coughing among children with acute coughs and for preventing allergic reactions to insect stings.

Conclusion: Except for some specific uses of apitherapy (honey for burn wounds and for acute coughs and bee venom for allergic reactions to insect stings), the use of ten integrative practices that have recently been incorporated into SUS does not seem to be supported by evidence from Cochrane SRs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apitherapy / methods
  • Aromatherapy / methods
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / standards
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis / methods
  • Integrative Medicine / methods*
  • Ozone / therapeutic use
  • Review Literature as Topic*


  • Ozone