Scientifically verifiable facts form the basis of classical medicine. Anything that smacks of alternative medicine is dismissed for its lack of provability. However, Marchant, who has a PhD in microbiology, knows what’s missing from this picture – the potential of placebos.

Alternative medicine has found clever ways to exploit the power of our minds, says Marchant. The strength of homeopathy, acupuncture and shiatsu lies in their ability to activate our powers of self-healing.

Classical medicine could benefit from this: a patient's attitude towards a treatment method has a major impact on its success, as demonstrated by numerous scientific studies.

In a Guardian podcast, Marchant recommends that the advantages of both classical and alternative medicine should be taken into account when it comes to treatment.