Background: Review of side effects of psychotherapy, bodywork (without high-energy manipulations), mind-body medicine, body-psychotherapy, sexology, clinical holistic medicine and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).Method: We reviewed 857 records from a combined Medline/PubMed and PsycINFO search on psychotherapy AND side effects" We also searched for mind-body medicine," bodywork," body-psychotherapy," clinical holistic medicine," CAM," sexology," sexological examination," physiotherapy," and specific side effects like psychosis," re-traumatization," suicide," "hypomania," depersonalisation," derealization" and the drugs Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25), psilosybin," mescaline," Peyote" and MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methamphetamine (MDMA) for searches. We looked for all case reports 1950-2009 and studies that included data on side effects and negative events.Results: Non-drug medicine did not have significant side effects (NNH (number needed to harm)> 18,000) and the only severe side effect was rare, brief reactive psychosis, a temporary illness with full recovery (NNH >65,000). Non-drug therapy did not significantly cause re-traumatization, implanted memories, or induction of suicide (NNH>100,000). The most intensive psychotherapy enhanced with psychotropic (hallucinogenic) drugs had serious, but rare side effects and only for the mentally ill, psychiatric patients: brief reactive psychosis (NNH=556), suicide attempts (NNH=833), and suicide (NNH=2,500).Conclusions: Non-drug (non-pharmaceutical) medicine seems to be safe even for seriously physically and mentally ill patients and, whenever efficient, therefore recommended as treatment of choice.
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