We searched for the best evidence for each treatment. First, we found out what sort of treatments people had used to self-treat particular health problems. We did this by finding large surveys and interview-type research where people had reported what they used. We then looked for reliable research evidence (ideally from controlled clinical trials and systematic reviews) from studies that had tested these treatments.
We used a simple rating system for evidence. To decide on the rating for a particular treatment, we considered:
- How much research there was (how many trials)
- The quality of the research (whether the design was good)
- What the research said (whether the treatment had an effect and how large the effect was)
- How well the trial matched how the treatment might be used in practice e.g. were the people in the trial really the sorts of people who might want to try self-care