General Question

ubersiren's avatar

What do you think about unconventional healers and/or the placebo effect?

Asked by ubersiren (15031 points ) June 1st, 2009

Take this for instance- Someone suffering from chronic pain has tried therapy, drugs and lots of stuff, and nothing seems to work. Then this person goes to a faith healer or Reiki practitioner (or insert your own non-conventional practitioner) and is suddenly getting better by the session.

~In your opinion, is it just a placebo effect, or is energy really at work?
~Should people who practice this type of healing be allowed to continue?
~Does it not matter if it’s physically evident or a placebo, as long as the person finds relief?
~Have you had personal experiences with this?
~Are there certain practices that you consider legitimate and others quackery? (ex: Neurologist is legit, while a massage therapist is a flake).

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43 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think they have a placebo effect, 90% of the time, but that’s still effective (this is a sore spot for me as my father went to this charlatan naturopath who told him to abandon chemotherapy infavor of his $20000/2 months oils and water and electrical ‘recharge’ – you have NO idea how mad I am)

cyn's avatar

Placebo effect? I think it’s all in the mind!

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I think a person’s state of mind goes a long way toward not getting sick.

Stressors will definitely cause discomfort in people after a long enough time.

That is what holistic healing is about. Once you are sick however, these practices won’t do much good on their own.

critter1982's avatar

@cynidhugs: The placebo effect is the same thing as saying it’s all in the mind, but I do agree with you. I believe it to be all mental and not some external energy.

cyn's avatar

@critter1982
i was just being sarcastic :)))

shilolo's avatar

I’ve expressed my opinion on this ad nauseum. I’ll just say this….

Sssssshhhhhhh…. Don’t ruin it for the poor souls who go…

loser's avatar

All I know is that when I cracked a rib (while coughing) the ONLY thing that helped the pain was Reiki. My boss made me try it and even paid for it so I went along with it just to humor her. I never believed it would work and so never imagined that it would. The pain would come back every morning and I kept having to get re-Reikied each day for about a week until it finally healed. I realize there could be some placebo effect there but the fact remained-it worked. Personally, I think that unconventional healing is just that, unconventional, and that there is very good reason why some of it has been practiced for so long. I would never abandon traditional medicine for it, though.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I certainly believe in unconventional medicine and healing. And I do believe there is often something at work other than the placebo affect. One example: A lot of cultural and unconventional healers use medicine in their healing. And we are now learning that music can affect the formation of your molecules. Sometimes what is at work is something so small we cannot see it.

However, I do not believe in “plastic healers”. These are people who exploit cultural practices for money. I do not believe that most of them are using “actual” healing techniques but rather they have ripped rituals off just to benefit them financially.

In my culture there are several examples of unconventional healing. Including “manipulation” of energy.

kenmc's avatar

Phony baloney.

Total placebo. But if it does help, why not let ‘em continue?

(Unless it’s charlatan stuff like @Simone_De_Beauvoir has experienced).

cookieman's avatar

I get acupuncture every week for my back. After twenty years of chronic back pain, it is the only thing that has reduced the pain and increased my flexibility.

Placebo? Maybe, but I really don’t care as it works.

critter1982's avatar

@cyndihugs: :) My bad, it went right over my head!!

hug_of_war's avatar

Some things I think are placebo, some actually work, and some people use them to take advantage of others.

Fyrius's avatar

I’m not very happy about them, or about any kind of practice that encourages abandoning scientifically proven facts for superstition. Credulity is bad, mkay.

To answer your questions:

- I’m fairly certain it’s the placebo effect, or maybe it’s because alternative medicine practitioners tend to put a lot of effort into making the patient feel better and none into actually curing the body.

- Well, I don’t support outlawing this sort of thing either… but it would be good if there were laws regulating whether something deserves to officially be called medicine or not, just like there are laws regulating who deserves to call themselves “doctor” or “professor” and who does not.
More idealistically, I just wish people wouldn’t be convinced so easily. The demise of alternative medicine would follow automatically from a rise in critical thinking.

- That’s a difficult issue. They do occasionally help, I suppose, but it comes at the price of making their patients believe things that are not actually true, which is detrimental in itself. I’m not sure if the end justifies that sort of means.

- Not really. I’ve practised a bit of Chi meditation and I still practise Tai Chi Chuan, but both of those can be done with full knowledge that you’re just meddling with your mind and have the same effects. It’s a bit like purposely using the placebo effect on yourself.

- ‘fraid not. You see, the thing about alternative medicine is that if it were legitimate, it wouldn’t be alternative medicine any more.

“If any remedy is tested under controlled scientific conditions and proved to be effective, it will cease to be alternative and simply become medicine. So-called alternative medicine either hasn’t been tested, or it has failed its tests.” – Richard Dawkins (Enemies of Reason)

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

It depends. Not all of them are the same. Some offer a placebo, some are quite helpful, and some are outright dangerous. When my nanna had breast cancer, some ‘friends’ who were self-proclaimed medical experts told her that her drugs were not important, and she should just eat soy beans. With a little research, my family found that her medication was derived from soy beans.

Placebo is underestimated in my opinion. I don’t have the exact source with me now, but one of my lectures referred to communication between cells due to membrane voltages or something of the sort. Thoughts and neuron features affect the whole body in this way. People who go to alternative therapies are more likely to hold a stronger belief in the therapy, which will either enhance the placebo effect, or lead them to their peril.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m a great believer in whatever works, including prayer. The danger is that when a person is healed spontaneously, others might take it as a sign that the method is what worked, by mistake.

Darwin's avatar

I am a believer in using everything that works, so combine traditional medicine with other medicine, but don’t abandon the tried and true for the really, really expensive and unproven.

Acupuncture certainly helped my grandmother’s back pain, and certain forms of healing massage-based medicine turned out to be the same techniques that my physical therapist used, just not covered by insurance. Thus, in some cases, there are things that traditional medicine might do well to investigate and use, and in other cases the nontraditional practitioners are actually using techniques proven to work but under other names.

What I don’t believe in is abandoning traditionally tested, scientifically based medicine altogether in favor of some small-time charlatan’s brand new, amazing, expensive and secret cure from outer space.

CMaz's avatar

the placebo effect works. The human mind is pretty amazing.

astrocom's avatar

I’m betting placebo effect. I understand it’s actually capable of working both ways, so if you believe something shouldn’t stop the pain it won’t. (Which could contribute to people who don’t trust modern medicine, but are miraculously aided by unconventional stuff. I could totally be wrong though.) That said, just because an unconventional method claims to be using magical “energy” doesn’t mean there isn’t a basis for it in science. Heck, there’s even a chance that there is some kind of odd biological “energy” out there, though it’s looking rather unlikely at this point. (Biology isn’t as great a figuring things out definitively as Physics or Chemistry, they deal with incredibly complex systems, that we don’t have flawless logic for yet. That said, they do damn well considering what they have to work with.)

Critter38's avatar

I recommend Simon Singh’s book Trick or Treatment
~In your opinion, is it just a placebo effect, or is energy really at work?
When it comes to energy based therapies, there is NO scientific evidence that this stuff does anything. It is important not to confuse ideas like ‘Well maybe one day we will understand it, and then we can test it.’ This is a mistake. If an alternative therapy works, then the results will show up under repeated double blind controlled replicated experimentation. Once a pattern is shown, then we can try to find the mechanism. But if there is no pattern (i.e. nothing happens) then it doesn’t matter how mystical the claims are…there is no evidence it works and it shouldn’t be sold as if it does unless such evidence can be demonstrated.

~Should people who practice this type of healing be allowed to continue?

I think serious consideration should be given to ensuring that people who charge for health services should all be under some regulatory and legal framework. These people are in the health business, which claims a service provided and charges very well in return. So if, for instance, someone sells homeopathic anti-malarials. Everything they sell should be labeled as having no evidence that it works (unless there is independent, up to date, and rigorous evidence to suggest otherwise), that their product is the chemical equivalent of water (because it is water), and the consumer takes it under the full knowledge that any benefit would purely be placebo. Same for the claims of energy field practitioners. Similarly, if the alternative health professional encourages someone to come off their evidence based medicine, and that person gets sick or dies, then their needs to be some culpability. If they want the aura of medicine, they are more than welcome to the malpractice claims as well.

~Does it not matter if it’s physically evident or a placebo, as long as the person finds relief?

Yes, I think it does matter.
1) Do we want an honest or a dishonest relationship between a health practitioner (I use the term loosely) and their patient or not? In other words for someone to claim that homeopathy can help with AIDS, or that Reiki practitioners can a) sense energy fields, and b) cure diseases, the practitioner has to be either ignorant of the lack of evidence for these claims, or lie to their patient to convince them that it is not just a placebo. So to encourage placebo treatments is to encourage practitioner’s (who are in a position of trust) to purposefully, or in ignorance, mislead patients who may or may not be suffering from a serious illness.
2) All medical interventions and fake treatments can have a placebo impact. The question is not a placebo or no placebo, but whether there exists a net physiological improvement or not that goes beyond placebo. Do we want to encourage or discourage the financing, public understanding etc.. of evidence based medicine which has cured and continues to cure some of the worst ravages of disease, chronic illnesses, or do we want to go back to the dark ages where any crackpot or charlatan can hang a sign on their door an make any outrageous claim for profit? By pretending that placebo is good enough we ignore the real health benefits that are available and require public support for advancement. Remember there are limited finances (both individual and government) for medical treatments. For every dollar that is spent on a placebo, that dollar is lost from the advancement or provision of a real medical treatment or potential breakthrough.
3) Placebos can delay or distract from the treatment of the real cause of the problem. So while we can convince ourselves for some period of time that something is working as the symptoms are perceived to be managed, all the while an underlying cause that may be serious can be progressing (eg. cancer). Furthermore, some alternative practitioners can encourage patients to trade a demonstrated effective medication for a placebo. This can be dangerous or fatal. We have a century of accumulated evidence for what causes disease from germ theory, to environmental impacts, genetic disorders, immunization, etc.. Medical sciences do not have all the answers but the scientific process is the best we have for finding those answers, alternative or not.
4) Alternative medicine can be expensive, ongoing (gotta love those chronic conditions), and ineffectual. If we wouldn’t accept the placebo argument for someone who convinces us that our car is running better after charging us to place a magnet over it (But hey, if he is happier with his car, then isn’t it okay?), why would we use this argument for that which is most precious to us, our health. This issue goes beyond individual rights to be tricked, because it has societal implications with regards to funding, and individual implications with regards to health. Fraudulent claims are fraudulent claims.

~Have you had personal experiences with this?

My wife was encouraged by a medico to try acupuncture. She refused and pissed of the medico. But because she refused and insisted on further examination to identify the cause of the problem and not just rest on the symptoms (i.e. headaches), a physio found the source and by addressing the source enabled real relief in weeks. The acupuncture course was expected to take far more time, did not involve diagnosing the problem, and would have cost the tax payer far more. Why, because the underlying causes were not being addressed, which would have exacerbated with time in my wife’s case. Alternative therapies can be dangerous because they convince the patient they are doing something, when they may be doing nothing. This wastes time and can distract from real and potentially serious underlying causes of the problem, and the seeking out of effective remedies.

~Are there certain practices that you consider legitimate and others quackery? (ex: Neurologist is legit, while a massage therapist is a flake).

It all comes down to whether the claim hasn’t been substantiated by rigorous controlled trials. An unsubstantiated claim, should never be a claim, it’s just a hypothesis and should be presented as such. At which point it is at the stage for testing, not the stage for administration to a patient. As has been said, there is no such thing as alternative medicine. There is just medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t. Neither the practitioner nor the patient can distinguish the difference unless their own biases are removed from the testing of the claim (eg. large scale, double blind, controlled replicated studies…for which the results are then compared with other similar studies to see if outcomes are consistent)... After multiple appropriate tests, then we can start to approximate truth, and then we can weigh up the risks and benefits of the treatment relative to other treatments. Before this time it is quackery to claim that if you do X it will cure Y without sufficient evidence.

Fyrius's avatar

@Critter38: “I recommend Simon Singh’s book Trick or Treatment”
Oh wow. What a clever pun.

Critter38's avatar

Yeah, I had a giggle…

P.S. he’s being sued for libel by the chiropractors…guess they don’t like people seeing behind the curtain.

http://richarddawkins.net/article,3925,UPDATE-6-16-Support-Simon-Singh,Richard-Dawkins

Critter38's avatar

Great! Same here.

maryleedy's avatar

Most of it is based on the mind and the belief system. If you believe it will work, then it will work and that’s half of the treatment. I do believe that energy work does work because we’re made up of energy.

Fyrius's avatar

We’re also made up of bones, so next time you have a cold, be sure to bash your head with a femur.

Energy is a bit more intricately defined. For starters there are many different kinds of energy. Many suicidal people choose to destroy their bodies with kinetic energy by means of a train or a pavement. Sticking a fork into a power socket will similarly unleash a load of electric energy upon your body.
Eating, particularly something with carbohydrates in it, will restore your metabolic energy and help you get over a disease.

kibaxcheza's avatar

family friend has stage 3 cancer in her lungs, brain and like 3 others places…. she started praying to her parton saint, and it ALL went away…. NO JOKE

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,529521,00.html

yeah, grandfather know the husband through Navy…. The hiebel’s are family friends of mine….

Fyrius's avatar

Science time.

@kibaxcheza
An anecdote.
Even if it’s true, it would be a post-hoc fallacy to conclude from this that praying helped. We can’t tell whether even if she hadn’t prayed, it would have happened anyway.
Are you familiar with the statisticians’ adage that “correlation does not imply causation”? Here we don’t even have a correlation.

Furthermore, while it’s (probably) true that cancers going away are hard to explain, saying a patron saint helped out would not be preferable to just having no explanation yet. It would involve many more assumptions than so many other conceivable explanations, and moreover raise more questions than it answers.

kibaxcheza's avatar

@Fyrius if you expected me to understand that, youre clearly over estimating me.

Im just relaying a story i knew that fit the topic.

Fyrius's avatar

@kibaxcheza
Haha, sorry. Didn’t mean to befuddle you.

In other words, the two points I was trying to make were that 1) if one thing happens and then another thing happens, that does not mean the first thing caused the second; and 2) that a patron saint lending the lady a supernatural hand is a very poor explanation even for this sort of thing.

I’m not reproaching you. I’m just unleashing the scientific method on an anecdote of questionable implications. I always do that.

johanna's avatar

Simon Singhs book is an excellent introduction into the scary world of ‘alternative medicine’. I have never really been into it but after reading Sings book I was flabbergasted and appalled at the complete lack of science and proof of these ‘practitioners’. None of these alternative treatments have any scientific backing and I am amazed at how many people, and unfortunately even some doctors, buy into that quackery. The saddest part is that so many people spend so much of their hard earned money for nothing, for water (homeopathy), air (energy healings of all kinds) and downright dangerous manipulations (chiropracy).

The weirdest thing to me is how so many seem to get science and belief mixed up. So many say they ‘believe’ in certain kind of alternative treatments. I do not get that. One believes in a god perhaps but in medicine? Either it has been proven effective or not. What is there to believe?

The only thing to do is to read up and get information from reputable sources – not anecdotes from a friend of a friend but go to the sources – the articles the scientists themselves wrote and make sure people trying to peddle ‘treatments’ are accredited to some reputable scientific institution and not just Kinetic Healers r’us or some other baloney. Worst case scenario sick people who really need proper medical care may be persuaded to forgo real treatments for bullshit ones and ending up sicker or even dead.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about the people who die from chemotherapy? Is anyone keeping records? No, because what they say is, “They died of cancer.” Most times, they died from chemo! Which compromised their immune systems! Yet this is supposed to be a “scientific treatment”?

The AMA is such a huge lobby and has millions of dollars to control all aspects of healing on all levels. I feel that this is way of wiping out indigeneous healing methods and methods of healing that have been used effectively for hundreds of years. Including the healing methods of the Native Americans, Mexicans, and other ethnic/indigeneous people. It’s about annihilating the traditional healing methods of a community—steal their lands and annihilate their culture and now it’s annihilate their medicine. Big Pharma wants to make a profit from the dying and the fearful. If they could put all alternative healers in jail , they would. I have no respect for what they have done to hunt down people who have found cures for terminal illnesses and systematically wiped them out financially. And these are people who have good track records and real cures. They let the “real quacks” go on because it makes the rest of the effective healers look bad. I’m not talking about Reiki practitioners or energetic healers either. Acupuncture has a track record of 4,000 years. Allopathic medicine has existed for about 100…that’s it. I was healed of “an incurable disease” that my doctor diagnosed. He was writing out prescriptions for cortisone saying that was the “only relief” I would get…and I would have to take it for the rest of my life. Guess what? I was cured of this “incurable disease” in a month of acupuncture. Placebo? Maybe the AMA should prescribe placebos that work this well.

People often place their lives in the hands of trained medical doctors who are slowly killing them…like my mother is slowly being killed right now…and being killed with drugs that a board certified doctor prescribed. My father went to the same doctor and he was prescribed drugs for his disease that had not been used in years! Yet, this “quack” who is a member of the AMA is still practicing! How is that any different??

There are a lot of unethical doctors practicing out there…and no one calls them to task because they are arrogant, evasive and hiding behind the big nanny skirts of the AMA.

I have a right to take care of my body the way I want…not the way some doctor demands I do it. And I have used alternative therapy, it has worked (placebo or not) and I have watched my grandmother DIE of radiation burns BY A DOCTOR, my father DIE from wrong prescription drugs by a DOCTOR, my AUNT who was recovering and in remission on Alternative drugs…DIE after she started chemo FROM A DOCTOR to supposedly “cure her” because he told her that they “didn’t work”...when obviously the tumor was shrinking and she was in great spirits and healing. But, he couldn’t make money off any herbs, now, could he???

I have lost more family members to THE GOOD DOCTORS than I have to those who used alternative methods or were left alone to their own indigeneous healing practices.

No one has a right to dictate to anyone else what they should do…allopathic medicine or alternative…IT’S A CHOICE….and the problem is….you don’t WANT PEOPLE TO HAVE A CHOICE.

There are QUACK DOCTORS, too….as there are quacks in the alternative community. And brainwashing people into believing that Big Pharma is GOD and the “only way” is also heretical. To say that “scientific medicine” is the only way of healing is to not acknowledge the bogus doctors in that profession as well! How many medicines after being approved by the FDA are then pulled years later because of some disastrous side effect? Ever read the warnings on a box of pills from Merck or Pfizer? So, “science” sometimes gets it very, very wrong, too.

You can spout all the “scientific” and empirical evidence you want…but in the end, people deserve to choose what they want…without being hunted down and beaten down by people who have never even lived close to the earth, or close to nature to understand the NATURAL way of living and healing. It’s like attempting to pontificate on a trip to China when you haven’t left Poughkeepsie. These natural cycles and traditional methods of healing, especially from the indigenous peoples that have systematically been wiped out..deserve to be respected and studied because they have been around a lot longer and are more effective and less lethal than whatever Pfizer has.

In no way am I condemning the good doctors out there. The ones who KNOW that their way is not the only way and are open to looking at other healing methods ( Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr Oz, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Gabriel Cousens and Dr Fernando Bassail). But those doctors have vision and understand that healing doesn’t just come from a bottle, it comes from one’s spirit and one’s soul.

And that’s where “scientists” are missing the boat….just as the “earth was flat” to science for a long time. Quantum physics (the alternative scientists) are overturning this whole allopathic medical establishment on its head and hopefully, at the end of this century, this argument won’t even exist. All healing will be from understanding that the mind and the spirit are what need tending…not the body and not through chemicals.

If you found healing with a doctor…great…I think that’s fantastic.One does what one thinks is right for their situation. But don’t denigrate those for choosing another way that works for them.

shilolo's avatar

What were the lifespans of people 200 years ago using indigenous methods? About 35. Today, it’s 80. What did people die of back then? Curable infections like malaria, tuberculosis, pneumonia, cellulitis, gangrene and meningitis. Cancer was uniformly fatal. No one stops people from choosing to die using their own methods.

gorillapaws's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus if their treatments worked they could be replicated in a double-blinded controlled study. People who received fake acupuncture with the needles in the wrong places experienced just as much of a “healing effect” for treating headaches as people putting them where they’re supposed to. Another study demonstrated that using toothpicks instead of needles were just as effective.

Doctors don’t go into practice because they enjoy hurting people. They dedicate their lives to helping others, spend thousands of hours in school and training, and are held to very rigorous standards. Part of the reason that choice is limited is because people aren’t very good at making these types of complex decisions, and can fall prey to marketing trickery (and yes, the Appel to Nature fallacy is a marketing gimmick). See this list of adverse effects of herbs; they can be dangerous as well.

You don’t think “Big Pharma” would love to bypass expensive trials used to prove efficacy and safety, and just market these drugs directly to people? There are laws that “limit our choice” that are there to protect us from “Big Pharma” or anyone else who wants to make a medical claim. The government needs to close the remaining marketing loopholes that allow a product to seem like it helps treat an illness without evidence to back up such claims.

Just remember when you read the description for a product that claims it “boosts the immune system,” that translates into: “I would love to call myself a medicine, but there is no evidence that I actually work, or am safe, so I’ll just make this generic claim instead.”

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

@gorillapaws.

You and millions of others elevate doctors to GOD-HOOD. No matter how many hours of studies they have…they are HUMAN. Humans make mistakes.

And frankly, some of those humans killed members of my family while protected under the arm of the AMA…so forgive me, if I don’t stand up and cheer at your clinical remarks that come out of books and stats that really are useless in the long run because you are dealing with human beings something that you are NOT TAUGHT IN MEDICAL SCHOOL.

Once again, you go on and on about how “bad” natural healing methods/herbs are…but never talk about the poisons that has a million side effects that the FDA approves…

How ridiculous.

Uh…and just to say this…the indigenous peoples lived long lives until the white men came in with their diseases (and bad medicine) and systematically began wiping them out. Funny how you forgot that part.

I have nothing more to say….I figure the deaths of my family members is enough of a testament to the efficacy of Big Pharma and the AMA regime.

shilolo's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus What is your proof that your family members died as a consequence of medical actions as opposed to as a consequence of diseases themselves. Also, where is your proof that indigenous peoples lived long lives? On what anthropologic data is that based?

Are you aware of new research that many indigenous peoples that died of infections (like the Aztecs) died because of an epidemic of hemorrhagic fever (like today’s Ebola Virus) and not from small pox (and other diseases)? Check out the lifespans of white people from 1850 to the modern era and you will see a doubling of lifespans owing primarily to better nutrition, public health, vaccines and medicines.

gorillapaws's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus Where did I say doctors are infallible gods? Sure any individual can make mistakes, but I can guarantee you that the totality of modern medicine has done a pretty damn good job curing things that would have otherwise been a death sentence several decades ago. If alternative therapies are so wonderful, why can’t they produce any scientific evidence for their claims?

I’m sorry that you lost family members. Chemo drugs aren’t prescribed lightly, and are done out of desperation for treating an otherwise terminal illness. They do save lives however, and this is something we never hear much about in the media. People beat cancer with radiation and chemo everyday. I’m sorry your family members weren’t among them.

As for the fact that MD’s aren’t taught to treat the person, that is pure bullshit. Doctors are required to undergo a residency that involves years of hands-on bedside manner training. You can’t just read books, pass your boards and get your degree, it’s a very hands-on thing that involves years of practical training.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus “No matter how many hours of studies they have…they are HUMAN. Humans make mistakes.”
I know of doctors for whom performing heart bypasses are like tying a shoelace. Yes, they do make mistakes, but they must be accredited before they are allowed to practice, and accreditation is only given when an extreme level of accuracy is achieved.

Fyrius's avatar

Side note: You’re digressing.
The merits of conventional medicine are not directly relevant. The question is whether alternative medicine does any better, or for that matter, anywhere near as well.
Just saying.

I’d like to interject at this point that modern medicine may not be infallible magic and doctors may not be gods, but it’s the best thing we have by a long shot.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Well, thank you guys…for explaining it all to ignorant me. I have seen the light! From now on, I will just ask for every imaginable chemical to put me out of my dreaded misery. Because only drugs will make me well. Only proven drugs can make me sleep, make me well, make me eat and make me feel like a million bucks. And of course, doctors know everything. I am so glad that I no longer have to make decisions about my own body. Gosh darn it, there has to be a chemical for everything, some wonder drug for all my ailments, why bother with things that have been used without side effects for thousands of years? Not when modern medicine is so much better! Who cares if there are pages of side effects? My doctor has been trained (not to mention that he can give me free drugs because he has closets filled with samples from the drug companies who are courting his business!) I am so happy that now medicine can cure me completely of everything that is wrong with me. How lovely! I feel so secure and safe now.

Let me go now and take my Prozac…and then some sleeping pills as I need to get some rest.

Signed,

The Stepford Patient

shilolo's avatar

To each his own. Just stick to your guns when you are truly sick. Natural selection at work…....

gorillapaws's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus Doctors typically prescribe as little medication as is necessary.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus That is not at all what I was saying. I see first hand every day that doctors are fallible, but that does not make naturopaths, aromatherapists etc. an alternative. Some doctors do over-medicate and over-diagnose, and some GPs and ED doctors don’t know the first thing about medical imaging, but the profession as a whole relies on evidence based practice rather than traditions or junk science.

That said, my girlfriend uses traditional Chinese medicines for some things, and they have worked well so far. I don’t have a problem with alternatives for minor ailments, because there is little to lose if they don’t work, but when it comes to more serious matters ‘alternative medicine’ is a misnomer, because it is not an alternative at all.

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