Hey All

Posted , 5 users are following.

This discussion has been locked due to a period of inactivity. Start a new discussion

Hello everyone. I am very interested in debates regarding alternative med topics and their skeptical components. It is very difficult to find a forum or podcast where this could happen in a manner which is fair to both sides. I was delighted to find this place! I may lurk a little or ask far too many questions (all well meaning, I assure you) so that I can understand the other perspective. Eager to start looking around, Jenna

1 like, 13 replies

Report

13 Replies

  • Posted

    I'm from Canada. I'm not skeptical of alternative medicine - my practitioner is amazing and has helped me tremendously. I am skeptical of the mainstream though. Fact is, mainstream medicos have nothing proactive to offer me on my particular issues (irritable bowel sydrome - they don't do diet - and vulvar lichen sclerosis - all they've got is cortisone - whoopdeedoo.) I go to mainstream doctors for annual checks so they go on my record, for mammograms and routine such-like.

    It seems a shame to me that mainstream and integrative practices can't work together, because that's what would benefit patients most. There have been trials in the US (at least 10 years ago - it was on TV - I bought the DVD) where that was tried and it worked. Not only did it work, but it cost less overall because the patients got better quicker.

    This kind of cooperation is actually starting to happen in real life, and I'm taking hope from that.

    Report
    • Posted

      Hi,

      Thought I'd comment on a couple of things you mentioned.

      Diet is a big part of mainstream medicine, there are dietitians in every hospital in the country. Your GP can refer you to one as well.

      The difference between mainstream medicine and alternative medicine is that one tests if what they propose actually works and the other doesnt bother.

      Report
    • Posted

      In Canada, hospital food is not very nutritious. Jello, ginger ale, etc. My chef son with diabetes landed in one a few years back, and wondered how people are supposed to get better on the food provided. My choice is to consult with natural-focused nutritionists.

      My integrative natural doctor tests - blood work, hormones, live cell microscopy, and on and on. But the best test, imo, is whether the treatment works. He has miles of files and patient satisfaction that say his treatments are effective. smile

      Report
    • Posted

      Hi,

      I think you're confusing hospital food - which they have to provide for free presumably - and trained dietitians. Trained dietitians have a degree in their field and use evidence to base what they tell you. They also have a good working knowledge of disease and, with your input, can tailor diet plans to help improve a patient's health towards intended goals.

      Of course, he has miles of files, all saying the placebo works. The placebo does work. Unfortunately it doesn't really help when your life's in danger and something with a substantial and immediate effect is required. 

      The good thing about conventional medicine is that it asks does this new treatment work better than placebo. It will randomise two groups, one takes a placebo (alternative medicine) and the other takes the new treatment. If it doesn't work better than placebo it's scrapped. Alternative medicine asks did you get a placebo effect from this, and the answer is always yes.

      Report
    • Posted

      Whenever alternative medicine is tested against placebo, it never works better. If it does work better, it becomes conventional medicine and is actrually used by doctors. Aspirin, quinine, etc etc all came about this way. All are from natural sources. We have now thankfully gone past the point more or less where we have to root around in shubbery to find the next cancer treatment and can design them ourselves. Not to say nature doesn't give a helping hand now and again. smile
      Report
    • Posted

      My bowel problems were real for five years. So how does successful treatment within a few months constitute a placebo exactly?

      When I went to my dental hygienist three months after I started my healthy diet changes, he took one look in my mouth and said, "What's different? Your tissues are much healthier." (I'd gone to him for years.) He called in the dentist to take a look. Placebo? Don't think so.....  THREE MONTHS.

      I definitely wouldn't go to my integrative practitioner with a heart attack. But I would go to find the right diet, natural medications and lifestyle choices to prevent a heart attack.

      The mainstream guys actually pooh-pooh all these efforts, when in fact I'm paying for this stuff myself because there is no equivalent proactive treatments to be found in mainstream practices. According to the way my body was feeling when I had bowel issues, I was on the road to major health problems for which mainstream doctors would have (eventually) given me drugs to alleviate symptoms. None of them ever suggested a nutritionist, btw. In any case, I chose to go elsewhere after a long time of waiting for results that never materialized.

      Hospital nutritionists work in hospitals, where patients are served inadequate food. That's bad advertising for them - bad choice of venue I'd say. Based on my better experiences elsewhere, I've switched allegiance to practices that have worked for me, and that's away from hospitals wherever possible.

      I've had excellent nutritional advice from my practitioner who has studied for years as well - on a molecular level - who is also a GP but recognizes the limitations of that practice within our province/country. He offers way more than just nutritional advice, and I'm happy with the results.  His work provided me higher energy levels, no more achy liver, no more systemic yeast, no more systemic acid levels off the charts, no more allergic skin reactions, and healthier tissues throughout my body. That's *evidence* enough for me. Mainstream institutions would do well to look into more of that kind of evidence, imo.

      I consider myself very lucky indeed to have found this practitioner.

       

      Report
    • Posted

      This contest between conventional medicine and putative alternative therapies is bound to be contentious. I do not think that it is wise to have unfailing faith in pharmaceutical medicine because there are serious questions that have been raised about how reliable some are in treating the conditions for which they are prescribed. Sometimes they simply do not work. There are also questions that have been asked about the design of clinical trials and whether the results can be trusted. The main problem with treating a medical condition with drugs is due to the diversity of our genetic makeup. In an ideal world drugs would be designed to match the patient's DNA profile but this is a fantasy at the moment and I suspect that this will be the case for many years. As I understand the phenomenon, the placebo effect is a cultural construct, and it has been argued that there would be no placebo effect experienced by someone who had no previous experience of "westernised" medicine. Your doctor is a GP so he should be well qualified to detect recognised illness and disease. I say this because it is potentially dangerous to accept treatment from someone who simply claims to have the knowledge. It is positive to keep an open mind and important to question the mode of action of alternative therapies. I think that it would be easy to be mis-diagnosed by a charlatan. I am not trying to draw a general point from the following illustration but it certainly made me think. A contact of mine had been complaining of symptoms like bloating and decided that she was intolerant of wheat. She removed gluten containing foods from her diet and said that she felt much better. Three months later to died from cancer.
      Report
    • Posted

      'She removed gluten containing foods from her diet and said that she felt much better. Three months later to died from cancer.'

      So sorry to hear about this.

      I've heard similar stories - people listening to well-meaning friends. I know someone who got malaria on a trip to Jordan. She keeps herself alive and thriving with natural meds - she's educated herself to a very high level. But she also has decided she's qualified to be a consultant for everybody else's problems. And you're right - that's dangerous.

      I guess my point about my doctor is this. He had to fight the system and the hostile biases for years, despite the fact that he really does have eminent qualifications to help people. Fortunately, he's now gaining credibility with the mainstream. For instance, he is now recognized by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons because he has developed a program that actually helps autistic children. He is being invited to lecture mainstream practitioners on how he does it.  Only a few years ago, he was paying lawyers $400/month to keep the College off his back!

      How many really excellent integrative practitioners would be willing to go through that in order to come out the other side?

      More cooperation, more opening up to different ideas, less uninformed bias, less bad journalism, would make a difference. And the opening up, outreach and acceptance has to come from mainstream because they have the *power*.

      There are very few of my kind of doctor around. As I said, I count myself very lucky.

      Report
    • Posted

      why have you capitilised three months. You've changed your diet and you feel healthier - that's great.

      Why wouldn't you go to your integrative practitioner with a heart attack? You realise you have now taken a position of deciding who knows more about every medical condition, a doctor (any doctor) or a practitioner (with no formal qualifications and little supervision). So the doctor knows more about heart attacks, the practitioner knows more about diet for heart disease, what about leprosy? What criteria are you applying to decide this? Why would the doctor know more about how to treat a heart attack but then, using exactly the same way to acquire information, be completely in the dark about how to prevent it? Do you see how this is confusing?

      Another theory, of course, is that if you had a heart attack you'd know pretty fast if the person looking after you knew what they were doing: you'd be in pain for no reason, and your chances of surviving would decrease substantially (if you don't believe me have a look at this paper showing how the death rate from heart attack has gone down with better medical understanding: http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.d8059. This paper shows the death rate has halved from 2002 to 2010 in the UK - yep halved in 8 years).

      If it's advice on diet or something like that though it's not so immediately obvious. He could tell you to eat more beetroot, or reduce time in the sun, or some other completely unsubstantiated old wive's tale, and if he convinces you he's right - truly convinces you - one would feel invigorated, healthier and probably, even, in more control of their life.

      When I say placebo effect I'm not saying it dismissively, it works on everyone. 

      If I told you - and you completely believed me - later today you would win the lottery. And I told one of your friend's their house was going to  burn down. If you both completely believed me, could you not imagine that having a substantial, overbearing even, affect on the rest of your day? Placebos work the same way.

      The thing is medicine is based on science. Science works. It's all around you, it's how your talking to me now. There's plenty of evidence that science works because you use it everyday. Medicine is based upon the same principles. The drive to better understanding that saw people watching tv in black and white 50 years ago and over the internet in Dolby surround sound today is the same process that medicine uses to improve. Hypothesise, test, repeat, use the results to improve.

      Report
  • Posted

    I think that it is a shame that discussions about alternative therapies and conventional science-based medical therapies are carried out in a controversial way. But I think that this will always be the case if the discussion is driven by the media. Journalists are driven by headline grabbing events because these capture our attention. What matters to both the print and broadcasting media is nothing more than impact and certainly not the results of research-based evidence. Impactful headlines sell newspapers. I reflect on the reports of the latest and earlier panics about foods and diet, HRT and MMR. They deliberately report relative risk, for example, "a 50% increase in heart-attacks" rather than, an increase from 1 in a thousand to 2 in a thousand, i.e. the absolute risk. In the discussion of alternative and medical therapies I want to know what evidence there is to support claims for the effectiveness of therapies. I want to know whether the conclusions are valid. I want to know whether therapies are harmful in the short and long term. This is a very big topic and I am looking forward to having a serious discussion with you and other "posters".
    Report
  • Posted

    Thanks for the warm welcome :-) It feels good to be part of this community. 

    Here is my problem:

    I suffer from migraines all the time and have already tried lots of different thing. Till now, nothing really helped me sad

    Yesterday I read an article: it basically stated that migraines could come from commercial beauty and skincare products and that you can get rid of migraines using homemade and natural cosmetics. Have you ever heard of that?? I thing I will test it during the next weeks. Has anybody else already tested this way before? Would love to hear your experiences.

    Jenna

    Report
  • Posted

    Migraine. Yet another example of a failure of modern medicine, that is if you belong to the school of "thought" that believes that, "Isn't medicine wonderful, they can do anything these days." As you know this is patently not true especially in the case of migraine. You can count the available medicines on the fingers of one hand. Sometime they work for some people and sometimes they are ineffective. I hope that you have seen your doctor about the problem (perhaps many times). Are you hoping to stop the migraines from happening or hoping to treat the symptoms. Providing you have been given medical advice and that there is no underlying problem then I suggest you go for it. You don't have much to lose and maybe a lot to gain. Having said that, I think that it would be helpful if you kept a record of the alternative treatment and the results, if any. At the same time keeping a food diary could be useful and might throw some light on the cause of the migraines. I know someone who suffered from severe headaches for years (migraines). She stopped dring fizzy drinks containing artificial sweeteners and the headaches stopped. Good luck.
    Report
  • Posted

    They both have their place. Used to compliment each other would be ideal. The error falls in that alternative medicines are not regulated so you need to use consumer labs reports to find ones that are actually what they claim to be. All medicines were alternative until about a hundred years ago. Thats where most meds come from but are regulated, made into higher doses and stabilized. They do have some really good alternative meds out there as well. It all gets very over whelming. Ointrest has to s on all this but it is very overwhelming. My doc uses suppliments and meds. I use to see an integrated medical doctor who did both but it was very costly. Iw ish there were more forum where people actually interacted on complimentary medicine it would make it a bit less complicated. I do believe in organic completely amd absolutely in having a healthy diet. You are what you eat. No way can you be defiecent free if your on a high carb soda popping sugery diet. It just all depends on the ailment you are seeking to fix and the available meds and their side effects. Trials are very costly and need so much time so many arent tested as a result. And truth be told big medicine companies sure do not want to loose money. But that said all the alternative medicines need good instructions and to be regulated in terms of whats in them so you know they are authentic unless you see a non tradition doctor. Im very careful with herbs they are more potent the. People realise and if you have a reaction most regular doc have no real understanding of how to fix it so to be used with guidance and caution. 
    Report

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up