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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:"Alternative medicine" UK documentary 24 jan

As there's been a good few threads on the issues of alternative vs. conventional medicine, I thought I'd post this.

It's on tonight at 9.00 pm on BBC2.

I've no idea if it's going to be any good, but thought I'd mention it.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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shen shui
shen shui

no excuses. no apologies.
Location: aotearoa
Member Since: 4th Jan 2005
Total posts: 1799
Posted:...acupuncture can effectively treat diabetes.

have you ever considered that the scientific method may itself be fallible?

why does something have to validated by western sciences way of thinking for it to work?

chinese medicine, ayurveda medicine, and even maori medicine have been around for many many more years than western medicine, and for all that time they have been effectively treating a multitude of pathologies, even though they may not have been "clinically proven" by the western biomedical paradigm. please be aware that what western medicine considers to be healthy or healed is not necessarily the case. many drugs that doctors prescribe have various side-effects that are Detremental to the patient. not so with chinese medicine (i presume the same for other complementary modalities - TCM is the only modality that i have studied for four years). chinese medicine has no side-effects (unless by wrong treatment, where the practitioner deliberatly creates more pathology).

maybe if western science cant validate acupuncture then it is their validation methods that are faulty. please remember that western medicine is still very much in its infancy compared to the other, more conventional medicines (granted that they have made many leaps and bounds in the past 75 years (as doc said)).


those that know, dont say. those that say, dont know.

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Written by: shen shui

have you ever considered that the scientific method may itself be fallible?




Yes. And rejected the idea that it could be fallible after careful thought.

The idea that there could be a flaw in the concept of testing a theory in a controlled and carefully thought-out manner is patently absurd.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Written by: shen shui


chinese medicine, ayurveda medicine, and even maori medicine have been around for many many more years than western medicine, and for all that time they have been effectively treating a multitude of pathologies, even though they may not have been "clinically proven" by the western biomedical paradigm. please be aware that what western medicine considers to be healthy or healed is not necessarily the case. many drugs that doctors prescribe have various side-effects that are Detremental to the patient. not so with chinese medicine (i presume the same for other complementary modalities - TCM is the only modality that i have studied for four years). chinese medicine has no side-effects (unless by wrong treatment, where the practitioner deliberatly creates more pathology).



This is EXACTLY the sort of nonsense I rail against. Sorry, Shen.

Chinese medicine DOES HAVE SIDE EFFECTS. I give you Ma-huang.

Ephedra.

Associated with heart attacks.

I'll say it again: EVERYTHING POTENTIALLY HAS SIDE-EFFECTS, RISKS, AND ADVERSE OUTCOMES.

Yes, EVERYTHING.

And anyone who claims "absolutely 100% no side-effects" is not to be trusted.

Including Shen, anyone with an M.D. behind their name, and the funny gypsy lady down the street with the odd-smelling incense.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: Doc Lightning

Written by: shen shui

have you ever considered that the scientific method may itself be fallible?




Yes. And rejected the idea that it could be fallible after careful thought.

The idea that there could be a flaw in the concept of testing a theory in a controlled and carefully thought-out manner is patently absurd.



The idea that a particular scientific methodology, or set of procedures, could be improved upon, or could contain flaws, is perfectly valid though.

Quite a few, very harmful chemicals, have slipped through the net of conventional medical testing.

Many alternative medicines do have side-effects (though not all- homeopathic remedies for example are, by definition, incapeable of having chemical side-effects); just as many conventional medicines do.

Yes, alternative medicines mess up a minority of those who use it; equally, the same is true of conventional medicine.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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shen shui
shen shui

no excuses. no apologies.
Location: aotearoa
Member Since: 4th Jan 2005
Total posts: 1799
Posted:Written by: Doc Lightning


Chinese medicine DOES HAVE SIDE EFFECTS. I give you Ma-huang.

Ephedra.

Associated with heart attacks.




the problem comes when "the" active ingredient is isolated and prescribed by itself. in TCM, the herb is given in association with other herbs that harmonize and balance any possible side-effects that may have occured. the herbs are not prescribed if the patient is succeptible to heart attacks. rather, other avenues of healing are utilized.

im NOT saying that TCM has no side effects. when herbs are administered correctly, however, the chances of side effects are extremely negligable.


those that know, dont say. those that say, dont know.

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BansheeCat
veteran
Location: lost
Member Since: 29th Jul 2005
Total posts: 1247
Posted:jeff( fake) - to address some of your points... coleman covered a lot, but heres some more thoughts...



The nutritional courses covered in many medical programs are a joke, drastically inadequate ( both hours and material covered) considering the proportional impact nutrition has on health. In fact, at my university, and many in Canada, the single course that was mandatory on nutrition had the majority of its "information" ( indoctrination?) actually " sponsored" by the dairy and agriculture board. How does that meet the standards of unbiased scientific method? !



Mainstream medicine does not use nutrition in a preventative fashion whatsoever. A pregnant woman might get told to boost her folic acid or iron, but that's about as far as it goes for most. The situation regarding lack of training in nutrition improves, yes, but slowly. And improves due to the publics demand for imformation in that area, and yes, cause the drug companies see profit in some of the nutritional supplements and are hence promoting them.



As for the whole scientific double blind placebo blah blah method, sure, it is a useful way of looking at things. But it is only one of many. If you take the time to analyse some of those studies in depth the conclusions are much less certain then they appear from an abstract. One major study on Vit E and other antioxidants, was hugely reported in the media, published in some pretty reliable places, yet when we ( as a class, fourth year) took it apart piece by piece in an oncology course, found it to be hugely flawed. Everything from the choice of subjects to the statistical analysis of data, right down to the use of a mild carcinogen on the yellow dye coating the tablets to make them look the same .



The study was never contested or retracted in the media, the false conclusion was left in the public consciousness, and who knows what doctors ever had access or time to make the detailed analysis we did and draw their own conclusions. Many rely on the information from the drug companies, and their motives are profit, not health.





I mention this just to point out that it is unwise to rely to heavily on any one system, and to think it is flawless is incredibily naive.



Many many drugs have been removed from use in the last year alone due to reports of dangerous, even fatal side effects that were not seen in the initial studies of their use. And that is when they have been used as recommended. Used improperly, the risks get worse. And believe me, there are practitioners in the mainstream medical proffession using meds improperly. Lots of people have gone to their doctors to report harm from their medications, and interactions between medications.



To state that any individual has enough knowledge to form a conclusion about pulling one or not is absurd, those decisions are made by the accumulation of data from numerous sources -there must be many concrete undeniable examples of harm reported before action is taken. The system of reporting, and the consequential actions taken ( or not) are fallible in a number of areas which I wont bother to outline for you,it would be super long, if you are interested look into it yourself.



As for natural medicine being safer or not, generally, it is, when used within context, with an experienced practitioner. Where we get into difficulties is when people who are trained in the mainstream scientific method take these substances, eg, plants, and use them as they would drugs. They apply their western based methodology, concentrating, standardizing, using in high does in isolation. As shen shui said, that is not how they are used by a skilled herbal practitioner. They are part of an integrated therapy, and the patient is monitored closely. Alternative practitioners often take much, much more time with their patients than a regular GP, and can thus have a better sense of what is happenning with their treatment. That said, there is still risks involved, as always. And people self treating, thinking that all plants are safe, is just plain dumb...



Your example of cardiovascular exercise as preventative medicine in mainstream medicine?! What has the average medical doctor ever done beyond say to someone you are too fat, get some exercise? To actually use the concept preventatively you would have to explain the idea , its importance, the involved physiology, and then beyond that actually teach someone how to integrate it successfully into their life, designing a program that suits the individual needs. I have worked with overweight pateints recovering from heart attacks, who knew they needed to lose weight and exercise, but had no idea where to start, what was safe to begin with and how to make it manageable. Their doctors were not of any use. Programs supporting them in this initiative were few and far between.Sadly, most mainstream doctors work in an environment where even if they had the knowledge to offer, they would not have the time.



Mainstream medicine rarely even acknowledges the healing value of massage therapy- one doc actually said to me it wont do much of anything, just make you feel a bit better. Well, excuse me, is that not the point? !



Basically, I was stating that mainstream medicine waits until someone is ill, dis- ease, then trys radical intervention. Sometimes that is necessary. The major difference to me is that wholistic methods ( call them complementary, alternative, whatever) are methods of health, not disease. For example, you can be under the care of a tcm practitioner while completely healthy, using their guidance and balnacing therapies to stay that way. Even considering your examples of vaccines as preventative medicine, well, a wholistic practitioner would be more interested in building/supporting a strong healthy child who has an immune system that is prepared to respond adequately to the challenge of an infection.



Whew, thats a lot of thoughts, hope some of them made sense and sunk in!

~A


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Mainstream medicine does not wait until someone is ill and gets a disease.

Our patients do.

Believe me, I spend all day every day trying to get my parents to sign their kids up for team sports. They won't do it.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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_khan_
_khan_

old hand
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Member Since: 17th Nov 2004
Total posts: 768
Posted:What I appreciate about so-called 'alternative' medicine is the holistic approach, which as FireTom noted above, considers the body as a whole, integrated system rather than just a bunch of parts.

Mainstream medicine, while it does offer some powerful therapies for serious conditions, tends to isolate the parts in distress rather than looking at the whole. The focus also seems to be on alleviating symptoms -- while this offers relief in the short-term, it is not the same nor as beneficial in the long-term, as addressing the root cause of the condition.

In the States, where the HMO's have such a stranglehold on the healthcare system, it makes sense business-wise, if not health-wise, that the short-term alleviation of symptoms is the focus. It keeps the consumer coming back for more. It isn't just drug companies whose motives are profit over health. I believe that this mindset is also why preventive medicine is given short shrift.


taken out of context i must seem so strange
~ ani di franco

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
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Posted:Written by: blueboy

Mainstream medicine, while it does offer some powerful therapies for serious conditions, tends to isolate the parts in distress rather than looking at the whole. The focus also seems to be on alleviating symptoms -- while this offers relief in the short-term, it is not the same nor as beneficial in the long-term, as addressing the root cause of the condition.




This is a common misconception. As soon as they're done teaching "do no harm" the next thing you learn in medical school is "TREAT THE UNDERLYING CAUSE OF THE DISEASE!"

You treat a sinusitis by killing the causative organism. You treat heart disease by lowering the cholesterol. You treat AIDS by inhibiting the reproduction of HIV. You treat diabetes by re-sensitizing the cells to insulin or by providing insulin if the pancreas isn't making it. The list goes on and on and on.

There are conditions where you can't treat the underlying cause (such as autoimmune diseases, allergies, or genetic disorders) because the underlying cause is either irreversible or not known. And, of course, sometimes you have to treat symptoms while addressing the underlying cause out of sheer humanity (i.e. treating a sinusitis with decongestants while starting antibiotics).

But it is a fallacy propagated by a large so-called "alternative medicine" industry that modern medicine treats symptoms and not underlying causes.

In fact, the central dogma of medicine is to treat the underlying cause.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
Total posts: 13920
Posted:Written by: blueboy

In the States, where the HMO's have such a stranglehold on the healthcare system, it makes sense business-wise, if not health-wise, that the short-term alleviation of symptoms is the focus. It keeps the consumer coming back for more.



Waidaminute waidaminute waidaminute. STOP THE PRESSES.

This doesn't make any sense.

Every time you go to the drug store and fill a prescription, you have a co-pay and your HMO has to pay the balance. A prescription for a name-brand drug for a month is generally US$200-$400. Every time you get admitted to the hospital you have a co-pay and your HMO has to shell out thousands of dollars a day.

So, in fact, it makes perfect sense for your HMO to have a very vested interest in preventative medicine. This is because preventative medicine reduces costs to the HMO. If a patient doesn't get sick as much, the patient racks up fewer bills.

The drug companies do want to sell drugs, of course. But the drug companies and the HMO's are at odds. The HMO's don't want patients to be getting drugs because they cost money. This is why HMO's actually provide doctors with bonuses for instituting proper preventative services. Doctors who recommend routine tests and who treat patients appropriately for the conditions they have (i.e. treating hypertensive patients with an ACE inhbitor) get bonuses because their patients are less likely to get sick and cost the HMO money.

If I sound defensive it's because I am. I get sick and tired of hearing my profession, a profession dedicated to service, to healing the sick, and a profession that requires serious sacrifices in one's personal life being trashed as if we were in the business of intentionally making our patients sick for our own personal gain.

Yes, the system has some work to do, but these broad sweeping generalizations about medicine are so much hippie-new-age trash dogma with no substance to it. "Medicine treats the symptoms" "Keeping patients sick keeps them coming back for more" my god, listen to yourselves. I've heard religious fundamentalists demonstrate more independent thinking than that.

If you're going to discuss the merits of complimentary medicine, then you need to start by knowing the facts about different systems and the statements I've seen in this thread clearly demonstrate a lack of such understanding.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:andrealee- thanks for your post, I thought it summed up well the reasons why many consider the various 'alternative' approaches to health to be of value.



To my mind, one of the reasons many feel the orthodox approach fails them, is, as you point out, due to the lack of time.



This is not the fault of doctors of course, nevertheless, it is a serious negative aspect.



(and perhaps this factor is a good reason for alternative practitioners to resist the temptation to become too focused on gaining credibilty, by becoming integrated into the conventional medical system?)



Perhaps on a more critical note, the orthodox medical establishment often seems to possess a degree of arrogance, assuming that it is the ultimate authority on health; I think that this is also a prime factor in some people being turned-off by conventional medicine.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Doc Lightning
Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Member Since: 28th May 2001
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Posted:There's another issue.

Patients who seek complimentary therapies are often more motivated.

The best treatment for diabetes isn't metformin and other hypoglycemic drugs, it's diet, exercise, and weight loss.

I have seen ONE patient (a 54-year-old gentleman) who lost over 100 lbs (40 kg) and no longer needed any diabetes meds. The rest just can't be arsed.

And then people blame the doctors.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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onewheeldave
Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield
Member Since: 28th Aug 2002
Total posts: 3252
Posted:Written by: Doc Lightning



If I sound defensive it's because I am. I get sick and tired of hearing my profession, a profession dedicated to service, to healing the sick, and a profession that requires serious sacrifices in one's personal life being trashed as if we were in the business of intentionally making our patients sick for our own personal gain.




I think that most people understand the flaws in the health system are unintentional and that doctors certainly wouldn't choose to make their patients sick for personal gain.

But, for the discerning patient, whose prime goal is his/her own health, what counts is the treatment/advice they recieve at the end of the chain.

So, much as it's not the fault of the UK G.P. that the patient is allocated a 5-minute consultation, the fact remains that they feel unlistened to and, for that reason alone, may be inclined to go to an alternative practitioner who can give them more time.

In my experience, possibly the single biggest factor in an individual sincerly giving preference to an alternative option, is that they have felt, on multiple occasions, let down by some of their previous contacts with orthodox practitioners.

We're not blaming doctors,just pointing out that, in our eyes, the system has significant flaws.

And yes, if alternative practitioners had to cope with the same targets and lack of resources, they'd probably have the same flaws, but, fortunately, they don't.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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_khan_
_khan_

old hand
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Member Since: 17th Nov 2004
Total posts: 768
Posted:This post is addressed primarily to Doc Lightning, but of course it is for all to read:

I will admit that my opinions on this matter have been formed by experience rather than research. Youre right that I should know more about the training of doctors before making generalizations. The alternative medicine dogma should of course, as with any kind of dogma, be questioned and not accepted at face value, though frankly its the way the dogma reflects my actual lived experience that makes it so easy to accept. However, youre right that these matters should be thought through more and Im sorry that I didnt take the time to do that and that I caused you offense.

That being said, however, my experiences with conventional doctors have not been positive. Since 1991, the year I graduated college, got my first real job with benefits and started dealing with my own healthcare, Ive had 2 primary care providers and seen 5 specialists. In that time there was a period of four years where I had no health insurance, and therefore saw no doctors. So thats 7 doctorsperhaps more than some, but less than others Id expect.

Ill refrain from giving the full history of my health issues but will share this one incident with my primary care physician which I find rather telling. This was several years ago when I was in poorer health than I am now. I had gone in for a physical and my cholesterol was pretty high, LDL was 162 and my HDL was 38. I was 31 years old at the time. My doctor noted my cholesterol was high, asked me a couple of perfunctory questions about my diet and prescribed me somethingI think it was Lipitor. I dont really know because I never took it. She asked if I ate a lot of red meat and I said that yes I did. She said I should try to cut-out red meat. That was the extent of the discussion on diet. She never mentioned exercise. Never even mentioned it. Just wrote me the prescription. Having some knowledge of the importance of diet and exercise on ones health (though at the time I was not motivated to deal) I decided that rather than take the prescription, I would get motivated. My cholesterol was borderline high not way out of control, and I decided it would be better to achieve the changes I needed via lifestyle rather than taking some drug. So I cut-out red meat, started eating more fruits and vegetables, curbed my addiction to ice cream, and started working out. Six months later I went in for a follow-up and my LDL was down to 100 and my HDL up to 62. And Id lost 15 pounds. A pretty significant change. My doctor asked me if Id been taking the Lipitor or whatever it was. I replied that I hadnt. She was quite visibly surprised, flabergasted one might say, and asked Then how did you get these results? And I replied, I changed my diet and started working out and swimming. Her response? Oh. And she made some notes in my file. She did say at the end of the appointment, Keep doing what youre doing. And that was the most helpful advice Ive gotten from a doctor, ever.

Perhaps I made the mistake of taking this to be typical of the mentality of Western medicine, our less than optimal health-care system, etc. But it was a pretty defining moment for me, and having come on the heels of highly frustrating dealings with a different health issue, it had a significant impact on my views on conventional healthcare.


taken out of context i must seem so strange
~ ani di franco

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BansheeCat
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Location: lost
Member Since: 29th Jul 2005
Total posts: 1247
Posted:Doc, it must make you crazy working hard and bearing such critisism. I know tons of doctors who are fabulous, and beat the system, staying aware motivated and educated, and helping their patients do so. I was just addressing the flaws in the system, not the good points, which are their also. I just met a Norwegian doctor who spends part of each year studying in depth alternative complementary therapies, everything from nutrition to acupuncture to auvedic massage.... Not so he can prtactice these things so much as just know what they are and when their use might be recommended etc... he was pretty inspiring!

"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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