Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Acupuncture – Disconnected from Reality

Posted in Science Based Medicine by Skepdude on March 18, 2009

The primary goal of science-based medicine (SBM) is to connect the practice of medicine to the best currently available science. This is similar to evidence-based medicine (EBM), although we quibble about the relative roles of evidence vs prior plausibility. In a recent survey 86% of Americans said they thought that science education was “absolutely essential” or “very important” to the healthcare system. So there seems to be general agreement that science is a good way to determine which treatments are safe and work and which ones are not safe or don’t work.

The need for SBM also stems from an understanding of human frailty – there are a host of psychological effects and intellectual pitfalls that tend to lead us to wrong conclusions.  Even the smartest and best-meaning among us can be lead astray by the failure to recognize a subtle error in logic or perception. In fact, coming to a reliable conclusion is hard work, and is always a work in progress.

There are also huge pressures at work that value things other than just the most effective healthcare. Industry, for example, is often motivated by profit. Institutions and health care providers may be motivated by the desire for prestige in addition to profits. Insurance companies are motivated by cost savings. Everyone is motivated by a desire to have the best health possible – we all want treatments that work safely, often more so than the desire to be logical or consistent. And often personal or institutional ideology comes into play – we want health care to validate our belief systems.

These conflicting motives create a disconnect in the minds and behaviors of many people. They pay lip service to science-based medicine, but are good at making juicy rationalizations to justify what they want to be true rather than what the science supports. We all do this to some degree – but, in my opinion, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a cultural institution that is built upon these rationalizations.  It is formalized illogic and anti-science conceals as science under a mountain of rationalizations.

Some recent news items and reports dealing with acupuncture demonstrate this disconnect quite well.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT “SCIENCE BASED MEDICINE”

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Alt med galore!

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on January 23, 2009

Did you know that sales of herbal formulas for cleansing, detoxification and organ support among natural food retailers were more than $27 million from Dec. 2, 2007, to Nov. 29, 2008 and that 54 food and drink products were launched in 2008 with the word “detox” in their descriptions — up from 15 in 2003? Why is that you ask?

“Western medicine is treating the symptoms instead of addressing the root cause,” said Edward F. Group III, a Houston-based naturopath with theholisticoption.com, an online resource for the alternative wellness community. “We basically have a world that’s constipated. It’s like if you change your oil in your car but never change the oil filter. Ultimately it gets so full of sludge the engine’s going to break down.”

Holy shit! Treat the root cause…fucking genius! I wonder what these geniuses think transplants are! Symptom treatments?

In fact this holistic approach is so, well inclusive, that this one stumbled across it… on her massage parlor:

I saw this first-hand in my massage practice when a client came in complaining of neck pain. As I began the massage I followed a line of tension all the way down the back, to the hips. Later I found increased muscle tension and decreased range of motion in the muscles of the leg as well. As I began to work this myofascial restriction the client mentioned, “Oh yeah – I hurt my knee 6 months ago, I forgot to tell you.” Even though it didn’t seem related to the client, the pattern of compensation set up in the body because of the knee injury, caused an imbalance in the body. The client felt the pain in the neck, but the root of the problem began in the leg.

Get it? Treat the cause not just the symptom. This guy bumped his knee and he got a stiff neck. 6 MONTHS LATER! That’s just amazing biologically speaking…amazing! I’m sure no modern, close-minded, cynical, western educated doctor could have helped him. No sir, you need a masseuse for this kind of shit, nothing less will do!

And you’d better look for this sort of help because, aparently “the American medical establishment crumbles around us — dying from its own greed, government neglect, a corrupt insurance system, and the disgusting excesses of the pharmaceutical industry“. Run for your life! Oh, sweet sounds of neck crackig chiropractors where art thou?

And let’s not let the western alternative medicine practitioners get all the credit. Let us not forget that fabulous Indian treasure, Ayurveda. Did you know it is to be credited for George Clooney’s and Madonna’s good looks? And also, the French President’s secret of stamina at this age is the special secret massages by alternative medicine expert Jean-Paul Moureau! Oui, oui! And why not, after all:

Ayurvedic massages just don’t end at skin care or relaxation. It is aimed at holistic well-being: meeting your physical, spiritual and emotional needs. During a massage session, the specialised masseuse transforms positive energy into the body thereby creating a feel good factor.” It’s about the environment in the spa — the oils used, the background music and the traditional techniques — that do wonders to one’s health.

The wonder…THE WONDER! I’m wonder-ified, aren’t you? And you didn’t think I’d leave without a tip of the heat to good ol’ Christianity now did you?

Much of alternative medicine has sound biblical applications in health and healing of disease. We need more representation in Christendom for this powerful healing system, which is predominately embraced by other belief systems.

In my experience as a Christian physician, I have seen fellow believers embrace teachings like this and accept some very clear pagan practices and count them as being permissible in Christian experience. I am not sure if they read the same Bible as I do, but I get clear instruction from the Scripture that pagan practices break the very first command that God gave to humankind, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

I wonder if this guy puts up a tree for Christmas? Can someone inform him that this is a pagan practice, lest he end up glorifying a God other than the real one that is?

Oh and one last thing, if you’re supposed to be on a low iodine diet as treatment for thyroid cancer, you may want to steer clear of supplements. My favorite words from that article: Voodoo Medicine! Precious words for sure!

My New Product: All Natural Pb®

Posted in Denialism by Skepdude on August 31, 2008

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “DENIALISM”

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CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ORIGINAL ENTRY AT “DENIALISM”