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Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Discussions about Holistic Health and Alternative Medicine.

Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby really? » 31 Oct 2011, 03:38

Someone mentioned alternative medicine in another thread. Well just recently at WYPR they devoted two hours to the subject.
Tuesday, October 25, 12 - 1 pm: Alternative Medicine | WYPR

More and more, people are turning to alternative medicine (such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, reiki, and natural supplements) in place of traditional medicine. The medical community has even begun to embrace some forms of alternative medicine. But are these therapies legit? This hour, a look at its effectiveness and growing popularity. With our guests: Delia Chiaramonte, director of education at University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Medicine and palliative care physician at Gilchrist Hospice Care; Steven Salzberg, a critic of the alternative medicine movement and professor of medicine and biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University; and David Freedman, Boston-based freelance journalist and author of "The Triumph of New-Age Medicine" in the July/August issue of The Atlantic


I have no basic disagreement in it's use so long as it been properly tested to show it is affective. I do take exception with energy healing claims.
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby craig weiler » 31 Oct 2011, 06:46

I find that it's a tough call. There are a lot of prescription medications that have gone through testing that has been dodgy at best, due to pressure from big pharma. So many of those that are legit only barely surpass the placebo effect in effectiveness. About 100,000 people a year die directly as a result of prescription medication so it's not a slam dunk to go with tested prescription drugs.

You can make a serious argument that people are better off many times with the placebo effect since it has no side effects, is not dangerous and when done properly, has a very good success rate.

Energy healing is being investigated in some long term studies at the moment. Should be interesting.
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby ProfWag » 31 Oct 2011, 21:34

craig weiler wrote:I find that it's a tough call. There are a lot of prescription medications that have gone through testing that has been dodgy at best, due to pressure from big pharma. So many of those that are legit only barely surpass the placebo effect in effectiveness. About 100,000 people a year die directly as a result of prescription medication so it's not a slam dunk to go with tested prescription drugs.

You can make a serious argument that people are better off many times with the placebo effect since it has no side effects, is not dangerous and when done properly, has a very good success rate.

Energy healing is being investigated in some long term studies at the moment. Should be interesting.

I'll tell you what Craig, God forbid either one of us gets cancer, but if we do, you go with energy healing and I'll go with conventional medicine and let's see what happens...

As for the 100K number you presented, that may or may not be true (since I don't see a reference I can only take your word for it...) However, assuming that it is a good estimate, how many lives are saved each year or how many lives are improved each year thanks solely to the use of prescription medication? One estimate I found was that 50% of Americans are on prescription medication to improve their lives. (http://www.forbes.com/2008/06/19/health ... ealth.html) That's 170,000,000 who's life is improved because of prescription medication. Conversely, how many lives are saved or improved each year thanks solely to homeopathy? (I'd be more curious to know numbers if homeopathy was the primary type of medicine over our current conventional medicine.)
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby craig weiler » 31 Oct 2011, 22:56

Oddly enough, I would be cured by energy healing, but you would not. Therefore, you have good reasons not to trust it. But it's moot. I know that I am never going to get cancer and neither are you. You're going to die of something else, (but in a "natural causes" sort of way. Nothing tragic.)

Many prescription medications can and do help, but their use needs to be weighed against their side effects and the alternatives, many of which are better. Suicide is a side effect of some anti-depressant medications for example.

I mean seriously, should we be taking medicine to lower our cholesterol or cutting the true cause of heart disease, a combination of too much sugar and fat, out of our diet?
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby Arouet » 31 Oct 2011, 23:05

craig weiler wrote:I mean seriously, should we be taking medicine to lower our cholesterol or cutting the true cause of heart disease, a combination of too much sugar and fat, out of our diet?


Why should they be exclusive?
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby craig weiler » 31 Oct 2011, 23:08

Because if you cut the sugar and the fat out of your diet, you don't need the medicine because you won't be at risk for a heart attack.
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby Arouet » 01 Nov 2011, 00:18

Well, putting aside that you can't cut sugar and fat (you need one or the other for energy - what we should cut is sugar - but that's a topic for another thread), the point is, many people are already in trouble and won't eat properly, and others still may develop problems anyway, so why not encourage healthy eating AND also work on effective treatments?
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby ProfWag » 01 Nov 2011, 04:11

craig weiler wrote:Because if you cut the sugar and the fat out of your diet, you don't need the medicine because you won't be at risk for a heart attack.

Since you appear to be unaware that heredity is one of the main causes of high cholesterol, perhaps it best you read up on it before posting? Just a suggestion...
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby Arouet » 01 Nov 2011, 04:14

The point that we should eat healthier to avoid the unpleasant side effects of not eating well is fine. There just doesn't seem to be a good reason to not ALSO develop medications for those who got these conditions. Pretty well every doctor tells you to eat better. But they also try to help you when things go bad.
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby craig weiler » 01 Nov 2011, 05:08

ProfWag,
Cholesterol is not a problem unless it's a dense type B version, which you get by stuffing your body with sugar and fat. Think Ice cream.

Arouet,
The drugs don't do that much to prevent heart attacks and unlike a dietary change, your heart and surrounding tissue will not heal using drugs.
The effect of diet change is dramatic improvement. The effect of the drugs? A minor change. Me? I stay away from sugar and processed foods.
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby ProfWag » 01 Nov 2011, 05:20

craig weiler wrote:ProfWag,
Cholesterol is not a problem unless it's a dense type B version, which you get by stuffing your body with sugar and fat. Think Ice cream.

Do you have a reference for this or is this just your opinion? Oh wait, I forgot, you don't do references. Here's one I'll give you:

Familial hypercholesterolemia. This is a condition that causes high cholesterol levels. What you should know about it:
It’s the inherited form of the condition.
People with this genetic condition face significant cholesterol levels.
About one in every 500 people have familial hypercholesterolemia, and they are at a significantly increased risk of developing coronary artery disease and plaque buildup, and of having heart attacks.
(http://www.everydayhealth.com/high-chol ... blame.aspx)

Think conventional medicine instead of ice cream or psychic surgery.
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby Nostradamus » 01 Nov 2011, 21:27

craig weiler wrote:Oddly enough, I would be cured by energy healing, but you would not. Therefore, you have good reasons not to trust it. But it's moot. I know that I am never going to get cancer and neither are you. You're going to die of something else, (but in a "natural causes" sort of way. Nothing tragic.)

Many prescription medications can and do help, but their use needs to be weighed against their side effects and the alternatives, many of which are better. Suicide is a side effect of some anti-depressant medications for example.

I mean seriously, should we be taking medicine to lower our cholesterol or cutting the true cause of heart disease, a combination of too much sugar and fat, out of our diet?


I simply don't believe you about healing energy. Energy, harmonics, ectoplasm, frequency, etc. are terms usurped from science to give some credence of validity to the pseudosciences.

I am not aware of any studies anywhere that show that someone can detect these so-called "energies" in a controlled experiment. I do recall an experiment done by a high school kid that showed people who thought they could feel energy from bodies could not.

You do discuss prevention. That is important. There are those that fear monger and cause parents not to get their children vaccinated. There are many needless deaths and injuries to children because of this fear mongering. On the other hand there are adults that expect medicine to deal with their poor lifestyles of bad eating habits and sloth.

I also want to point out that medicine has been able to eradicate small pox and nearly eradicate polio. Medicine has dealt well with many diseases. Can the same be said for any of the alternatives?
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby Craig Browning » 01 Nov 2011, 23:17

Energy, harmonics, ectoplasm, frequency, etc. are terms usurped from science to give some credence of validity to the pseudosciences.


I think you'll find that's the other way around; "Science" borrowed from the Wizards, Witches & Shaman numerous terms as well as actual work in order to invent itself. Remember, the first culture to segregate itself from Magick was western "Christian" culture, not the rest of the world, that happened only as the cancer of churchianity spread and the public loathed the ignorance it promoted; the older religions didn't encourage such and have ALWAYS had a semblance of what became science within it.

I've always found it rather odd, how skeptics love misplacing those little facts.
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Re: Does Alternative Medicine Work ?

Postby Nostradamus » 02 Nov 2011, 01:04

Craig Browning wrote:I think you'll find that's the other way around; "Science" borrowed from the Wizards, Witches & Shaman numerous terms as well as actual work in order to invent itself. Remember, the first culture to segregate itself from Magick was western "Christian" culture, not the rest of the world, that happened only as the cancer of churchianity spread and the public loathed the ignorance it promoted; the older religions didn't encourage such and have ALWAYS had a semblance of what became science within it.

I've always found it rather odd, how skeptics love misplacing those little facts.

No. Ectoplasm is a recent word. It refers to cellular material. The term was picked up by mediums, channelers from 100 years ago, in 1923. Frequency is also a modern term. It is derived from Latin. It is used by modern paranormal believers.

Religions and science are very different. Religion has no semblance of what is science today. Science is able to reject traditional beliefs in favor of improved beliefs. In ancient times many civilizations thought of the world as flat. As people began to travel there was a realization that something was wrong. The positions of the stars was off, something they knew was impossible with a flat Earth. Although such an assumption is still useful when short distances are involved it is clear to all today that the Earth is not flat when you travel. In science you can reject ideas such as the universe having been here for ever. You can reject ideas such as global floods. You can reject all ancient descriptions of the origin of the Earth and universe. They all fail.

Where we probably share common ground is in the understanding that what we call science today is not what was considered to be science centuries ago.
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