Sexy Alternative Medicine

Why waste your money on medical insurance when a new-age dork and a Russian hottie have the answers? Massage your problems away.

A member of my family was recently diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, a condition involving the esophagus, stomach, and diaphragm. He spent two nights in a real hospital where he was examined by actual doctors. He received a blood transfusion and underwent a battery of unpleasant tests. His initial symptoms were  severe fatigue and a persistent dry cough. An abnormality in a blood test, found during a routine checkup, is what got the whole process rolling. He was found to be dangerously anemic –his red blood cell count was way too low. He’d been slowly bleeding for months from stomach ulcers caused by the hernia. And his body no longer had enough iron to make up for the loss. He’ll be fine thanks to science-based medicine.

Now, the alternative as found on YouTube: Holding up a person’s arm and poking them in various abdominal locations is somehow supposed to diagnose a hiatal hernia. And a gentle and arousing stomach massage is in some way going to correct it. Most everything the man in the video said about this type of hernia is incorrect. Many of the symptoms associated with hiatal hernias are actually nonspecific and could be caused by more serious conditions like cancer. That’s why my family member had an array of intrusive tests, to check for all the possibilities, and to rule out the worst.

The vagueness of “alternative” medicine lends it perfectly to fraud and disastrous outcomes. All you have to do is perform a useless examination, then provide the patient with a bogus untestable (by alternative means) diagnosis. Finally, recommend an innocuous treatment (like massage) and hand over the bill. You’re done, unless you’ve mistakenly lulled the patient into thinking they have a mild ailment, when in fact they have a deadly disease; then you’re a menace to society.

6 Comments

Filed under Science, Skepticism

6 responses to “Sexy Alternative Medicine

  1. Pieter

    I wish you would not generalize so easily on matters you may know little about. More than 50% of allopathic drugs are derived from botanicals; many used in traditional medicinal systems but civilizations with a long history of healing. Sure there are quacks out there who try to get a free ride on the label of alternative medicine, but don’t trash the rest.

  2. thedarwinreport

    “More than 50% of allopathic drugs are derived from botanicals”

    So what? Not all plants have healing powers, and most “alternative” practitioners have neither the qualifications, nor the desire, to actually put the plants that might work through a rigorous scientific test. That’s why it all quackery; there’s no methodology or standards for diagnosis or treatment. Anyone can set up shop and call themselves a healer. And the man in the video is not on the fringe; it’s common for “alternative” practitioners to offer this type of useless diagnosis.

  3. Second Opinion

    First of all, an estimated 200,000 people die each year in the US from “preventable medical errors”. These are real doctors killing real people using real medicine and real science. So your family member has been lucky. So far. Check out the statistic in a two-year-old post on Scientific American’s blog–http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=deaths-from-avoidable-medical-error-2009-08-10

    Second of all, stuck in your head as you appear to be, you may lack the ability to evaluate a medical procedure or treatment–including a massage or a homeopathic treatment. Most people who use alternative medicine, however, are more in touch with themselves. They know what they need and they know when they need to go to a doctor. It’s probably inconceivable to you because you are a true believer in the medical myth that people need doctors and sensors to know what’s going in their bodies. The problem with any kind of health practitioner occurs when the patient farms out 100% of the responsibility for her own well-being to someone who carries a stethoscope around her neck. It’s your religion. No different than trusting a priest with your moral state.

    Third of all, “Many of the symptoms associate with hiatal hernias” is illiterate. If you are going to be smarter than everyone else and arrogant about it you have to be perfect.

  4. thedarwinreport

    If you are going to be smarter than everyone else and arrogant about it you have to be perfect.

    If you’re going to attack me for making a typo, all I can say is you’re fucking small-minded and petty. I guess it’s too much to ask for you to address the points I made. And apparently, you think you’re “smarter than” most doctors. Talk about arrogant.

    Second of all, stuck in your head as you appear to be, you may lack the ability to evaluate a medical procedure or treatment–including a massage or a homeopathic treatment.

    No one outside “alternative” medicine seems to be able to understand these fuzzy procedures. That’s the problem, and it’s the core of the fraud.

    First of all, an estimated 200,000 people die each year in the US from “preventable medical errors”.

    The fact that medicine errs isn’t a tenable argument for “alterantive” medicine. Viable alternatives have to adhere to some scientific methodology, which was my point in the original post. Where’s the data supporting it or the testable hypotheses? So far “alternative” medicine practitioners have only provided anecdotal, feel-good stories.

  5. Student of knowledge

    If we do research we will discover that medical science does not have a cure for chronic sleep paralysis patients. However, islamic healers have been curing these patients with the use of the Quraan for centuries…it is known by these healers as witchcraft and demon problems but science named it “sleep paralysis” in modern times. It’s the same problem with different names. Islam had the cure for it over 1400 years ago and yet science incorrectly states that there is no cure for it today.
    To verify this I challenge anyone to find a muslim patient who is diagnosed with sleep paralysis and tell him to consult a reliable islamic healer regarding the problem. You will begin to understand that alternative healing has answers to problems that medical science cannot comprehend:)

    “Only the patient can tell you what really cured him”

  6. Keneth Shugart

    Hernia can be best remedied through surgery. Hernia can be also hereditary and there is not much you can do about it. *’*,;

    Take care http://foodsupplementdigest.com/high-potassium-foods/

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