Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
82 Posts
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Everything Else » Religion, Sex, and Politics

Subject: Alternative Medicine vs. Western Medicine rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
M C
Canada
Lethbridge
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Game group needed...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As a staunch believer in so called 'Western Medicine' I have a great interest in the medical decisions that people make. I'd like to know some of the reasons that people pursue alternative therapies, or why they reject modern medicine.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Well, I probably agree with 99% of your position (if not 100% of it) so I can't speak from personal experience, but only from observation and indirect experience.

* In some ways, medicine is a victim of its own success. We have been so successful in eradicating the major historical causes of death, whereas before science-based medicine, I think people were more inclined to be fatalistic: people got sick, people died, half of your children might not make it to adulthood, etc. But now those ideas are completely foreign. So when a person has something unknown or uncurable and the doctor says "There's nothing I can do," they have a hard time accepting it now, and are susceptible to someone who says "I can cure it!" even if that person is full of it.

* Personal experience is very powerful. We have a hard time separating correlation and causation, so if someone takes (e.g.) homeopathic water (a redunancy, for the folks playing along at home) and then they get better, they attribute it to the water. They don't realize that (a) diseases have a natural cycle, and (b) most people take medicine when they are feeling the worst, i.e. at the midpoint of the disease cycle, and therefore (c) no matter what they would have taken (even nothing) they would have felt better soon.

* People like simple answers. Rather than hearing that the body is composed of phenomenally-complex incompletely-understood systems, each one of which is a legitimate area of lifetime specialization, they'd generally rather hear that "It's all spinal misalignment!" or "It's all energy imbalance!"

I'm sure there's as many different reasons as there are people, but most of what I've heard fits into those categories.

I'd also recommend Simon Singh's Trick Or Treatment. A good read.

Best,
Kevin
15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Plainwell
Michigan
flag msg tools
Mi cabasa esta muy verde
badge
Et in Vantasia ego
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well, I think that non-traditional medicine certainly has a place and western medicine is far from perfect. A chiropractor has helped keep my dad and I out of pain for a long time. I only go when I need to and it helps.

One story I have is that when my son was born he had a great deal of respiratory problems and after this doctor and that doctor, they decided he was allergic to my cats. I was heart broken, I took my cats up to my moms. Out of desperation I took him to see my wife's acupuncturist. For children what they do (or at least my guy did) was have Z sit on my lap then actually worked on me. Now, here's the thing. My wife is BIG into alternative medicine. My mom is a RN, my aunt is a RN, my other aunt is a speech therapist, my ex-uncle an MD. I have a medical family and was really quite sure acupuncture was a bunch of hooey. But I am here to tell you, there is something there... I can't explain why or how it works, but it does.

My cats came back and my son has been fine ever since.

*shrug*

I think it is a disservice to look down your nose at either way. I have a buddy who only does homeopathic stuff. I think he is just as wrong to discount western meds as someone who poo poo's alternative therapies.

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M C
Canada
Lethbridge
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Game group needed...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dysjunct wrote:
* In some ways, medicine is a victim of its own success. We have been so successful in eradicating the major historical causes of death, whereas before science-based medicine, I think people were more inclined to be fatalistic: people got sick, people died, half of your children might not make it to adulthood, etc. But now those ideas are completely foreign. So when a person has something unknown or uncurable and the doctor says "There's nothing I can do," they have a hard time accepting it now, and are susceptible to someone who says "I can cure it!" even if that person is full of it.


Two great points here. I agree that people now feel entitled to feel good all the time. Many people leave the doctor's office disappointed that they didn't get antibiotics for their cold. People don't like to go home and rest. The walls of over the counter cold medicines are evidence of that.

I also agree that people turn to alternative pracices when they can't find a cure through conventional medicine

Quote:
* Personal experience is very powerful. We have a hard time separating correlation and causation, so if someone takes (e.g.) homeopathic water (a redunancy, for the folks playing along at home) and then they get better, they attribute it to the water. They don't realize that (a) diseases have a natural cycle, and (b) most people take medicine when they are feeling the worst, i.e. at the midpoint of the disease cycle, and therefore (c) no matter what they would have taken (even nothing) they would have felt better soon.


Yep

Quote:
* People like simple answers. Rather than hearing that the body is composed of phenomenally-complex incompletely-understood systems, each one of which is a legitimate area of lifetime specialization, they'd generally rather hear that "It's all spinal misalignment!" or "It's all energy imbalance!"


Yep again. People want a concrete reason for their problems. People get frustrated when they get a physical exam, knee xray, and MRI only to be told that everything looks ok. There are people that come in having been told by their alternative practicioner that their fatigue is caused by a low thyroid. They will cling to that 'diagnosis' even after testing comes back showing a perfectly normally functioning thyroid.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M C
Canada
Lethbridge
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Game group needed...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
vandemonium wrote:
I think it is a disservice to look down your nose at either way. I have a buddy who only does homeopathic stuff. I think he is just as wrong to discount western meds as someone who poo poo's alternative therapies.


Anyone who practices evidence based medicine is obligated to be skeptical of unproven therapies. If a drug rep comes and tells you their expensive new medications is better, I'm obliged to ignore them until solid evidence changes my mind.

I'm obliged to poo poo unproven alternative therapies on the same basis. Once there's evidence, then I have no problem recommending it.

That being said, if what you are doing isn't working, I don't object to trying something different.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
T. Nomad
Netherlands
Den Bosch
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I used to be a diehard western-medicine guy. I still am, when we're arguing whihc of the two is a science, and which of the two isn't.

At the same time, I think it's arrogant to suggest that people who are helped by non-traditional methods are deluding themselves. Maybe that shit works for unscientific reasons. I know that in my case, I've had the following non-western treatments:

- chiropractic
- acupuncture
- acupressure
- reiki
- massage
- intramuscular electric shock therapy

Every single one of these has provided me with tangible, positive (and usually immediate) effects. I was skeptical every time I got them, so belief doesn't factor in. All of them did something western medicine couldn't (or provided an alternative to a course of western medicine's drug-happy ways that I wasn't prepared to endure).

But in the end, they all worked. Multiple times. In multiple places (on my body and in the world).

So while I maintain that western medicine is scientific and eastern is not, they are both effective. I further suggest that those who think people who benefit from eastern medicine are fools, are more the fools themselves for not trying something that just might work.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
SH W
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think that a lot of the Eastern Medicine (like acupuncture) works. The only problem is that they lack the usual Western scientific way of presentation. But a lot of research work has gone into it in the last few decades and I believe it's only a matter of time when we understand what's going on in scientific terminology.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
lil li
msg tools
Avatar
mbmb
I think it is silly to completely dismiss either; I know that I echo several others who have posted already.

There are certainly alternative therapies that work. My mom was the queen of alternative stuff. If we were sick, she tossed a bunch of stuff in a pot, boiled it, stuck it on the table, made a little towel tent over our heads, and made us breath the steam. It made me better.

If I we had sores in our mouths, she put sugar on them. They stopped hurting, and healed pretty quick.

If we had tummy trouble, she tossed stuff in a pot . . .

This list of stuff that worked can go on forever.

BUT, when I tore the shit out of my shoulder in gymnastics, dad's friend Val did some funky alternative stuff that felt like she was pulling spider webs out of my skin, and that made me feel better for a little while, but ultimately, it didn't work.

A couple of times I was really really sick and ended up at doctors and a couple times in the ER seeking treatment that alternative remedies couldn't fix. I suspect they should have gotten me to the doctors sooner, but hey, they did a good job. I'm healthy enough and happy.

I believe in most of what they did -- but in tandem with regular medicine. A lot of the alternative prevention measures do seem to work well. I have an incredibly healthy family of 8 (that includes my "medically fragile kid" who needs more attention than most).

I recently brought my cholesterol down 68 points by eating right, exercising, and taking flax seed oil.

I also had a great surgeon in Gainesville, who gave me an entire dietary plan to avoid cancer after he excised the hyperplasia (non-cancerous tumor) growing in me when I was 28. I really dug that he complemented his western medical knowledge with alternative means of prevention as well.

He was recommended to me by my midwives who couldn't bring my iron up by conventional means through two pregnancies because every supplement they gave me caused me to get violently ill (I'll spare you the splattery details). SO they gave me a tea (it tasted like dirt -- really, like dirt), that and a "tincture" to drop under my tongue to help my body absorb the iron. I was willing to try anything, no matter how hokey, because my hematocrit was one point away from being high risk because I was that anemic. It worked! By the next visit, I was no longer anemic. Wild! The midwives also made a tea that wasn't for drinking. It had some anesthetic and antiseptic qualities that were incredible -- seriously, just this side of a miracle, that stuff.

I do think that there are upsides and downsides to both. For example, in the whole having babies thing, unnecessary medical intervention can lead to all sorts of problems. I had five of my six kids with no drugs, which totally freak me out in that scenario. One though, number 4, was a huge, episode of ER-like, emergency c-section.

Okay, in that situation, all the drugs and doctors and totally western stuff -- absolutely necessary. The other five times, not so much. Balance. That's what it's about. Anyone who adheres blindly to one and completely dismisses the other is a fool that loses the benefits they have to offer when they complement each other.

We are too damn dependent on medicine for everything, for lots of things that we can fix ourselves! We can avoid all sorts of medicine that's really really bad for us by looking at the safe alternatives to it.

Sheesh, I'm writing a book again. I should stop.

In short, they work well together. I think that we would all be healthier if we tried the least invasive, least medicated path to wellness first, then added little by little the treatments it takes to get there. It's worked for this little family. This is, by the way, a far more "western" approach than what I was taught as a kid -- doctor as last resort kind of stuff. I disagree with that. Our doctors should be our partners, but we should be free to take charge of our health and try healthy and safe alternatives to aggressive overmedication and unnecessary medical intervention, especially in natural processes like childbirth.
6 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jorge Montero
United States
St Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
I'll take Manhattan in a garbage bag. With Latin written on it that says "It's hard to give a shit these days"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Latria wrote:
I think that a lot of the Eastern Medicine (like acupuncture) works. The only problem is that they lack the usual Western scientific way of presentation. But a lot of research work has gone into it in the last few decades and I believe it's only a matter of time when we understand what's going on in scientific terminology.


The problem comes when we do a study, and the results show that that they don't do anything the placebo effect doesn't. We don't have to understand why something works: we can check its effectiveness against placebo pretty easily.

If, in a study, 50% of patients are treated by an acupuncturist, while the other half just get punctured in areas that supposedly don't help at all, we can easily see if acupuncture actually accomplishes something, or is just a bunch of baloney.

In this kind of studies, we've even seen how medications and even surgeries aren't really what's helping some patients. It's just the belief that they'll be better that does.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M C
Canada
Lethbridge
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Game group needed...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tommynomad wrote:
I used to be a diehard western-medicine guy. I still am, when we're arguing whihc of the two is a science, and which of the two isn't.

At the same time, I think it's arrogant to suggest that people who are helped by non-traditional methods are deluding themselves. Maybe that shit works for unscientific reasons. I know that in my case, I've had the following non-western treatments:

- chiropractic
- acupuncture
- acupressure
- reiki
- massage
- intramuscular electric shock therapy


Massage is often prescribed by 'western' docs, not exactly alternative. Chiro is a bit of a hodgepodge - they do use proven techniques that the physiotherapists or massage therapists use, so not all of it is 'alternative'. Although some of them are also anti-vaccine quacks that do weird stuff.

The other issue I have is that there's not much in the way of informed consent with chiropractors. Some neck manipulations can lead to nerve impingement or even strokes. I've never heard of a chiro discussing the downside of what they do. I've come across a few scenarios where people had 'red flag' symptoms (meaning that something seriously bad could be going on) which either weren't acted on or more likely weren't recognized by the chiropractor.

That worries me a lot as people put a lot of faith in them as being musculoskeletal experts. Particularly when someone sees a chiro as an alternative to an MD rather than in conjunction with an MD. Part of any therapy is recognizing when you are over your head and recognizing signs of danger.

Quote:
Every single one of these has provided me with tangible, positive (and usually immediate) effects. I was skeptical every time I got them, so belief doesn't factor in. All of them did something western medicine couldn't (or provided an alternative to a course of western medicine's drug-happy ways that I wasn't prepared to endure).


Belief isn't a prerequisite for the placebo effect. There was a fascinating study done that showed that the more 'invasive' the intervention, the larger the placebo effect. So a sugar pill gave a 5% improvement, an injection of saline gave a 10% effect, and a 'procedure' gave a 15% effect (all made up numbers)

Quote:
But in the end, they all worked. Multiple times. In multiple places (on my body and in the world).



There have been studies that show that chiropractic manipulation for lower back pain is equivalent to placebo. That doesn't mean that it doesn't work, but that you can get the same effect by doing any old thing.

Quote:
So while I maintain that western medicine is scientific and eastern is not, they are both effective. I further suggest that those who think people who benefit from eastern medicine are fools, are more the fools themselves for not trying something that just might work.


I wouldn't say that one is scientific and one is not. There are plenty of treatments in conventional medicine that haven't been rigorously tested, nor can they be due to ethical or practical reasons.

Once alternative therapies get some evidence behind them, there is no reason why they wouldn't be recommended.

The practical problem I have, is how can a medical doctor recommend (and take the responsibility for) a treatment that has no evidence behind it and no delineation of the possible harms?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh
United States
flag msg tools
All my sins are of omission
badge
Snob of the People
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The main problem here is that "alternative" means a panoply of things, and includes options from the reasonable to the pleasurable to the useless to the harmful.

So ultimately the real issue is whether you believe that therapies can be tested by experiment. While the fact that your therapy du jour is untested does not allow a claim to be made in regards to efficacy (yet), if you believe that your therapy is somehow exempt from experiment, it's likely that you are believing in quackery. All things are subject to experiment. If you are hostile to this, you are hostile to science, and you are playing a game that is not likely to advance the understanding of any medical treatment.

It sucks to say, but every therapy that is included in the current typical "alternative" canon is no better than placebo or worse.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Two things:

1. http://www.quackcast.com is a great (if irregular) podcast by an epidemiologist. He's an abrasive SOB but if you like science and medicine then it's phenomenal. "Metanalysis, schmetanalys!" The Rogue's Gallery over at The Skeptic's Guide To The Universe also regular covers Supplements, Complementary and Alternative Medicines (in addition to other entertaining stuff).

2. I think the title "Alternative Medicine vs. Western Medicine" is a bit of a misnomer. I'd suggest "Unproven/Disproven Medical Treatments vs. Clinically Proven Treatments." On the grounds that there's only one kind of medicine: the kind that works.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
...
South Africa
Cape Town
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One problem with so-called alternative practitioners is the lack of proper medical training and standards. We have chirporactors doing risky things with people's necks, so-called nutritionists giving advice that can cause permanent damage or even death.

Chiropractic should work on certain real detectable problems, i.e. something a medical doctor can see and not the mystical things chiropractors believe. I now know that the neck manipulations they do are actually dangerous and will never let one near my neck again. Luckily the damage done was something that could be fixed. In future I will just stay away from chiropractors who do not also have a proper medical degree.

An acupunturist fixed a problem with a damaged muscle in my right arm, a problem that had failed to respond to normal physiotherapy. Acupuncture does seem to be useful when dealing with this type of problem, although the reasons are of course non-magical. However even though the acupunturist believed that acupuncture worked due to what amounts to magic he had taken the trouble to do various courses from a standard medical degree. There is no way I am going to let some hack with no real knowledge of anatomy stick needles into me.

Ultimately these things must be subjected to scientific research. If they work and are not simply placebos, then there must be valid reasons why.

One thing that really annoys me is the belief that natural equals safe or better.

Quote:
I have a buddy who only does homeopathic stuff.

There is nothing to support homeopathy. I am not aware of any properly controlled trial in which it was superior to any other placebo.

Quote:
If I we had sores in our mouths, she put sugar on them. They stopped hurting, and healed pretty quick.

Salt water works. This is in fact what a doctor recommended I try. I've never heard of using sugar. Regardless, if something like this works then there is a very good physiological reason why. Healing faster may be due to nothing more than the soothing effect preventing you from constantly rubbing the injured area.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
SH W
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hibikir wrote:
Latria wrote:
I think that a lot of the Eastern Medicine (like acupuncture) works. The only problem is that they lack the usual Western scientific way of presentation. But a lot of research work has gone into it in the last few decades and I believe it's only a matter of time when we understand what's going on in scientific terminology.


The problem comes when we do a study, and the results show that that they don't do anything the placebo effect doesn't. We don't have to understand why something works: we can check its effectiveness against placebo pretty easily.

If, in a study, 50% of patients are treated by an acupuncturist, while the other half just get punctured in areas that supposedly don't help at all, we can easily see if acupuncture actually accomplishes something, or is just a bunch of baloney.

In this kind of studies, we've even seen how medications and even surgeries aren't really what's helping some patients. It's just the belief that they'll be better that does.

I think it just means that more studies need to be done. The medicinal qualities of many chinese herbs is one such area where studies bear fruits quite easily.

One more thing to note: because Chinese medicine is not as exact a science as Western medicine, the skill of the practitioner is far more crucial. Simply put, it takes more effort to separate the nonsense from the truly effective element in a complicated remedy.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
pronoblem baalberith
United States
Pleasantville
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Is it just me or do my balls itch?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Western Medicine... also known as Medicine.


10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M C
Canada
Lethbridge
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Game group needed...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Latria wrote:
I think it just means that more studies need to be done. The medicinal qualities of many chinese herbs is one such area where studies bear fruits quite easily.


So shouldn't people wait until those studies are done before trying it?

And ironically many herbs and supplement makers don't want the testing done. If their supplements become classified as medications, then the standards of the product become much more strict.

There have been many cases of toxic reactions to 'herbs' and supplements. Some are laced with other chemicals. It's not the herb that made you feel better, it was the prednisone that was added. These reports are hard to come by as most supplements are not under the jurisdiction of any regulatory body, so who does it get reported to?

Quote:
One more thing to note: because Chinese medicine is not as exact a science as Western medicine, the skill of the practitioner is far more crucial. Simply put, it takes more effort to separate the nonsense from the truly effective element in a complicated remedy.


There is nothing mystical about 'chinese medicine' and no reason why it can't be formally tested.

Skill is no substitute for evidence. Once a therapy is proved to be harmful, or less effective than an alternative, medical practicioners are obligated to change how they practice. It doesn't matter how skillfully I apply that therapy. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work.

One thing non evidence based medicine lacks is standard of care. Without impartial science to evaluate it you can't quantify if a therapy works or how well it works. Therapies in modern medicine are constantly being refined and improved. How can this happen in 'alternative medicine' if there is no accurate measure?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chad Ellis
United States
Brookline
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
hibikir wrote:
If, in a study, 50% of patients are treated by an acupuncturist, while the other half just get punctured in areas that supposedly don't help at all, we can easily see if acupuncture actually accomplishes something, or is just a bunch of baloney.


This is a vague memory from long ago, so it's probably wrong...but I still love it and hope that it's true.

I remember hearing about a study in which people were divided into four groups along two dimensions. Half of them were given favorable reports about the acupuncture treatment they were about to receive, while half were told that it really didn't work. Of each half, half were then treated "correctly" by an acupuncturist while half were treated incorrectly.

According to my probably-wrong memory, the only group to show significant benefits was the 25% who were told to expect success AND who were treated correctly.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drake Coker
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
badge
This is my tank for Combat Commander
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Chad_Ellis wrote:
hibikir wrote:
If, in a study, 50% of patients are treated by an acupuncturist, while the other half just get punctured in areas that supposedly don't help at all, we can easily see if acupuncture actually accomplishes something, or is just a bunch of baloney.


This is a vague memory from long ago, so it's probably wrong...but I still love it and hope that it's true.

I remember hearing about a study in which people were divided into four groups along two dimensions. Half of them were given favorable reports about the acupuncture treatment they were about to receive, while half were told that it really didn't work. Of each half, half were then treated "correctly" by an acupuncturist while half were treated incorrectly.

According to my probably-wrong memory, the only group to show significant benefits was the 25% who were told to expect success AND who were treated correctly.


If true, that sounds like an excellent reason to believe in the efficacy of acupuncture (since, otherwise, it doesn't work).

Of course, the other interpretation is that acupuncture doesn't work. But then you miss out on the interesting experience of being stuck full of needles. So I don't recommend this interpretation!

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
M C
Canada
Lethbridge
Alberta
flag msg tools
badge
Game group needed...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well I had the opportunity of seeing a friend in Korea get accupuncture for his sore leg. First they stuck the needles in, then they stabbed the skin a bunch of times with a ballpoint pen/pin device thing, then then put a glass vacuum cup on and sucked out some of the blood. The final step was to shine a heat lamp onto the area. He was limping badly when they were done, far worse than when he went in, yet he was saying ohhhh yaaaa, that feels way better...

I agree with the other posters who say that alternative and conventional medicine are such broad terms that it almost precludes useful discussion.

I find it interesting that one poster includes lifestyle factors like diet and exercise as alternative therapies, when they fall firmly in the camp of conventional evidence based medicine. First line treatment for diabetes, hypertension, emphysema, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia etc. is 'lifestyle modification' - healthy diet, regular physical activity and, ideally, weight loss.

Quote:
all sorts of medicine that's really really bad for us

Quote:
western medicine's drug-happy ways


These are interesting statements because I see a lot of fear surrounding medications. There aren't all that many medications that are 'really really bad for us', particularly not the ones that most people will see and use. I don't get the huge amount of drug phobia that prevails.

Something else I take home from some of these posts is that bad outcomes seem to be associated in people's minds with 'modern medicine' while the ones that make you feel better are associated with 'alternative medicine.'
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
lotus dweller
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
flag msg tools
Avatar
Looking at this thread I see that our language is not up to the task.
I also see that people are expected to be reasonable in their response to treatments.
And that "relative risk" is ignored.
And that the politics of various professions play in this area as well.
And that the economics of choice are ignored.

The idea that "The only medicine is the medicine that works" appears directly analogous to "The only space shuttle is the space shuttle that works" or "The only brain surgery is the brain surgery that works" or "The only plastic surgery is the plastic surgery that works".

At least we recognise the value of the placebo effect.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
lotus dweller
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
flag msg tools
Avatar
neoshmengi wrote:
I'd like to know some of the reasons that people pursue alternative therapies, or why they reject modern medicine.

Reasons for alternative therapies;
Control - salting a mouth ulcer rather than going to a doctor or pharmacist gives a sense of control in the self diagnosis, the choosing of the treatement, the sourcing from an enjoyed environment and the self application.
Economic - salting is cheaper.
Time - it saves time. (Usually)
Subjective experience of sufferer (sometimes) respected.

Reasons for rejecting modern medicine include; the inverse of the above, and suspicions around the profit motive of modern medicine, perceived dangers of mis-diagnosis and mis-treatment, superstition along the lines of "lots of people that get modern medicine get sick or even die so I will avoid that", previous experiences in which modern medicine failed, and rejection of the accuracy, completeness and objectivity of the research funded/conducted by large multi-national profit-driven drug companies.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
lotus dweller
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
flag msg tools
Avatar
Koldfoot wrote:

Critical thinking skills are not being taught in favor of political correctness. Schools are teaching that all cultures are equal, and therefore eastern medicine is just as valid as science-based western medicine....
Children are taught that western political systems and capitalist systems are the bane of the world. ....


I am hoping you are wrong about this, that you are confusing the teaching of appreciation of, and tolerance for other people's views with teaching the uncritical acceptance of their views.

Anyone here with high school students in the family? Please ask them "What problems occur in countries where tribalism is very active?", and get back to us with their reply.

Edit: 1 Australian HS student replied; Canabalism, fascism, wars between tribes, possibly meetings between chiefs of different tribes but probably not. (Which proves nothing except that what Koldfoot is decribing is not universal in Western democracies.)

We could get an even more relevant view if we ask the HS students, "What are the problems with "alternative therapies?"
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
SH W
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
neoshmengi wrote:
Latria wrote:
I think it just means that more studies need to be done. The medicinal qualities of many chinese herbs is one such area where studies bear fruits quite easily.


So shouldn't people wait until those studies are done before trying it?

I guess if it is a serious and non urgent matter they should.
But if it is urgent, and western medicine has "given up", I guess some people will grab at straws.
In my case, for non-serious ailments, I see no reason to stop using some traditional Chinese herbs that has always worked for me. It seems a little strange to wait for the science to "catch up" to what I already know to be true.
Quote:

Quote:
One more thing to note: because Chinese medicine is not as exact a science as Western medicine, the skill of the practitioner is far more crucial. Simply put, it takes more effort to separate the nonsense from the truly effective element in a complicated remedy.


There is nothing mystical about 'chinese medicine' and no reason why it can't be formally tested.

Skill is no substitute for evidence. Once a therapy is proved to be harmful, or less effective than an alternative, medical practicioners are obligated to change how they practice. It doesn't matter how skillfully I apply that therapy. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work.

One thing non evidence based medicine lacks is standard of care. Without impartial science to evaluate it you can't quantify if a therapy works or how well it works. Therapies in modern medicine are constantly being refined and improved. How can this happen in 'alternative medicine' if there is no accurate measure?

I agree there is nothing mystical. Still, the main issue is "what are we testing?"
I think a lot of the explanations of the chinese remedies are in non-scientific terms, thus making the aim of a research tricky. A simple example would be the research on Acupoints. I don't think we really know what it is we are looking for. They have tried neuro-imaging. Maybe we need more advanced science to go deeper.

As for the point about skill, I am referring to knowledge. Unlike western medicine, there is less common consensus on the "right treatment" on a given sickness. I know there are proper schools now to train these TCM doctors, but I think that given the subjective nature of TCM treatment, skill plays a much bigger role.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Harald Korneliussen
Norway
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
If anecdotes matter... People really are hurt by alternative medicine. A woman I know suffered from atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, since childhood. Now this is an illness alternative practitioners love to treat because

1. It varies a lot with time, thus it's easy to see improvement (regression towards the mean and all that)

2. It used to be treated with a steroid extracted from ox bile; this had many unpleasant side effects by today's standards.

3. An autoimmune illness, it's susceptible to the sufferer's stress level, moods, etc. Belief might be able to do a lot.

4. A more sinister reason: it has a medicine that works almost miraculously, corticosteroids. Some Chinese "herbal creams" have been found for sale in Britain that illegally contained very powerful corticosteroids.

Her parents tried every alternative therapy they could come across on her, but it would ever only "work" for a little while, and some (such as rubbing it with Molkosan, a vinegar substitute) made it worse.

Now eczema may sound innocent, but at these levels, it isn't. I'd link to some images, but they might be characterised as shock images. With the worst sort, your skin looks like a bloody pulp, and however unpleasant it looks, it feels worse - I know, I've had it too, although only cat 2 to her 4. The woman in question (then a girl) was eventually in so much pain that they eventually took her to a doctor, he said it was the worst case he had seen. He prescribed the strongest class of corticosteroid. After two weeks of using it only on her legs (they were still very afraid that steroids would thin her skin), it had disappeared all over her body. Since then, moisturisers, and only rarely a weak corticosteroid treatment, were enough to keep it in check.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jess i TRON
United States
Saint Louis
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The eczema anecdote does not show anyone hurt by alternative medicine. It is the exclusion of western medicine that allowed her condition to become worse than necessary.

Some alternative treatments are ridiculed because we have no idea how they work. Just because science can't explain something doesn't make it false. It does make it a lot harder to use correctly.

Also, the lack of scientific evidence doesn't mean a treatment works for no one. It is possible that we don't have clearly defined criteria that can determine which people would benefit from a treatment.

Alternative medicine, like any other treatment, should be used when the possible benefits (however unlikely) outweigh the risks. It is a fault of both systems that downsides of treatments are often ignored.

Bat girl pointed out the most glaring example of modern medicine's failing: maternity care in the US. Hospitals do not practice evidence-based medicine in maternity care. They practice profit-driven medicine, and liability-minimizing medicine. It causes a lot of intelligent people to distrust our entire health care system.
2 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.