The Dark Side of Alternative Medicine and Holistic Healing

Alternatinve medicine is called quackery and is a dangerous fraud.  As Tim Minchin says “There is a word for alternative medicine that works…  Ah yes.  It’s called medicine.”

From Alternet

Some forms of holistic healing come perilously close for blaming sick people for things beyond their control.

By Susan Sered
September 4, 2015

Holistic healing sounds like a good thing. I certainly believe that each of us is far more than a cluster of discrete organs, bones and cells. I also believe that the thigh bone is connected to the hip bone; the mind and the body are a cohesive unit; that every illness experience is embedded in a wider social context; that environment matters; and that the manner in which a healer relates to a patient can result in widely different outcomes. And while we Americans may be suspicious that some brands of healing are nothing but quackery, unless the healer interferes with standard bio-medical treatment (for example, by telling patients they must stop receiving cancer chemotherapy) we tend to see holistic healing as benign” Even if it doesn’t “work” it helps people struggling with pain and disease feel better.

That assumption, I’ve come to see, needs to be looked at a bit more closely.

A number of years ago I conducted interviews with 46 Boston-area complementary and alternative medicine practitioners who told me during an initial phone call that they treat breast cancer patients.

Their healing modalities ranged from acupuncture to Zen shiatsu therapy and from homeopathy to past life regression.

All of the healers explained that bio-medical treatment alone is insufficient because it only targets the symptom (cancer) and not the underlying causes of the disease. (Only a very few of the healers actively discourage their patients from continuing bio-medical treatment.) The deeper, root causes identified by the healers cluster into a few categories:

*Elements of the modern environment or lifestyle that cause or contribute to the rise in rates of breast cancer;  for example, air pollution, computers sending out electromagnetic rays which typically are parallel to the level of a woman’s breast, deodorants and antibiotics.

*Food and drink related causes such as alcohol abuse, dairy products, artificial sweeteners and gluten.

*Personal experiences and character traits including trauma, social isolation, lack of self-acceptance and feelings of resentment.

As I listened to healers (almost all of whom I very much liked on a personal level) I began to understand that through invoking these root causes the healers were actually reframing or expanding breast cancer from a discrete physical disease of a body part to a much larger problem potentially involving all areas of a woman’s life (and possibly her past lives as well).

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Are Vitamins And ‘Natural’ Supplements Good For You?

From Popular Science:

The NIH just pledged $35 million to find out—but it may not be enough

By Alexandra Ossola
September 9, 2015

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced on Wednesday that it will invest a total of $35 million toward research into dietary supplements. Five research centers will spend the next five years investigating the effectiveness of some of the most popular “natural” dietary supplements in the country.

This research is important because the medical benefits of many nutritional supplements are unproven, despite the fact that about one-fifth of Americans take them. Antioxidant supplements, for example, have been found to stave off cancer, among other diseases, in some patients but worsen preexisting lung tumors in mice. Fish oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which may help lower your risk of heart attack, or it could increase your risk of prostate cancer, or do nothing to stop cognitive decline. If any of these chemicals contains a miracle cure—or if health-conscious people are unwittingly hastening their demise—doctors should probably know.

Paul Offit, an infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who has written extensively about vitamins and nutritional supplements, sees the value in these sorts of studies, even if the result is negative—in the past, similar studies have shown that taking concentrated garlic doesn’t slow bad cholesterol, or that the herb saw palmetto can’t help an enlarged prostate. “When patients want to take [these supplements] physicians can say ‘Don’t do it, take a statin instead. And don’t take garlic because it’s “natural”—it just doesn’t work,’” Offit says. The term “natural” is deceiving, he adds, since most drugs are derived from compounds found in nature.

But Offit doesn’t think the NIH’s investment in research will solve the real issue with supplements: a lack of strict regulation. “The problem is getting a quality product in an unregulated industry. I cannot emphasize this more strongly—the FDA simply does not regulate [supplements],” he says. Though the FDA does claim to regulate supplements, studies in recent years have shown that the nutritional supplements sold in health food stores contain varying quantities of the active ingredient that is often different from what is on the bottle, plus a whole bunch of extra ingredients not even mentioned on the label. Earlier this year, the New York State Attorney General conducted an investigation, adding to the mounting evidence against the efficacy of these supplements.

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Fourteen years ago I still lived in Los Angeles.  I got up early that day because it was a primary election day for the Mayor of LA.

When I got into the polling place the election workers were closely watching a small television.

They said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. At first I thought it was an accident, like when a plane hit the Empire State Building. I did my civic duty, voted and went off to get my breakfast bagel.

I called Tina, who lived on Long Island at the time.  She was unaware of events but turned on the TV and filled me in on what was happening.  I hurried home, put on the TV and booted up my computer.

By that time the first tower had collapsed and the second followed. Events that would be replayed again and again.

Both Tina and I had met a woman, who was killed on one of the planes.  My cousin had friends killed at the Pentagon.  Tina knew a family whose daughter was in one of the towers.

I moved to Long Island a few months later.  I avoided Ground Zero.  Then I accidentally wound up exiting a subway near there.

Sometimes revenge is just another word for justice. I remember the videos of the Palestinians dancing in the streets. Hell if they had wanted to turn the entire Middle East (except Israel, our only real ally there) to glass the day after 9/11 I would have said go for it.

Now I think we would have been better off if we had acted more like Israel did after Munich in 1972. They had the Mossad hunt down and kill the Jihadi scum that had murdered their Olympic athletes.

Hind sight is 20/20 and I went along with the rush to war.  So did 70-80% of my fellow citizens.  I can’t blame Fox News, I was reading the New York Times and NewsDay every day and they were rah-rah for war too.  Now we are mired in the 1400 year old wars between the Muslim world and the West, wars marked by imperialism on both sides.

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