Thursday, October 21, 2010

Are Western Doctors God, Or What?

Before I started this blog, I tried starting another big Internet project.  I wanted to do a ratings/review website for new age/occult/spiritual services. Sometimes people want to see something like a medium or past life regression therapist. They may want their Tarot cards read. They might want to go to some type of spiritual healer.

I thought it would be nice if people had somewhere to go for recommendations, and also a place to read warnings about bad experiences.

Some people would think this is absolutely foolish. They think ALL occult/New Age workers are awful. There is no bad and good ones. They're all out there for steal your money. Period.

I disagree with those beliefs, and I wasn't making the site for those types of people. I was making it for people like me.  I'm a believer in that stuff, but I also believe there are total fakes out there.    Some fakes know they're fakes, and are just trying to trick people into parting with their money.   Some people believe they have powers. They fool themselves as much as their gullible customers.    But I do think there are some who have talent; and there are some who provide a helpful, comforting, interesting, and/or entertaining service. 

My project failed.  Well, I guess I should say I failed my project.  I tried to use Joomla, and I found it to be too difficult. I guess someday I could try again.   Maybe use a blog, and have people do reviews on it?  I don't know. It's hard to find participation on these things.  At least it's hard for me.

I COULD go around the country and go to these spiritual healer occult people on my own. That would be fun. Maybe. I think it might get expensive though. Plus, I don't think I could handle it. I hate having appointments. 

Anyway, I thought about all this when I saw an editorial about naturopaths being regulated in Australia.  It was written by Jon Wardle who is the Director of the Network of Researchers of Public Health in Complementary and Alternative Health.  This network is part of the University of Queensland. I'm not sure if they're believers in alternative health, or just open-minded about it. I do know that Wardle is in support of the regulation though.   

I'm looking at their website.  From a quick glance, it seems they do support least somewhat.  

What I get from Wardle's editorial is that he believes NOT having regulation of naturopaths can be dangerous.  Despite what some people believe, it's not just a fringe thing.  It's become quite popular.   He says that 1/10 Australians see a naturopath, and the statistics go up for people dealing with a serious illness.

When something is not regulated, it's very easy to just open up a business and start treating people.    People can make money this way without any training or credentials. 

Oh....I'm reading this editorial more closely the second time. Wardle says this new regulation is going to be an independent entity.  He believes it needs to be handled by the government.

Here's their website.    Their site says, the Australian Register of Naturopaths and Herbalists has been established to provide minimum standards of education and practice for naturopathy and herbal medicine. The Board will develop this independent register which aims to mirror government requirements for the regulation of health practitioners. 

One thing that would concern me is that they'd turn it into another profession where people are needlessly forced to get a university education.  Uni is definitely a valid choice for some. But I think there are other ways to be educated. For example, someone might educate themselves by reading, going to seminars, acting as an apprentice to other practitioners, etc.   I would hope there'd be some way of testing someone's qualifications rather than insisting they have a degree.  

Some folks don't have one little concern.  They're outraged that this regulation thing is happening.   They think it will lend credibility to something they see as being complete crap.  That attitude seems a bit arrogant to me.   But besides that.....this alternative healing stuff is already very popular. So instead of worrying that it might become more popular, I think it's more important to concern ourselves with those who already do believe. 

It's interesting, and sometimes actually aggravating to read the comments on Wardle's editorial.    Professor Rosseforp says Entry to standard medical courses is extremely high -- only the brightest get in. They are taught by the brightest people who are well-schooled in the scientific method.
By contrast, entry to naturopathic colleges is open to anyone who will pay, and is taught -- in some cases -- by people who are unable to spot errors of logic, or who are simply incapable of interpreting statistics to create a strong evidence base.

I wish I lived in Rosseforp's universe!  I've  encountered several medical professionals (nurses, doctors, dentists, etc) who are NOT that bright. They might be intelligent in some narrow ways, but then in other ways they're incredibly ignorant.   When advising patients, they often use their own opinions (based on cultural biases and NOT science).

A lot of other commenters agree with Rooseforp.  They love their scientific method and western medicine docs.

Then there's some out there who agree with me. I like what Gary Borman says.  He reminds us that...Modern drugs are just that - modern - with limited knowledge on long term use and side effects. The trials to allow them onto the public are often short, and history has shown misleading, as a few years later products are pulled from the market for increasing incidence of heart attacks and cancers. Many modern drugs DO NOT CURE, they simply band aid and cause the victim er patient to have to take the drug for the rest of their lives and wear the associated side effects.   

THANK YOU!   Why aren't these drug creators and pushers called charlatans? Why aren't there more complaints of them taking people's money and endangering lives?

What's so damn brilliant about the scientific method if it tells you something is safe, and then later tells you it's deadly and dangerous?

People share personal stories in their comments.  Dean says,  These people are mostly charlatans. My wife is terminally ill, and the number of times she has been told "You have turned the corner" by some freakin idiot who has no freakin idea is unbelieveable. Their attraction lies mainly in the fact they tell you no bad news. Their culpability lies in confusing people with bullsh*t cures and fake diagnosis.

I give him credit for using the word "mostly", and I wouldn't necessarily debate him on that.   I wouldn't doubt that there're a lot of clueless folks in the business. That's why regulation would probably be a good idea.  Maybe it would weed some of the complete bullshit out.

While Dean has had negative experiences with alternative medicine, George complains of problems with western medicine.  He says,  I have lost my Mum and sister to cancer in the last year and yes they were treated by the "real" doctors and conventional medicine but we were shocked by the standards of a few of these "real" doctors.   It was a naturopath that gave some relief to my girls. We only wish we had gone to them earlier.   There are good and bad operators in all walks of life.   

I definitely agree.

It's disheartening to see the venom exchanged between the two sides.   It's sad when people are so rigid in their beliefs.  On this particular editorial, more of the venom seems to be coming from the haters of alternative medicine.   But elsewhere I've seen alternative medicine practitioners being way too closed off to Western Medicine. I think the truth of the matter is that people have their beliefs, and they can't handle the fact that other people might believe differently.   They look at treatments they don't believe in, and call it harmful....yet they refuse to see the potential harm in the treatments they personally believe in.