Re: Alternative Medicine (was Re: Skepticism - its uses and abuses)

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Thu Dec 22 2005 - 03:07:57 EST

On chinese medicine I am convinced by acupuncture. I have a bad neck - I
can hear grinding when
I turn my head! It's been stretched massaged but acupuncture helped. I only
tried it as nothing worked. However there are good reasons why it works.

As for orthodox medicine consider old remedies by doctors. I have just read
a biography of Josiah Wedgwood of pottery fame , whose friend and son's
father in law recommended some terrible medicines of no value!

One of my doctors - a GP or family physician- often had the attitude that if
something makes you feel good and clearly is not bad then it will help. That
sounds badly put. There is also a placebo effect.

However I have come across those who waste pounds (ie $1.6 s for David !) on
alternative diets some of which cut out essential foods - more weird than

As you say we are complex.

----- Original Message -----
From: "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <>
To: <>
Cc: <>; <>
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2005 11:42 PM
Subject: Re: Alternative Medicine (was Re: Skepticism - its uses and abuses)

> On Wed, 21 Dec 2005 13:00:52 -0500 (EST) Clarke Morledge <>
> writes:
>> On Tue, 20 Dec 2005, Iain Strachan wrote:
>> > Clarke, I'd be interested to know what resources in traditional
>> medicine
>> > were used - my friends have given up on traditional methods, after
>> an
>> > "alternative" doctor diagnosed something wrong with her liver
>> (something to
>> > do with "detoxification pathways" ) and told them that no-one in
>> the
>> > National Health Service can detect this problem & that it is a gap
>> in the
>> > knowledge of the NHS. (The UK public health system)..
>> My wife was wrongly diagnosed with asthma. She used high dosages of
>> prednisone over long periods of time to try to combat the "asthma".
>> It
>> helped somewhat, but it basically got her endocrinological system
>> out of
>> whack. We were able to make significant progress with specialists
>> at the
>> University of Virginia Medical School hospital. But this was after
>> exhausting every conceivable local medical resources and the
>> alternative
>> ones as well.
>> A number of alternative treatments were suggested for my wife by
>> different
>> members of our church. Some were actually suggested by doctors, so
>> this
>> is where things started to get pretty grey. Various solutions were
>> suggested (and some were tried) to correct her endocrinological
>> problems,
>> with varying degrees of scientific support (if any) behind them,
>> such as:
>> (1) blood-type diet (Peter D'Adamo).
>> (2) muscle testing (derived from "applied kinesiology").
>> (3) herbal remedies, with lots of vitamin supplements (homepathic).
>> (4) staying away from electromagnetic fields (we live about 1/4 mile
>> from
>> a power line).
>> (5) healing touch prayer.
>> (6) Hulda Clark solutions (I finally had to put my foot down against
>> this
>> one!!)
>> The list can go on and on.
>> The problem I found was that most of the alternative medicine
>> providers
>> are generally folks with good intentions. But all of them have
>> experienced some type of disillusionment with traditional Western
>> medicine. Then you combine that with some curious cultural/biblical
>> exegesis: e.g. the symbol of modern medicine, Aesculapius's snake
>> and
>> staff, is viewed as a pagan symbol at best -- Satanic at the worst
>> (note
>> the connection between the "snake" and the serpent in the Garden of
>> Eden).
>> I've heard some rather "creative" theories as to why modern medicine
>> is
>> either excessively narrow or founded on unbiblical presumptions;
>> e.g. the
>> Hippocratic Oath is a pledge of allegiance to paganism.
>> I would argue that there is a crucial need for a biblical apologetic
>> for modern medical science that can help the average evangelical
>> church-goer to weed out the pseudo-science while promoting a solid,
>> Scriptural view of promoting health.
>> Clarke Morledge
>> College of William and Mary
>> Network Engineer
> The situation with Clarke's wife seems to me to illustrate that we are
> exceedingly complex creatures that are not well understood by all
> physicians. On a simpler note, I recall a doctor who, when his diagnosis
> of kidney stones didn't pan out, decided it was only acute indigestion.
> It was a ruptured appendix which almost killed the patient. While some
> diagnoses should be obvious, there are other sets of symptoms which can
> indicate some fairly common ailments, but may also indicate some rarer
> ones--or some that are not expected. I recall hearing of a presentation
> in which virtually none of the physicians recognized that a well-off
> businessman was suffering from scurvy, though the symptoms were classic.
> As to alternative medicine, that based on traditional or tribal medicine
> is probably superior to other approaches. I understand that Indian
> physicians had a time persuading their Western counterparts that
> Rauwolfia was effective. It's been decades since I read Needham's master
> study of Chinese technology. But I recall that centuries back they
> extracted estrogen from urine and used it in the rational treatment of
> female ills. However, because of their traditions, they also used it in
> ways that were not beneficial. Despite the combination of doses and
> spells in the practice of shamans, companies have found it advantageous
> to check out the herbal knowledge of tribal peoples. It's not all
> superstition.
> On the other hand, special devices that have not passed blind testing are
> unlikely to have any worth. I think of a complex set from the '20s or
> earlier, a variety of partially evacuated glass items with a single
> electrode attached to a high tension device. The shape of the applicator
> supposedly determined what problem would be "cured." But one could be
> impressed by the blue glow and tingle. I don't know that Westerners would
> be that impressed today. Most charlatans have to come up with something
> that at least sounds more impressive. Nevertheless, I know practitioners
> that get a lot of mileage out of high colonics to get rid of toxins. They
> come up with a line that is persuasive unless one thinks that the colon
> was "designed" to handle digestive waste, not clear water. But I have
> little hope of reaching the average person with enough information to put
> the rascals out of business. I recall the comment, "Barnum was an
> optimist."
> Dave
Received on Thu Dec 22 03:11:39 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Dec 22 2005 - 03:11:39 EST