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

From: Tjalle T Vandergraaf <>
Date: Thu Dec 22 2005 - 13:15:19 EST

I used to be very sceptical of non-Western cures until I ended up with an
excruciating pain in my back on a visit to Korea. I've had back problems for
some years and, this time, the pain was so severe that I had to crawl to the
bathroom. A friend took me across town to a hospital. I was rolled into
the hospital in a wheelchair. The attending physician had me lie on my back
and probed around the affected area for less than a minute and then asked me
to sit up. As I slowly managed my body in a sitting position, I noticed
that the pain was gone. I was then sent to a physiotherapy unit and had my
sore muscles massaged with electrodes for about 20 minutes. The next day I
took the train back to Seoul and I was able to fly home the day after,
without any pain.

A year later, my back went out again. This time, I saw our family doctor and
told him what treatment I had in Korea. His response, "We don't do that
sort of thing here." Since then, the local physiotherapist has started to
use electrodes to massage muscles as well, so there is a change in attitude.

Chuck Vandergraaf

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Michael Roberts
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2005 2:08 AM
To:; D. F. Siemens, Jr.
Subject: Re: Alternative Medicine (was Re: Skepticism - its uses and abuses)

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 13:18:39 2005

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