Today, I will be ranting about natural medicine. Now let me just start off by saying, I’m sure natural medicine has helped a lot of people. Anything that helps people take better care of their health is a good thing, and sometimes simple changes can make a big difference to your wellbeing. Paying a bit of attention to your diet, nutrition and lifestyle can obviously have a positive effect on your health (DUH!).
HOWEVER. I do not believe that it can replace medicine, and um SCIENCE and stuff with evidence. I think that complementary therapies should be just that – something to compliment medical treatment, but not replace it. It’s not a case of “one or the other”. Medicine is not “against” proper diet, exercise, nutrition and healthy lifestyles. And NO, doctors are not in conspiracy with “big pharma”.
The fact is, most people neglect their health for so long that medicine IS warranted. That’s not the fault of doctors, it’s people not being responsible for their own health. And a few magical herbs isn’t going to fix a lifetime of poor choices. Likewise, some people get sick for no good reason – cancer, haemophillia, kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, metabolic conditions, syndromes, mental illness – the list goes on, and these people probably wouldn’t be around if diagnoses and treatments weren’t developed by science and medicine.
So, you probably heard about the shit storm that resulted from Sarah Wilson’s comments about vaccination as one of Kochie’s “angels” (puke). It was incredibly irresponsible of her to make ignorant comments that questioned the safety of vaccinations, considering she is completely uninformed and uneducated about the subject.
It didn’t take long for hoards of equally uninformed and uneducated supporters to post on her blog about the subject and refute any comments made by logical vaccination supporters. I honestly could not fathom how completely delusional these people were, and how they apparently lacked any skills in evaluating what they read. Some quack says that vaccines contain “toxins” and they quote it as gospel? Yet when they are provided with solid evidence from medical journals that explain how the risk of vaccinations is minuscule compared to the risk of serious disease, they believe it is some kind of “conspiracy”. Seriously, madness.
It doesn’t help when this sort of idiocy is supported by publications such as the Herald’s Body and Soul, citing naturopaths who reckon vaccines contain “toxic” ingredients. And for fuck’s sake – vaccinations do not cause autism, learn the difference between causality and coincidence.
Sadly, the quakery is not limited to vaccinations. It seems to be popular to ignore all medical advice and seek your health care from some form of hippie, homeopath or other self-confessed health guru. Medicine? No way! Just eat some organic paleo superfoods, you’ll be fine! Oh and you better give up sugar, don’t you know how TOXIC it is? Forget food, actually, you better just start a juice cleanse.
Another hot topic is fertility. Now, as a nurse, I have spoken to a couple of fertility and IVF experts about this, and the overwhelming answer about why women are having trouble conceiving is, (DUH) – AGE. Women are waiting until they are older to have kids. Some people smoke, they drink, they are overweight, they don’t have a good diet. This is not good for our eggs and not conducive to getting pregnant (again, DUH). Obviously if you want to get pregnant, you should be healthy, have a good diet, exercise, and limit alcohol. However, this has opened a whole new market of bullshit – natural fertility.
Just a quick google search and you will find a myriad of natural fertility services, making some pretty big claims. I’m not trying to personally target any particular people, but just trying to highlight the fact that some “natural” health practitioners make some pretty extraordinary promises, without much evidence.
One fertility naturopath claimed that the pill is draining your body of nutrients. Sorry, but how exactly does that work? Which evidence-based, peer-reviewed or double-blind study did you use to come to that conclusion? Do you have any statistics or laboratory data to back that up? What does this process involve? The same naturopath also claims that all contraception comes with “Seriously nasty” side effects. You know what else is a pretty nasty side effect? PREGNANCY AND UNWANTED BABIES. She goes on to suggest that cervical dysplasia detected from abnormal pap smears should not be treated… yeah because cervical cancer is awesome!
If you’re like me, you’ve had enough of this bullshit. It’s bad enough that there are people out there making extraordinary claims with little evidence and questionable credentials, but even worse that they take advantage of gullible people, AND charge them a small fortune for the privilege.
If you want to see a natural practitioner, good for you. Just don’t start getting all high and mighty about how you’re not vaccinating your kids because some misinformed celebrity said it’s messing with nature. You are not an expert. Celebrities are not experts. The scientists who conducted thorough experiments to assess the safety, effectiveness and importance of vaccinations ARE EXPERTS.
Please don’t rub everyone else’s face in it, and please do your research. Ask them for their credentials or qualifications, and do so in collaboration with your general practitioner. Are they registered with the relevant regulatory boards? Can you claim them with your health insurance? Do they have a provider number?
And if they start lecturing you about how bad western medicine is, RUN AWAY.