FOR ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

AGAINST ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

1. SOCIETY OVERMEDICATES

Doctors are far too quick to prescribe drugs to patients and it’s becoming a serious problem. From the opioid crisis in the United States, to the global rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria, it’s clear that too many physicians are bowing to pressure from their patients and writing out prescriptions. Often the best treatment is to do nothing and let the body heal on its own, even though patients may not like to hear that. Alternative remedies and therapies can satisfy the patient’s desire for a visible course of treatment while also giving space for the body’s own natural healing process, which can be preferable to an over-reliance on drugs.

1. IT’S QUACKERY

There is no evidence that alternative medicine works. If evidence does exist for the efficacy of a treatment then it’s not called “alternative” medicine… it’s just called “medicine”. When subjected to rigorous, controlled clinical trials these therapies and treatments fail to deliver real results. Alternative medicine is essentially snake oil, being promoted by individuals who are either unscrupulous, gullible, or some combination of the two.

2. A MORE PERSONAL APPROACH

Studies suggest that consultations between physicians and their patients can, in themselves, be therapeutic. Practitioners of alternative medicines tend to offer lengthier (and more sympathetic) consultations, and patients who see health systems as too bureaucratic and impersonal can indeed benefit from this more personal touch. Some patients may never entirely trust or feel comfortable with traditional treatments, and may benefit from having alternative approaches available.

2. IT’S UNETHICAL

Knowingly administering a placebo to a patient is deeply unethical. Either you have to tell the patient the treatment is a placebo (in which case the treatment is no longer effective) or you have to lie to them. Also, adopting lengthier and more sympathetic consultations with a physician is something that can be done within the context of real medicine, it doesn’t require sugar pills to make it work.

3. THE PLACEBO EFFECT

Research has shown that the placebo effect is real and can have a positive impact on a patient’s health. There is evidence that alternative treatments harness the placebo effect and that patients undergoing this kind of therapy experience genuine improvements.

3. IT’S DANGEROUS

Giving a placebo to a patient with a condition that could be effectively treated with real medicine would place their health at risk. The placebo effect is also notoriously unreliable, and the benefits even in the very best case scenarios are anyway limited. Finally, alternative medicine are almost always less regulated than real medicine, and some of the more outré alternative treatments may contain ingredients or procedures that could be actively harmful.

IMAGE CREDITS: (C) BigStock – yanc