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Magnetic Therapy
Posted: 15 September 2007 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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There is “alternative medicine” that not only works, but often works better than any other form of medicine, yet mainstream medicine never acknowledges it because the medical schools don’t teach it. Once medical professionals graduate, they don’t question whether they’ve been taught about the latest and best medicine that is available. If magnetic therapy were in this category, they surely would have learned about it. Right? You would think so, but that’s not how it works.

If you want proof that magnetic therapy works, you don’t need to look any further than the Albert Roy Davis Research Lab. Davis discovered that the two poles of a magnet each have a different effect. The North pole is the healing energy. It reduces inflammation, fights infections, decreases pain etc. The South pole has the opposite effect. It will worsen most conditions.

In the book, The Magnetic Blueprint of Life, by Albert Roy Davis and Walter C. Rawls, the authors explain how they offered, at their own expense, to show proof that magnetism can be used effectively against cancer. “From 1970 to 1973, our research laboratory revived its attempts to bring our work to the public. We initiated a program of again contacting agencies, research organizations, and other important persons, anyone who might give assistance to the verification of our work for public use. The year 1974 saw the publication of our book Magnetism and Its Effects on the Living System (Exposition Press, Hicksville, New York). Since this publication we have heard from thousands of researchers duplicating parts of our work. Several hundred, including those in university departments in the United States and other countries, have verified our initial findings that negative magnetic energy can arrest cancer.”

Here is a quote in the book of a letter written by Dr. Eng. Stefan N. Naydenov, Sofia, Bulgaria O. R. Institute,  sent to Bengt Gustafsson, Professor, M. D., Secretary of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, S-10401 Stockholm 60. “I would like to pay attention to several facts namely Albert Roy Davis is the first scientist in the world who has made several great discoveries about magnetism and its effects of the living system. He is the first one who speaks about the electromagnetic theory of cancer, and the effects of magnetic fields on cancers (counterclockwise spin). His laboratory findings explain unexplained till now functions in the living system. He discovers the secrecy of the cell on the atomic and electron level. I’m sure that all these materials which I’m sending to you would be used for an open discussion in the scientific community which discussion will tell its last and decisive word.” He and Rawls were nominated for a Nobel Prize, but did not win. That would give them far too much publicity.

Some of their cancer discoveries were verified in the September, 1990 issue of the Journal of the National Medical Association, Volume 82, Number 9, in an article titled, “Evolving Perspectives on the Exposure Risks from Magnetic Fields.” It has never been published in a major newspaper or been mentioned on a TV news program. If you want to understand the reasons why, you just might read the book, Racketeering in Medicine: The Suppression of Alternatives, by James P. Carter, M.D., Dr. P.H. There is, and has been a conspiracy to suppress alternative medicine for many, many years. That’s the motive for “regulation” of alternative medicine. It’s not for our protection, they want total control over it because its popularity continues to grow, and will eventually lead to the dirty truth finally coming out.

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Posted: 16 September 2007 12:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The reason mainstream medicine doesn’t acknowledge the effeicacy of such alternative therapies has nothing to do with conspiracy or economics but with he idea of how something is proven to be effective. You either believe in the scientific method or you believe in anecdote and tradition. If something like magnet therapy passes mustrer according to the method, then I as a clinician will be happy to accept it. But frankly, the Center for Complementary and Alternative medicine has spent millions of taxpayer dollars investigating alternative medecine, and with the exception of some promises early results involving Vit D therapy, and fish oil, has generally found the claims of alternative therapies to be untrue. Now, there are some interesting preliminary results on MRI effects on rheumatoid arthritis, and there is some suggestive but pretty weak evidence that magnets might have some affect on arthritis pain, but the claims you’re making are way beyond anything supported by real science.

HERE is some discussion and references regarding the evidence as it currently stands on magnets as therapy. As for the article you cite, there is a large body of literature studying the effects of huge magnetic fields such as associated with MRI machines (much greater than anything like the little therpeutic magnets sold as AM therapy), and the geenral consensus is that human tissue is minimally reactive to magnetic fields and the risk is extremely small.

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Posted: 16 September 2007 03:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Here are a few studies that say otherwise. http://www.consumerhealthreviews.com/articles/MagneticTherapy/PeerReview.htm

This article sums up our current situation in health care pretty well.
http://www.consumerhealthreviews.com/articles/News/GANGSTERSINMEDICINE.htm

And as for Quackwatch, take a look at Quackpotwatch.com
I don’t recall exactly where on the Quackwatch site, but I remember reading a quote that says something like “nutrition has nothing to do with disease.” Yeah, right.

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Posted: 16 September 2007 06:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Bioelectromagnetics appears to be being treated seriously enough by the medical profession.  However, it could just be that the snake oil salesmen that latch onto any new trend and try to pretend that they have come up with a system that works, based on a poor understanding of the subject are being rightly kept out.  It might be that Albert Roy Davis is one such fantasist who has heard of a new type of therapy and (because it’s new and unusual) thinks it’s a cure-all that he can apply willy-nilly and make claims not based on any sensible studies.  This happens a lot with any new technology -  just look at the old radium fountain salesmen who claimed that they had discovered the elixir of life.  Their premise? “Well it glows in the drk, doesn’t it?”  Their evidence?  “Mrs Green said she was over her cold the very next day.”

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http://web.mac.com/normsherman/iWeb/Site/Podcast/833F918B-485B-42F4-B18C-4AB1436D9B87.html

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Posted: 16 September 2007 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Just wondering who pays for the “consumer health reviews” site. The front page includes a very prominent link to the NHA, described HERE as:

The Nutritional Health Alliance is one of the most active political organizations in the nutritional health community, founded in 1992 in Santa Ynez, California. Organized by consumers, health care professionals, retailers, distributors, supplement manufacturers, mail order and multilevel marketing firms, and industry trade and consumer publications, the NHA became the much-needed umbrella organization to bring together the various constituents of the natural products industry in a single, powerful voice that would be heard by Washington policymakers and regulators.

In other words this is a lobbying and marketing firm for profitable quackery. One of the biggest canards about so-called “alternative medicine” is that it is an unprofitable small-time operation. In fact, quackery is a multi-billion-dollar worldwide scam, involving very large organizations. It has even to an extent penetrated mainline drug companies.

As for “magnet therapy”, the stuff is a total crock. I suggest rereading the Quackwatch article suggested by Brennen as well as the links at the bottom of that page. People foisting useless treatments on the ill should really be ashamed of themselves.

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Posted: 16 September 2007 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The references you link to seem to be comrpised largely of 1) references in reputable journals regarding the effect of magnetic fields on fracture healing, which is an accepted idea in mainstream medicine and so not at all consistent with your conspiracy theory arguments above, or reports from Soviet and early post-Soviet Russion journals. I’m not familiar enough with the latter sources to say definitively, but Soviet science in general was knwon for being quite ideological and less rigorous methodologically than Westenr Science (the long-standing rejection of Mendalian genetics as not sufficiently “socialist” is an example), so I am at least skeptical. If these results are valid, than I do not doubt they will be replicated and validated eventually. There is no evidence that the great conspiracy you suggest to deny alternative therapies testing and investigation exists, and there is still no reliable evidence for the casual, low-tech use of small magnets to affect disease. You undercut your own argument by pointing out the only research which has produced verifiable and consistent results, being that done within the mainstream medical community.

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Posted: 16 September 2007 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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HERE is a web page on magnet therapy by InteliHealth, which appears to be affiliated with the Harvard Medical School. The only thing for which there is some evidence of benefit, as Brennen said, is a pulsed electromagentic field for fracture healing. And frankly even there the site is careful to say only that “several studies” show this with respect to the tibia. There is “less research” about its effect on other bones, or on whether this treatment is any more effective than other treatments.

For all other medical issues they list, magnets either don’t work or the evidence is weak or inconclusive. This is the same as all other sorts of quack medicine.

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Posted: 16 September 2007 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Albert Roy Davis made his discovery that the North and South poles of all magnets are two different energies, in 1936. He wasn’t capitalizing on any “new” discoveries made by others, in fact, quite the opposite is true. He and Rawls discovered that North pole magnetism is an effective remedy for depression over 30 years ago, and they published it in their book, The Magnetic Effect, in 1975. It was about twenty years later that mainstream medicine began to realize this with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, which uses both magnetic poles by the way, so will only be partially effective. Of course, no credit or even recognition is given to Davis and Rawls.

If you take another look at the link I provided on magnet therapy studies, static magnets, not electromagnets, were used in some of those studies. Static magnets are the type that are sold by magnet therapy companies. The fact that so many studies showing magnets have a therapeutic effect have been done in universities, yet are so rarely published in medical journals that doctors aren’t even aware that these studies even exist, and are never, with a few rare exceptions, on TV, only proves my point. The media isn’t telling the truth about magnet therapy studies. They say there is no evidence that these magnets have an effect, but there are thousands of studies proving otherwise. However, many of these researchers fail to understand the differences discovered by Davis of the two different pole effects, and so their experiments don’t show a high degree of consistency.

The reason that you aren’t aware of the true value of alternative medicine, is that you’ve put so much trust in your sources of information, that you spend little if any time reading about what the proponents of alternative medicine have to say or have to offer in proof. There’s no shame in it though. Almost all of the people who are now certain of the benefits of nutritional supplements, magnets, acupuncture and so on, from personal experience, were relatively certain that those alternatives were “quack medicine” at some point in their past. We just decided to take it upon ourselves to find out if there was any truth to these remedies by doing our own research, and ultimately trying them, not just taking the word of some “expert” that alternative medicine is a waste of time and money. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. The deeper you dig, the more deceptions you find prevalent in the mainstream. If it sounds like paranoia, you haven’t started digging yet.

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Posted: 16 September 2007 05:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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All that is but to say you blieve anecdote and personal experience is a fair evaluation of efficacy. Fair enough, but I’ve seen enough examples where it’s not that I don’t agree. Anything so magically effective remaining hidden despite a welath of good scientific studies since the 1930s sounds pretty fanciful, and when we ask for these studies you give us things that have no relevance to your claims. If you’d like to see some digging, try reading Natural Causes: Death, Lies and Politics in America’s Vitamin and Herbal Supplement Industry by Dan Hurley. Not about magnets, but I mention it since you referred to “nutritional supplements…and so on.” Some pretty clear reasons not to trust anecdotes and ignore scientific evidence. You trust in alternative medicine at your peril, sadly.

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Posted: 17 September 2007 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Also can’t recommend highly enough James Harvey Young’s Toadstool Millionaires, Medical Messiahs and American Health Quackery. Young was a professor of history at Emory University; HERE is an obituary for him.

There is a reproduced version of the first one online HERE, and the second one HERE.

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Posted: 17 September 2007 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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from personal experience: magnetic therapy did nothing to help carpaltunnel syndrome like the “advertisements” said they would.

stay openminded: have you noticed that ever since we burned witches at the stake we havent had problems with them anymore? it must have worked…

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Posted: 17 September 2007 05:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I’m not saying there aren’t people in alternative medicine that are dishonest and just trying to make a buck. There are. There is also a legitimate side to it, but that is ignored by mainstream medicine.

Common sense tells you that eating cake and ice cream every day is bad for you and will lead to health problems, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and quality protein will make you a healthier person. Why is it hard to believe that getting the optimal level of nutrition from food and/or supplements can prevent disease, or reverse it? Drugs don’t nourish our bodies, nutrients do. Drugs always come with side effects. If drugs are supposedly so good for you, why do they end up causing so many bad side effects? You may help one condition, but you cause another. How can that be good? And where are the cures for disease? Billions and billions are spent on research, but cures are not the result. The result is new ways to manage disease, to live with it, not be free from disease. That equals maximum profits for pharmaceutical companies, because the patient almost never gets rid of their disease, they often have to take pills for the rest of their life.

The reason health care costs continue to rise is because more people are becoming ill. Why are they becoming ill? Many people are eating less nutritous food, and instead eating food that’s drowning in preservatives, sugar, pesticides, ect. Chemical fertilizers leech nutrients from the soil and don’t replenish them like organic fertilizers do. So even if you eat healthy, your food is less nutritious. Electromagnetic fields affect our health too, and having cell phone towers all over the place, and the cell phones themselves, increase our exposure to these harmful energies.

Magnets do work it you have the right type of magnet and use it properly, but they don’t have a 100% success rate either, and nor does any form of medicine on earth. Drugs don’t work at all if the dose is too small, and neither will magnets if the magnetic field is too weak.

How is it that the studies I have linked to mean nothing, but the ones you linked to mean everything? If you think studies aren’t ever manipulated by pharmaceutical companies, think again. I’m sure you’d consider any study done by magnet therapy researchers as not being valid because they sell magnets, but studies done by pharmaceutical companies, for pharmaceuticals that they sell, are always valid. Can’t you see the hypocrisy? 

When was the last health supplement that killed hundreds or thousands of people? Drugs are taken off the market all the time for that reason, but usually after lots of money has been made on them. The pharmaceutical companies obviously didn’t spend enough time ensuring that they were safe, or they never would have started marketing them. Or would they, to make up for the millions they had to spend on developing them? Time and time again the uninformed consider it an honest mistake. A supplement company would be burned at the stake in the media. More hypocrisy.

And where do they come up with many of their ideas for drugs? That’s right, from the plant kingdom, but it’s a little difficult to justify charging the astronomical amount they intend to for mere plant extracts.

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Posted: 17 September 2007 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Stay openminded - 17 September 2007 05:12 PM

How is it that the studies I have linked to mean nothing, but the ones you linked to mean everything? If you think studies aren’t ever manipulated by pharmaceutical companies, think again. I’m sure you’d consider any study done by magnet therapy researchers as not being valid because they sell magnets, but studies done by pharmaceutical companies, for pharmaceuticals that they sell, are always valid. Can’t you see the hypocrisy?

The studies you linked to were of a few sorts. First there were studies done by legitimate scientists (some, perhaps, even scientists who do at times do work for pharma) that showed some effect of pulsed electromagnets on bone healing. I am skeptical of those as well since it isn’t immediately obvious to me what the mechanism for healing would be, but that’s neither here nor there. Perhaps they do work in that case, or perhaps these studies are a statistical fluke of some sort. Time will tell.

The other studies were either not done at all, or there is inconclusive evidence, studies both pro and con, or studies done without peer-review, or of poor experimental design, et cetera. That is, there is a null result.

Simply because someone sells magnets doesn’t make a study bad. However, having a study that is not published in a high-quality peer-reviewed journal is a red flag. Of course, some studies in peer-reviewed journals are also faulty. But it is at least necessary for credibility to have passed the hurdle of blind review by peers in the field of study, particularly in the case of magnet therapy, which has made millions for quacks in the past.

It is also necessary to look at other high-quality peer-reviewed studies to see if their results conflict with these.

Similarly, the fact that a study is done by a pharma company is neither here nor there. In fact, many studies paid for by pharma are inconclusive or show the potential drug to be ineffective. If a drug were to come on the market, after being approved by the FDA, based on “manipulated” data, and if that drug was dangerous, or substituted for other truly effective drugs and hence caused injury or death in patients, one would expect multi-billion-dollar class-action lawsuits against the pharma firm in question.

On the other hand, since quack medicines, like herbs, magnets, homeopathy, et cetera, are totally unregulated by the FDA, they are welcome to sell whatever they like without any proof whatever that they are effective, or even that they are not dangerous. Many unregulated herbs may well be poisonous, and the front-line testers of these herbal potions are the patients themselves since they have never gone through proper toxicity testing.

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Posted: 17 September 2007 08:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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getting the optimal level of nutrition from food and/or supplements can prevent disease, or reverse it? Drugs don’t nourish our bodies, nutrients do

From food, yes. Supplements aren’t natural. When was the last time you found megadose capsules of vitamin C, or purified ginko extract growing on a tree. When you take an active ingredient from a food or plant and purify/concentrate it then package it in a pill, guess what you have? Yup, drugs. The difference is that mainstream medicine has to test rigorously, so we know that at least some efficacy is present, that side-effects are relatively predictable (though not perfectly), and that what we say is in the pill actually is in it. These things are not true for supplements because the government is prohibitied from setting the same standards for them. And this has much more to do with the billions of dollars made on them and portion of it going to legislators via lobbyists (think Orin Hatch and Tom Harkin in particular) than with any desire on the part of the mainstream medical community to deny people effective therapies.

Drugs always come with side effects. If drugs are supposedly so good for you, why do they end up causing so many bad side effects? You may help one condition, but you cause another. How can that be good? And where are the cures for disease? Billions and billions are spent on research, but cures are not the result. The result is new ways to manage disease, to live with it, not be free from disease. That equals maximum profits for pharmaceutical companies, because the patient almost never gets rid of their disease, they often have to take pills for the rest of their life.

So many issues. Drugs always have side effects, yes. If there are no side effects, that’s because the substance doesn’t do anything. There’s no free lunch in physiology, so if you are actually doing something to the system, it is rare that you can do so without affecting parts of it you would rather not.

No Cures?! Getting sicker?! When was the last time you saw a case of smallpox? How’s your intestinal parasite load? Died of typhoid, tetanus, diptheria, the plague lately? I find it ironic and sad that we live longer and healthier lives than any human beings in hbistory, yet we whine about how poisonous our environemtn is, how sick we are, and how much better it would be if we could all be back in a “natural” state. Some diseases are manageable but not curable, some we can’t do squat about, and some we can fix. We get better all the time, but if you’re waiting for perfect, forget it. As for supplements effects try- L-tryophan (hundreds of people permanantly disabled with eosinophilic myalgia syndrome, ephedra killing people with strokes and heart attacks, aristolochic acid in Chinese herbs killing people with kdiney failure, etc. The scale is smaller because the industry is, and because many AM therapies don’t actually have any ingredients at all (e.g. homeopathic remedies), but they are by no means harmless.

Cell phones, power lines, radio, etc have been examined repeatedly, and they have no measurable health effects. Anyway, I could go on, but I realize a commitment to alternative medicine is more of a matter of faith than anything, so I dopn’t expect I’ll get through.

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Posted: 18 September 2007 01:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I don’t mean to imply that you, or the average doctor is suppressing anything. It all starts at the FDA and the AMA. The Pharmaceutical companies fund a lot of research at universities, so they have a lot of influence on what areas of medicine are researched at those institutions, and on what medical students are taught. Read this.  http://www.banned-books.com/truth-seeker/1994archive/121_2/ts212c.html

Yes, there have been some positive examples of vaccinations being used to great effect, and a few diseases have been wiped out, but that hasn’t happened for decades. Organisms are becoming more and more resistant to drugs, and they’re becoming super bugs, more dangerous than ever before.

I have personally used a large magnet to eliminate infections in my throat on three occasions. On each occasion, the infection was gone within a week. I used nothing else, no antibiotics and no supplements. My mother was told by her doctor that she needed surgery on her thumb to repair a repetitive stress injury. I suggested she try using a small magnet on her thumb in the hope that she might be able to avoid the surgery. She wore it for 12 hours a day, and within a few weeks her thumb had fully recovered. No surgery was necessary. Two years later, her thumb is fine. A nurse friend of hers had the same problem with her thumb and her doctor had recommended surgery. She decided to try the magnet after hearing my mother’s story, and it worked for her too. My mother has used her large magnet to draw fluid away from an area on her elbow where fluid had accumulated (the North pole draws fluid, the South pole disperses it). Her doctor said she’d need to have it drained at least two or three times. Placing the magnet a few inches above the location for thirty minutes, twice a day, it needed draining only once, and had she started using the magnet sooner, I highly doubt any draining would have been necessary. The doctor didn’t quite know what to make of it. I’ve not only read about what magnets can do, I’ve experienced it first hand. No one can tell me they don’t work. 

Cell phones do have adverse affects. Here’s a good article that explains the history of the cover up. http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/aug2007_report_cellphone_radiation_01.htm

We have a corporate controlled media. Freedom of the press doesn’t really exist in America anymore, or probably anywhere else in the world. Don’t believe it? Read this. http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1498

There are plenty of other sites that have information on cell phone dangers, the corporate controlled media, and the revolving door of the employees of the FDA and the pharmaceutical companies. Just do a search on a search engine.

Once you go beyond believing, and come to the point where you know you’re not being told the truth about a few important issues in the media, you quickly learn to question just about everything you hear, and I’ve learned a lot because I question a lot.

[ Edited: 18 September 2007 02:45 AM by Stay openminded ]
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Posted: 18 September 2007 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I take issue with the idea that “alternative medicine” is not taught in medical schools , also to the idea it is not available in hospitals , and the view the media is not applying exposure. 

I would start here to contradict that - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/altmed/

I would like to quote a bit from an essay I had written last year:

But, even with the knowledge of how implausible Homeopathic remedies are, it is still being used by doctors in hospitals, taught in colleges and advocated for use in treating Malaria and Aids. In fact, a PBS Frontline investigative story revealed a doctor at the prestigious Beth Israel Hospital in N.Y. City treating a young boy diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyper Active Disorder (ADHAD) with a Homeopathic concoction that contains the supposed medicinal ingredient of Tarantula. According to the doctor this remedy was “diluted 10 to the minus 400X” and then he states “it would mean I would take a drop of the tincture, made of Tarantula, put it into a volume of water equal to the volume of earth, and it will be more than ideal for this child” (Aronson 2003).

....

The media attention cast upon CAM practices has been varied and misleading. It is extremely confusing when someone such as the Health Editor and writer for Parade magazine, which has a readership of over 78 million people (Parade.com 2006), claims the results of studies regarding Acupuncture are inconclusive but then goes on to relate an implausible story about the effectiveness of Acupuncture. This person, Cardiologist Isadore Rosenfeld, MD, told his readers in a Parade article of July 9th, 2006 this tale:

        My personal experience with acupuncture helps me keep and open mind. In 1978, I was invited to China to witness an open-heart procedure on a young woman. She remained wide awake and smiling throughout the operation even though the only anesthesia administered was an acupuncture needle in her ear (Rosenfeld 10).
 
This story has been told by Dr. Rosenfeld on two prior occasions, once in another Parade magazine article and again in his book Dr. Rosenfeld’s Guide to Alternative Medicine.  In the books rendition he adds to the story by writing “the surgeon cut through the breastbone with an electric buzzsaw”. All of this was done with nothing more then a simple, non medicated needle used as the anesthesia. Dr. Rosenfeld produced a picture of this event. The photo has been shown to be dubious at best considering the fact that there is no ventilation tube for the lungs, which is required to keep the lungs from collapsing, and that the heart is placed awkwardly to far to the right of the chest cavity. Even after Cardiologist Dr. Rosenfeld was made aware of this impossible feat and the possibility this was a propaganda stunt by the Chinese government to market Acupuncture’s alleged affects to a credulous American populous he has non the less publicly repeated the story as fact (Posner 2006).

....

Another unlikely CAM theory is found in what is called Therapeutic Touch, also known as Healing Touch. The first thing to recognize is that the name is misleading because no touch actually takes place. According to its inventor Deloris Krieger, R.N., this treatment “is a healing practice based on the conscious use of hands to direct or modulate for therapeutic purposes, selected nonphysical human energies that activate the physical body” (Krieger 1993). This nonmaterial energy field is completely undetectable using any devise known to humans. A published study found in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has shown the results of test done on practitioners of TT revealed a success rate no greater then random chance. In essence the results reveal TT effects are no more then a placebo effect. The authors of the study go so far as to state in their conclusion; “Twenty-two experienced TT practitioners were unable to detect “energy fields”. Their failure to substantiate TT’s most fundamental claim is unrefuted evidence that the claims of TT are groundless and that further professional use is unjustified” (Rosa, BSN, RN; Sarner; Barrett, MD 1998). But, TT is still being used by nurses in hospitals throughout the United States (Aronson 2003).

....

For instance the herb Echinacea, commonly used for colds and flu symptoms have shown no benefit in treating any medical condition according to NCCAM. But, the herb was recently studied using children as the test participants. Since information of possible side affects in the use of Echinacea, in fact of most herbs mentioned on NCCAM’s web site, is lacking, it begs the question of how could researchers know using children as test subjects with an unproven herb is not potentially fatal (nccam.nih.gov 2006).

....

In 1998 the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, was established in the U.S. for the purpose of researching claims made by CAM promoters and by extension defining CAM practices. With a budget exceeding $122,000,000 a year, NCCAM has become the leading resource for research grants involving CAM. The definition widely used and adopted by NCCAM in regards to CAM modalities is “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine”. Examples of the domains or areas of practice falling under the purview of NCCAM range from Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Prayer, Herbs, so called bio-medicine which includes Shark cartilage, Acupuncture, and “energy healing” techniques such as Therapeutic Touch and Reiki (nccam.nih.gov 2006). I have focused mainly on areas I will be discussing, but there are more than 80 domains listed as CAM by NCCAM.

      An estimated 42% to 65% of Americans use some form of CAM. The reason for the drastic margin in estimates is because of the ambiguity in defining CAM. In all, Americans are spending more out of pocket money annually on CAM practices then on hospitalizations. Incredibly, appointments with CAM practitioners are out pacing patient visits with primary-care physicians. These statistics are the latest to be published by the National Academy of Sciences and reflect the need for objective, evidence based information to become available to the general public concerning all manner of CAM practices (Committee on the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the American Public 2005).

Edit: I want to add a bit more from my essay pertaining to Homeopathy:

In fact, after reviewing the studies on Homeopathic remedies NCCAM states that; “In sum, systematic reviews have not found Homeopathy to be a definitively proven treatment for any medical condition”. This of course is extremely misleading because they offer no “proof” at all that Homeopathy works for any condition, so a word such as “definitively”  provides no useful clarification for consumers (nccam.nih.gov 2006). This is what would be expected based on the theory of Homeopathy. The main principals that underline Homeopathic theory are the Laws of Similars and Infinitesimals, along with a spiritual energy called “vitalism”. The inventor of these so called Laws was a 19th century physician named Samuel Hahnemann. The Law of Infinitesimals is what supposedly allows Homeopathic remedies to become medicinal. It works by taking an ingredient that causes reactions that are similar to the symptoms felt by a patient and then putting it through a dilution process that ends with a concoction that will have less than a 50% chance of containing a single molecule of the supposed medicinal ingredient. This theory is refuted by the sciences of Chemistry, Physics, Pharmacology, and Pathology . But, even with the knowledge of how implausible Homeopathic remedies are, it is still being used by doctors in hospitals, taught in colleges and advocated for use in treating Malaria and Aids.

[ Edited: 18 September 2007 07:56 AM by zarcus ]
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