I get comments on my blog. Since there was so much to address with this particular one, I decided to turn it into a separate post.
“This post should be titled, "Attack of the Straw Men."
No, I prefer it the way as is. What I don’t think the world needs more of is condescending platitudes.
“…you're mixing apples and elephants. Hypnotherapy, guided visualization and biofeedback (essentially relaxation therapy) are qualitatively different from Reiki, acupuncture and chiropractic (magical thinking in lieu of any plausible scientific basis.) Lumping them all together is a "Trojan Horse" strategy, per Orac, via Dr. RW (see comments section from this post for the full quote)”
Not sure who put Dr. RW in charge of all convening opinions, but according to Panda and others, this is an all or none proposition. It’s either science based medicine or it’s hooey – there is no in between. Now I’m being told that some alternatives are now suddenly deemed “okay” by the medical community – going so far as to question why they were even called “alternative” in the first place? I don’t believe this for a minute. Acceptance from the medical community comes in degrees, and it’s based solely on the fact that some methods are easier to swallow than others.
You’re now giving Biofeedback its due? Why? It’s mind/body medicine, after all.
Biofeedback as taken from the Mayo Clinic:
Biofeedback is a type of complementary and alternative medicine called mind-body therapy. It's designed to enable you — in mind-over-matter fashion — to use your thoughts and will to control your body. Biofeedback is based on the idea, confirmed by scientific studies, that people have the innate potential to influence with their minds many of the automatic, involuntary functions of their bodies.
Guided Imagery (visualization), as defined by Web MD:
Guided imagery is a program of directed thoughts and suggestions that guide your imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. You can use an instructor, tapes, or scripts to help you through this process. Guided imagery is based on the concept that your body and mind are connected. Using all of your senses, your body seems to respond as though what you are imagining is real.
Hypnotherapy as defined by University of Maryland Medical Center:
Hypnotherapists typically use exercises that bring about deep relaxation and an altered state of consciousness, also known as a trance. Many people routinely experience a trance-like state while they are watching television or sitting at a red light. A person in a trance or deeply focused state is unusually responsive to an idea or image, but this does not mean that a hypnotist can control his or her mind and free will. On the contrary, hypnosis can actually teach people how to master their own states of awareness. By doing so they can affect their own bodily functions and psychological responses.
This is mind/body medicine, folks, alternative medicine. And this is okay with you? I find the irony staggering. There is no more “science” to these alternative healing methods than there is with acupuncture, reiki, and chiropractics. The only way to determine the level of healing is asking the patient how he feels. By all admissions, this isn’t acceptable.
I’m confused as to how guided imagery can be easier to accept than Reiki, acupuncture, or chiro. At least with chiropractics, you have the benefit of x-rays. It’s pretty easy to see if a disk or hip is back in place after the course of treatment.
The truth of the matter is that the fraction of docs who don’t believe alternatives have any place in medicine have never done the research. They go to the sites and literature that only support their bias. How can I make such an inflammatory statement? Because of the many docs I researched who do use integrative medicine in their practices. I’ve been told time and time again that the literature is out there. It’s just that the docs aren’t listening. Or they’re being selective.
A key issue is that when looked at scientifically, the data you speak of for
Then why and how is it that biofeedback, hypnotherapy, and guided imagery get a pass, according to Orac and Dr. RW. They’re alternative medicine, no matter how one tries to justify it. You simply cannot rewrite the rules to fit your needs, and that’s exactly what it sounds like you’re doing.
The "respectability" of those promulgating it is irrelevant.
Are you kidding me? First I’m told that “some” alternatives are okay. Now you’re telling me that the opinions from respected and renowned docs who utilize integrative medicine in their practices are irrelevant. Why are their opinions irrelevant? They earned their reputations because they were recognized as being superior at what they do. This appears to be a case of, “I don’t like what I’m hearing on this particular issue, so I’m going to dismiss it, regardless of who said it. But, boyo, his opinions on heart valve surgery is bang on.” This is talking out both sides of your mouth.
Basically this comes down the fact that many docs will never see eye to eye on the integrative issue. The methods of dismissal are akin to politics – if one talks it up or down enough, it becomes real “because I say so.” That’s not reality, and thankfully, there are many, many docs who disagree with you because they’ve had success with alternatives and use any number of those methods in their practices - including Reiki, acupuncture, and stuff I've never even heard of. The face of medicine is changing to include other forms of healing.
As I've said a million times, I would never proscribe anyone turning their backs on their docs. But I don't believe that docs know everything there is about how the mind and body integrate in healing. Some things are, indeed, seemingly magical because there's no science that can back it up. But that doesn't make it irrelevant. It makes it compelling.