Every once in a while I feel it is good to read what the skeptics have to say. There is something delightfully quaint about people who demand scientific proof that the reflection in the mirror is that of their own face, rather then trusting their own senses. They talk about scientific proof, but many cannot define basic concepts like statistical significance, independent variables, and random sampling. And the assumptions - wow - I am amazed at the lack of investigation and logic.
Normally, I pay little attention to those who dismiss complementary medicine outright - I prefer to spend my time helping people, not converting them. I know of very few practitioners who shun Western Medicine as of us have a yearly check-up with a regular doctor, and many take prescription medicine. Yes, there are some people who practice complementary therapies (including MDs) without proper training, but this is no different in allopathic medicine. Just because someone is an MD and says they are a plastic surgeon, does not mean they are trained and board certified. Frauds are everywhere, but at least with acupuncture, certification is easy to prove and most people who seek it out have a healthy amount of skepticism that helps them determine subjectively whether it is works for them. Individuals do not need a clinical trial to validate personal efficacy.
The gentlemen who wrote the following article brings up a good point if you can fish it out of the supercilious sarcasm: Medicine is medicine whether it came from the ground of from the factory - you need to know what your are putting into your body and to ensure your health by going to qualified medical professionals.
Of course, my first and last impression is that this guy would have gagged Galileo.
Talk of doctors can push buttons
Generally speaking, I am slow to anger.
Some may argue differently but most people describe me as generally good-natured.
But when my buttons are pushed oh, my.
Recently, there was a photo in another newspaper that had this person with a number of acupuncture needles sticking into her face. It seems she was undergoing acupuncture because she ``didn't like doctors.''
OK. Let me see here.
She doesn't like the doctor that has been through four years of college, four years of medical school, and 3-7 years of residency training, but she will let someone without a college degree stick needles in her face?
She doesn't trust a trained health care professional yet allows someone to apply unproven and unconventional treatments to her?
I have a friend who states unequivocally ``I don't like to take medicine,'' yet pops four homeopathic pills in her mouth without even asking what is in them. And then wonders why she felt hot flashes all the way home.
Or the one who refuses to take an ibuprofen because he heard that ibuprofen damages the kidneys but knows intimately the dosage on Oxycodone?
Oh yeah my buttons are pushed.
Doesn't ``like doctors?'' To me, that's almost the same as not liking air -- definitely important and pretty unhealthy to do without.
Obviously, I'm firmly entrenched in the ``traditional'' side of medicine. Have been for almost 29 years. My daughter and her husband are both doctors, of the ``M.D.'' variety.
Oh, I'm definitely prejudiced.
Prejudiced because I am at heart a scientist and I want scientific evidence of what I do to or put in my body.
Prejudiced because I having a pretty good working knowledge of what medical training involves.
Prejudiced because I understand the importance of good, traditional medical care.
Don't take this as a complete indictment of non-traditional methods of health care. Oftentimes, we have learned more about how the body works by NOT doing things the way they've always been done.
For example, we have learned a lot about the body by exceeding what we always thought were physical limitations.
We've learned a lot by exploring home remedies and ancient forms of promoting healing.
Not everything must pass the test of a double-blind study for us to know that it works.
But when it comes to health care, I just prefer to rely on the person who has dedicated 11-18 years in formal education in the pursuit of knowledge that makes him or her the absolute best person to help me make decisions about my health.
I want to live to be old but still be healthy and active.
That's why I get a physical examination every single year and have a good working relationship with a specific family practitioner.
Doesn't ``like doctors?''
Your doctor should be one of your favorite people.
Joe Black, PT, SCS, ATC, is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Appalachian Therapy Center. Write to him at: Joe Black, c/o The Daily Times, P.O. Box 9740, Maryville, TN 37802-9740.