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hey’re among the nation’s premier medical centers, at the leading edge of scientific research.

Yet hospitals affiliated with Yale, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and other top medical research centers also aggressively promote alternative therapies with little or no scientific backing. They offer “energy healing” to help treat multiple sclerosis, acupuncture for infertility, and homeopathic bee venom for fibromyalgia. A public forum hosted by the University of Florida’s hospital even promises to explain how herbal therapy can reverse Alzheimer’s. (It can’t.)

This embrace of alternative medicine has been building for years. But a STAT examination of 15 academic research centers across the US underscores just how deeply these therapies have become embedded in prestigious hospitals and medical schools.

Some hospitals have built luxurious, spa-like wellness centers to draw patients for spiritual healing, homeopathy, and more. And they’re promoting such treatments for a wide array of conditions, including depression, heart disease, cancer, and chronic pain. Duke even markets a pediatric program that suggests on its website that alternative medicine, including “detoxification programs” and “botanical medicines,” can help children with conditions ranging from autism to asthma to ADHD.

“We’ve become witch doctors,” said Dr. Steven Novella, a professor of neurology at the Yale School of Medicine and a longtime critic of alternative medicine.

STAT’s examination found a booming market for such therapies: The clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, is growing so fast, it’s bursting out of its space.

Just in the past year, the teaching hospital connected to the University of Florida began offering cancer patients consultations in homeopathy and traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia launched an institute whose offerings include intravenous vitamin and mineral therapies. And the University of Arizona, a pioneer in the field, received a $1 million gift to boost practitioner training in natural and spiritual healing techniques.

“[If a hospital is] offering treatment that’s based on fantasy, it undermines the credibility of the institution.”

Steven Salzberg, Johns Hopkins

Even as they count on these programs to bring in patients and revenue, several hospitals were reluctant to talk to STAT about why they’re lending their distinguished names to unproven therapies.

Duke Health declined repeated requests for interviews about its rapidly growing integrative medicine center, which charges patients $1,800 a year just for a basic membership, with acupuncture and other treatments billed separately.

MedStar Georgetown quietly edited its website, citing changes to its clinical offerings, after a reporter asked why it listed the energy healing practice of reiki as a therapy for blood cancer. Cleveland Clinic struggled to find anyone on its staff to defend the hospital’s energy medicine program, ultimately issuing a statement that it’s “responding to the needs of our patients and patient demand.”

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And the director of an alternative medicine program at another prestigious hospital declined to speak on the record — out of fear, he said, that his remarks would be construed as “fake news” and stir a backlash.

The rise of alternative therapies has sparked tension in some hospitals, with doctors openly accusing their peers of peddling snake oil and undermining the credibility of their institutions.

By promoting such therapies, Novella said, physicians are forfeiting “any claim that we had to being a science-based profession.”

As for patients? They’re “being snookered,” he said.

Online promotions with little room for nuance

The counterargument: Modern medicine clearly can’t cure everyone. It fails a great many patients. So why not encourage them to try an ancient Indian remedy or a spiritual healing technique that’s unlikely to cause harm — and may provide some relief, if only from the placebo effect?

“Yes, as scientists, we want to be rigid. But me, as a physician, I want to find what’s best for a patient. Who am I to say that’s hogwash?” said Dr. Linda Lee.

A gastroenterologist, Lee runs the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center, which offers acupuncture, massage therapy, and reiki — a therapy that the center’s website describes as laying on hands “to transmit Universal Life Energy” to the patient.

Lee and others who promote alternative therapies are careful to say that they can supplement — but can’t replace — conventional treatments. And they make a point of coordinating care with other doctors so that, for instance, patients don’t get prescribed herbal supplements that might interact badly with their chemotherapy.

“Yes, as scientists, we want to be rigid. But me, as a physician, I want to find what’s best for a patient. Who am I to say that’s hogwash?”

Dr. Linda Lee, Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist

“Here at UF, we do not have alternative medicine. We do not have complementary medicine. We have integrative medicine,” said Dr. Irene Estores, medical director of the integrative medicine program at the University of Florida Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Fla.

But while those cautions may come through in the clinic, the hospitals also promote alternative medicine online — often, without any nuance.

Duke’s Integrative Medicine store, for instance, sells “Po Chai Pills” that are touted on the hospital’s website as a cure for everything from belching to hangovers to headaches. The site explains that taking a pill “harmonizes the stomach, stems counterflow ascent of stomach qi, dispels damp, dispels pathogenic factors, subdues yang, relieves pain.” None of that makes sense in modern biomedical terms.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s website touts homeopathic bee venom as useful to relieve symptoms for arthritis, nerve pain, and other conditions. The site does tell patients that the biological mechanism for the treatment is “unexplained” but asserts that studies “have been published in medical journals showing homeopathic medicines may provide clinical benefit.”

Asked about the therapy, Dr. Daniel Monti, who directs the integrative health center, acknowledged that the data is “largely anecdotal,” and said the hospital offers the treatment only rarely, “when there are few other options.” But those caveats don’t come through on the website.

Novella gets alarmed when he sees top-tier hospitals backing therapies with scant evidence behind them. “Patients only want [alternative medicine] because they’re being told they should want it. They see a prestigious hospital is offering it, so they think it’s legitimate,” said Novella.

“The perpetuation of these practices is a victory of marketing over truth,” said Steven Salzberg, a biomedical engineer at Johns Hopkins who lectures in the medical school. If a hospital is “offering treatment that’s based on fantasy, it undermines the credibility of the institution.”

The debate burst into the public view earlier this year when the medical director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute — which markets a variety of alternative therapies — published an article raising discredited theories linking vaccines to autism.

Cleveland Clinic’s chief executive, Dr. Toby Cosgrove, disavowed the article. And the clinic told STAT last week that it will take down its online wellness store and stop selling homeopathy kits.

But Cosgrove has stood up for the general principle of offering alternative treatments.

“The old way of combating chronic disease hasn’t worked,” Cosgrove wrote in a column posted on the hospital’s website. “… We have heard from our patients that they want more than conventional medicine can offer.”

Aromatherapy

A booming market for ‘natural’ therapies

There’s no question that patients want alternative medicine. It’s a $37 billion-a-year business.

The typical American adult spent about $800 out of pocket in 2012 on dietary supplements and visits to alternative providers, such as naturopaths and acupuncturists, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospitals have taken note. A national consortium to promote integrative health now counts more than 70 academic centers and health systems as members, up from eight in 1999. Each year, four or five new programs join, said Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple, the chair of the consortium’s policy working group.

In most cases, insurers won’t cover alternative therapies — there’s simply not enough evidence that they actually work — so patients pay out of pocket: $85 for acupuncture, $100 for reiki, $38 for pills made from thyme and oregano oils that promise to “harmonize digestive and respiratory function.”

To be sure, not all such integrative medicine clinics are big profit centers. Many are funded by philanthropists, and some hospitals say their programs operate at a loss — but are nonetheless essential to woo patients in a highly competitive marketplace. If they failed to offer “natural” therapies, some hospital executives fear they would lose a chance to attract patients who need more lucrative care, such as orthopedic surgeries or cancer treatments.

The integrative medicine center at Thomas Jefferson, for instance, is part of an “enterprise strategy for growth and development,” Monti said.

“The people running the hospitals are doctors, but they also have MBAs. They talk of patients as customers. Customers have demands. Your job is to sell them what they want,” said Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University’s medical school. Too often, he said, the attitude is, “We’re damn well going to do it if the guys down the street are doing it.”

“We’ve become witch doctors … [forfeiting] any claim that we had to be a science-based profession.”

Dr. Steven Novella, Yale School of Medicine

While most hospitals declined to give specific revenue figures, STAT found indications of rapid growth.

“We’re literally bursting. We have to convert office space to clinic exam rooms,” said Shelley Adler, who runs the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. It offers a wide range of services, including Chinese herbal medicine, massage therapy, and Ayurveda, an ancient healing system from India based on the belief that health results from a balance between the mind, body, and spirit.

The center is on pace to get more than 10,300 patient visits this fiscal year, up 37 percent from 2012. It’s expanding its clinical staff by a third.

Duke University’s integrative medicine clinic, a stunning space with arching wood ceilings and an indoor garden, has seen strong growth: Total visits jumped 50 percent in 2015, to more than 14,000, Dr. Adam Perlman, the executive director, told IntegrativePractitioner.com. (He declined to talk to STAT.)

The center’s membership count also jumped, up 25 percent to 885, Perlman said. If all members paid the list price, that would bring in more than $1 million a year just for primary care.

At the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Integrative Medicine, meanwhile, “our volume pretty much has increased steadily, even when we’ve had recessions and financial downturns,” said Dr. Ronald Glick, the medical director. The center now treats about 8,000 patients a year.

Many hospitals have also expanded into more general “wellness” offerings, with classes in healthy cooking, tai chi, meditation, and art therapy. UCSF offers a $375 class on “cultivating emotional balance” (and a free class on “laughter yoga”). Mayo Clinic sells a $2,900 “signature experience,” which includes consultations with a wellness coach.

And the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital offers specialized stress management services to help patients deal with conditions including cancer, infertility, and menopause. John Henry, the owner of STAT, has contributed funding to the Benson-Henry Institute.

Wellness programs — which are designed to ease stress and encourage healthy behaviors — are seen by many clinicians and hospitals as key to slowing America’s epidemic of chronic disease. They don’t tend to draw sharp criticism, except for their cost.

It’s the alternative therapies promoted as a way to treat disease that raise eyebrows.

Reiki

‘Energy healing’ takes root

Despite their deep wells of medical expertise, many top hospitals are offering to help treat serious medical problems with reiki — a practice based on the belief that lightly touching patients can unleash a cosmic energy flow that will heal them naturally.

STAT found that it is widely used by academic medical centers, including Johns Hopkins, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, part of Partners HealthCare in Boston.

So, where’s the evidence supporting it?

There is none, according to a division of the National Institutes of Health that funds research into alternative medicines. It says the practice has not been shown to be useful for “any health-related purpose” — and adds that there is no scientific evidence that the “natural healing energy” it’s based on even exists.

Asked about the Cleveland Clinic’s promotion of reiki, Dr. Richard Lang, the recently named interim director of the clinic’s Wellness Institute, said he hadn’t had a chance to think about it. “I don’t know that I could give you a plus or minus on that,” he said. Lang served as a vice chair of the wellness institute for nearly a decade before taking the top post.

“[Hospital executives] talk of patients as customers. Customers have demands. Your job is to sell them what they want.”

Arthur Caplan, bioethicist at New York University

Pressed for a more substantive answer, the clinic sent a statement saying it offers energy medicine as a complementary therapy, not as a replacement solution. But its website only briefly alludes to a patient’s broader “care team” in describing a “full range of emotional and physical issues” that can be treated with energy therapies, including autoimmune diseases, migraines, hormonal imbalances, and “cancer treatment support and recovery.”

Academic medical centers often boast that they’re more rigorous in evaluating alternative therapies  — and weeding out scams  — than a for-profit wellness center might be.

“The important thing about practicing in an academic center is that we must hold ourselves to certain standards,” said Estores, the medical director at the University of Florida’s integrative medicine clinic.

At the University of Pittsburgh, Glick echoed that sentiment: “We’re an academic institution … [so] we’re offering services that have greater evidence basis [and] scientific explanation.”

But that evidence isn’t always rigorous.

The University of Florida, for instance, is using Facebook to advertise an herbal medicine workshop for providers and the public that promises to answer questions including, “How can we stabilize or reverse Alzheimer’s disease?”

Asked about the evidence for that statement, Susan Marynowski, the herbalist presenting the workshop, cited several papers and a book chapter that she said showed herbs, in conjunction with lifestyle adjustments, could reverse Alzheimer’s-associated memory loss. However, at least two papers were small collections of case studies published in a journal with a reputation for less-than-rigorous review. (Marynowski said she knew the studies’ size and design limited the strength of their conclusions, but that she was not aware of the journal’s reputation.)

At Pittsburgh, the integrative medical center does take care to note on its website that alternative therapies “generally have not been subjected to the same level of research as standard medical approaches.”

But the site then goes on to promote dozens of treatments for everything from ADHD to whiplash, saying they have “appeared to be beneficial in this and other complementary medicine clinics.” (Glick noted that the body of research had grown since he wrote the caveat on the website in 2003.)

Acupuncture

‘It’s not black and white’

Perhaps the most prevalent alternative treatment STAT found on offer is acupuncture. It’s promoted for more than a dozen conditions, including high blood pressure, sinus problems, infertility, migraines, and digestive irregularities.

A 3,000-year-old Chinese therapy, acupuncture is based on the belief that by stimulating certain points on the body, most often with needles, practitioners can unlock a natural healing energy that flows through the body’s “meridians.” Research suggests it helps with certain pain conditions and might help prevent migraine headaches — but it also suggests that the placebo effect may play an important role.

Its value in treating other conditions is uncertain, according to the NIH’s center on integrative medicine.

Several major insurers, including Aetna, Anthem, and regional Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates, cover acupuncture as a treatment for chronic pain and nausea. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services won’t pay for acupuncture, dismissing the scientific evidence as insufficient.

Still, it’s important for physicians to keep an open mind, said Lang, the interim director of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

He said, for example, that he used to avoid referring patients for acupuncture, until he saw the benefit it provided to some of them. “I have seen it work in some chronic pain situations,” said Lang. “It can be very helpful. If it doesn’t work, I don’t know that you’ve lost anything. If it does, you do get to a better place.”

“If it doesn’t work, I don’t know that you’ve lost anything. If it does, you do get to a better place.”

Dr. Richard Lang, Cleveland Clinic

And while the evidence of its efficacy is not ironclad, neither is the evidence for various pharmaceutical therapies that are routinely provided by hospitals and covered by insurance. Some of those solutions, such as opioids to treat pain, have resulted in addiction and harm to patients.

Advocates of alternative medicine say it’s difficult to test some alternative therapies through rigorous clinical trials, primarily because treatment techniques vary from patient to patient. (The federal government does, however, spend roughly $120 million a year to fund research through the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.)

They note, too, that traditional doctors sometimes stray from proven treatments, for instance when they prescribe medicines off-label for conditions the drugs have not been approved to treat.

“We do use things that aren’t necessarily 100 percent evidence-based, but I would argue that’s also true within all of medicine,” said Dr. Jill Schneiderhan, co-director of the University of Michigan’s integrative family medicine program. “I feel like it’s not black and white.”

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  • Now that chiropractic, acupuncture and massage have been deemed cost and clinically effective for the pandemic of LBP, I don’t see MDs rushing to refer such patients, instead choosing to prescribe pain pills, epidural shots, and spine fusions that have all been deemed the “poster child” of inefficient care. At this point, it’s obvious the medical world is not evidence-based, but eminence-based still believing in its outdated model of care that has led to the present opioid crisis and pandemic of failed back surgeries. As Trump would say, this medical situation is “disgraceful,” yet these curmudgeons still lash out at safe and effective CAM providers. Go figure.

    • It is easy to figure. Modern science and particularly science-medicine are unethical industries, driven purely for profit and power.

      What makes it so destructive is that modern science in all forms is based upon the delusion of materialist reductionism and the deranged belief that all can be reduced to the material and mechanical. While this works well for manmade machines and equipment, it is not very effective and indeed, is often destructive, for the natureal world of which humans are a part.

      Conventional medicine has always exploited fear in the name of snake oil and in this day and age while the snake oil may be more sophisticated, it remains snake oil.

      Putting aside appreciation for the mechanical skills base of modern allopathic medicine in terms of surgery and crisis/trauma, the allopathic medical system in general is more failure, and every expensive failure, than it is success.

      Vaccines, antibiotics and medications to treat people for diseases they do not have and may never get, maybe medicine, is creating worse health and poorer health outcomes. Sure the data can be doctored to make it look as if this form of medicine helps, but the fact which explodes that conclusion is the reality of more serious and chronic disease in humans, particularly children.

      We have epidemics in children of Diabetes, Autism, Allergies, Auto-Immune Diseases, Brain Cancer, Asthma, Behavioural and Learning Difficulties, Coeliac Disease to name just a few.

      We have epidemics in the other vulnerable group, the aged, of Dementia and Alzheimer’s and a situation were most people over the age of 50 are on some sort of medication, generally plural.

      There is little cure. Having body parts regularly removed or medication for life is not cure.

      Cancer rates have gone from one in more than ten in 1900 to one in two today. Hospitals get bigger, health budgets blow out more, medical costs cripple nations and in the US, bankrupt families and people are not healthier but sicker.

      Any business model would look at Allopathic medicine and say, great money-maker but poor provider of what it supposedly sells – health.

      Is it any wonder that sane, sensible and rational doctors and patients are looking beyond the narrow and toxic borders of Allopathic medicine?

      Indeed, to save ourselves and our economies it is imperative that we do.

      But medical students are brainwashed and often ignorant as to the human condition and doctors and medical systems are controlled by the pharmaceutical industry and dictated to in terms of profit before patient.

      Sure, there is plenty of spin that patients come first but the facts on the ground put paid to that delusion for anyone of open mind.

    • @nancy59,

      I did not dismiss all of Allopathic medicine. I have said on more than one occasion that the skills in surgery and crisis/trauma are of great value.

      If antibiotics were kept for life or death situations and not handed out like lollies in the name of maybe medicine we would not have an issue.

      Any across the spectrum research into vaccines makes it clear that their toxic nature, particularly for babies and children, outweighs any possible benefits in not experiencing minor childhood diseases.

      Most if not all vaccines are experimental and unnecessary. All disease incidence and mortality began to drop once living conditions were improved. By the time Smallpox vaccination progammes were underway the disease was of little threat.

      Polio in 92% of cases manifests as mild Flu-like conditions. The Fifties epidemic of severe paralytic Polio, and this was discussed at the time, most likely had its source in the medical practice of removing tonsils and adenoids, common once antibiotics made surgery safer and a profit-driven ego-trip for doctors who could not see any use for them; and the fact the Diptheria vaccine predisposed children to it, paralysis often beginning at the vaccination site.

      Warnings were given re: the vaccine but largely ignored because the consensus was a few dead or paralysed children was a small price to pay to maintain public faith in vaccines. THE GREAT LIE of our age is that vaccines are necessary. The GREATER LIE is that they are safe.

      But, anyone inclined to research it across the spectrum will soon discover that reality.

  • I do not wish to engage in lengthy arguments here, but let’s not forget Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis who was ridiculed (and even placed in jail) for demonstrating that washing hands before attending to a surgical procedure reduces death rates. This “ritual” of hand washing was interpreted as a ‘ridiculous and stupid’ claim at that time, because no one had heard about germs then (the microscope had not been invented).

    I think many doctors today have difficulty thinking outside the box – in psychology, this situation is referred to as ‘cognitive dissonance’ (being reluctant to accept evidence that run contrary to their established predispositions) and also as ‘confirmation bias’ (the tendency to search for and only favour information in a way that confirms one’s pre-existing beliefs or hypotheses).

    By the way, these interventions shouldn’t even be called ‘CAM’ – they are not ‘alternatives,’ but main treatments – but that is whole a different topic for discussion…

    • Allopathic doctors are not healers in the way that even they, once were.

      Indeed, Allopathic MD’s today are secretaries ordering tests and chemists prescribing drugs and working in a highly specialised industry where the art of diagnosis for most has been lost, or never gained.

      It must be very depressing to be a doctor beyond the realms of trauma/crisis or reconstructive surgery where Allopathic medicine has recognisable skills.

      Health is now meant to come from an eight minute consultation, often with a stranger, where your options are toxic pills, toxic antibiotics or toxic vaccines.

      Modern medicine is pretty much poison medicine, without the knowledge and skills humans once did have in terms of administering poisons as medicine.

      Tests, medications, vaccines are designed for generic humans who do not exist with a bit of a tweak here and there for children and females. It is very sloppy medicine but it looks good on paper, or rather, it can be made to look good on paper.

      And it makes a fortune for many people. The non-allopathic treatments, referred to as alternatives, but which are and should not be alternatives, do not make a fortune for so many and don’t have the whizz-bang factor of pills, needles and fancy machinery and equipment and so are disregarded.

      As the kill and injure rate of Allopathic medicine continues to rise, the industry mounts raging campaigns against non-allopathic medical modalities to protect their turf.

      However, they fail to appreciate one law of Physics:

      The greater the force, the greater the resistance.

    • Roslyn Ross: I agree with most of what you say, but I wouldn’t say that all of Allopathic medicine is wrong. Antibiotics and vaccines definitely save lives, but most of other medicines are a joke – especially psychiatric medicines that make matters much worse in the long-run. As a result of taking these drugs, people have to take more and more medicines to ‘manage’ the new problems these drugs create, and big pharma profits greatly from all this.

    • @Nancy59,

      I do not believe I said all of Allopathic medicine is wrong. I said, in terms of assisting, restoring and creating health it is a failure generally.

      I have made the point more than once that the skills of Allopathic medicine in crisis/trauma and surgery are invaluable.

      Yes, antibiotics can save lives but they have been seriously abused in the name of profit and ego, to a degree where they play a part, a major part in ending health and ending lives.

      If antibiotics had been kept for real life or death situations it would be a different matter. But they have been handed out like lollies and used in agriculture to keep animals living in disgraceful conditions, alive.

      As for vaccines, as someone who grew up before the vaccination age I simply do not believe they are needed. I certainly do not believe their toxic qualities make the risk worthwhile even if a case could be made that perhaps they were useful.

      When I was a child they forced Smallpox and Polio on us, which, as an adult doing comprehensive research, I know was completely unnecessary because Smallpox was in decline long before vaccines and incidence and mortality rates plummeted where living conditions were improved.

      The Fifties Polio epidemic was an anomaly, triggered most likely by medical meddling. In 92% of cases Polio manifested as mild-Flu like symptoms. The severe paralytic form of Polio in the Fifties, recognised at the time, was sourced in the medical practice of removing tonsils and adenoids, common from the beginning of the antibiotic age when surgery became safer and doctors realised they could make a fortune slicing out organs for which they could see no purpose.

      The Diptheria vaccine predisposing children to severe paralytic Polio was also recognised and warnings were given, but, generally ignored, the conclusion by most being that a few dead or paralysed children was a small price to pay to maintain public ‘faith’ in vaccines.

      And then we see today, babies and children vaccinated for diseases that my generation and even many of my children’s generation, had as a matter of course and without problems because we lived with good nutrition, sanitation and hygiene.

      It is a myth that vaccines have saved lives. But, it is a powerful and profitable myth unless you are unfortunate enough to have a dead or injured child or to have been injured yourself.

      Allopathic medicine is sourced in a belief that removing or repressing a symptom amounts to cure or healing. It does not. How many people would accept the advice of the car mechanic who, to solve the problem of their warning light, cuts the wire which leads to it?

      None I suspect and yet this is how modern medicine works all the time.

  • Science can’t disprove the notion that drowning kittens cures cancer so perhaps you should all start drowning kittens.

    • One thing which is consistent is the level of ignorance and worse prejudice displayed by the Homeopathy Haters and those who reject holistic and non-allopathic medical modalities in general.

      Mockery, Chuck Wavydean, does not make a case and in fact just makes you look ridiculous.

    • Only someone who sees that the “drowned kitten” analogy is the same logic used in this thread to support homeopathy would conclude my comments are mockery. To quote Queen Gertrude, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

    • @Chuck wavydean,

      My only protest is against ignorance, prejudice and immaturity which you displayed.

  • I hear you saying this: “I had to suffer through the burden and expense of unnecessary studies to prove that nutritional therapy helps make people feel better and heal more quickly from their illnesses. Therefore the homeopathic community should have to suffer through those same trials and tribulations and expenses also.”

    We talk about Functional Medicine being individualized – but the individualization of Functional Medicine is infinitely less than the individualization of Homeopathic Medicine. It is very hard to do a placebo-controlled double blind study when the n = 1. We are still struggling with the effort of ensuring that the paradigm is Aristotelian, when in fact there are other, even more useful, paradigms which are Platonic. It’s an endless struggle between the Yin and the Yang, the individual and the collective. How long will it take us to realize that the collective is made up of individuals, and depends for its very existence on individuals. I respect your position, that all medicine should fit into the allopathic model. I disagree with that position, but I respect your right to follow your own muse. Please consider giving me the same respect, without attempting to discipline my license to practice medicine because I choose to follow a different paradigm.

    • Well said. In truth, it is only the irrational and fearful who rage against Homeopathy. There are many intelligent and sensible Allopathic MD’s who are prepared to explore and embrace it, particularly in Europe.

      I wonder sometimes if the desire to cram non-allopathic medical modalities into the limited allopathic system of research is done because they know beforehand it cannot work.

      The irony is that it does not even work for Allopathic medicine. If it did then that modality would not have such a massive kill and injure rate, coming in at number three.

  • HERE IS MY COMMENT TO ALL HOMEOPATHS:

    At one time, not that long ago, Integrative Healthcare and Medicine was not accepted in the medical community. We had to PROVE that our discipline worked. We proved it through EVIDENCE-BASED SCIENTIFIC STUDY. It took many, many years, but the mountain of undeniable proof, not anecdote, is what allowed us to break through. And now, as you can see for yourselves, Integrative Healthcare is becoming commonplace as hospitals and clinics across the world are rushing to set up Integrative Healthcare systems and hire Doctors of Integrative Healthcare & Medicine. Universities and Medical schools are scrambling to update their programs to include Integrative Healthcare and Medicine. We won our fight.

    So why, OH WHY can’t homeopaths do the same thing WE did? Why can’t you all pool together, hunker down, and get studies and trials together and provide substantial scientific evidence that homeopathy works? Do you not realize that as long as you continue to provide nothing but anecdote the medical community will never accept you?

    What I and others in my community will not allow is for homeopaths to piggy-back on our hard work. We had to prove ourselves to gain respect and so do YOU. No exceptions. We will continue to fight to keep homeopaths OUT of general practice, out of hospitals, and out of being mentioned in the same breath with Integrative Healthcare and Medicine until you do what we had to do to get where we are. But if you can prove your discipline through scientific evidence and study, you will be accepted.

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/1800-studies-later-scientists-conclude-homeopathy-doesnt-work-180954534/

    ^^^ You have defeat things like this with REAL scientific data. Just bemoaning the evils of the allopathic medicine and big pharma is crying a river that no one cares about. PROOF is what you have to show.

    That’s the deal. You don’t have to like the deal, but that’s how it’s going to be.

    • Here’s the deal, Max. You don’t have to like the deal, but you do have to see the truth about homeopathy on this page whether you like it or not or want to or not. The platform adhered to by all “skeptics” is that there is “no scientific evidence” supporting homeopathy. BTW, worldwide there are about 2,000 “skeptics” who have been organized by the likes of the magician and high school drop out James Randi in the U.S. and Simon Singh in the U.K. who can’t tolerate the fact that his fellow Brits use chiropractic.

      The reality is that there are several hundred high quality studies published in the world’s most respected peer-reviewed journals showing that homeopathy works. A few of those journals are Pediatrics, Rheumatology, Cancer, International Journal of Oncology, Phlebology and Archives of Emergency Medicine. Some of them don’t just prove that homeopathy works but also prove that homeopathy is superior to conventional treatments. There is replicated research showing homeopathy is effective in 23 disease conditions including arsenic toxicity, blood coagulation, ADHD and female infertility. There are studies showing homeopathy has an effect on cells and gene expression. I am not going to argue with you about the validity of these studies. I trust that other readers here with a genuine interest in the facts will do their own research and come to their own conclusions.

      Having dealt with “skeptics” of homeopathy for more than ten years I am quite sure you will attempt to refute what I’ve noted above. In those years I’ve heard all the claims from “flawed study” to “small sample size” (never mind that 8,000 people took part in the study) to “here’s a study that claims differently — my study is valid, yours isn’t”. The studies (like the Australian study) claiming homeopathy doesn’t work have been refuted across the globe.

      It’s too bad that you prefer to think homeopathy doesn’t work, but that is your opinion which you are entitled to. Given that homeopathy is the second most used system of medicine in the world today with more than 550 million patients I have to point out that it’s Max Sedenka vs. 550 million people who like it and use it over and over again as their families did before them. Case dismissed!

      And, finally, I am not a homeopath so am not interacting with you as such.

    • @Max Sedenka,

      Your link is to the Australian NHMRC study which is a disgrace to science, medicine and academia and which has been roundly condemned by many and is currently under review, following complaints, by the Australian Ombudsman’s office.

      For someone who touts rigorous science and proof as your foundation, you have erred on the side of prejudice in citing this source.

  • @Roslyn Ross

    (((We can only hope you are not a doctor given your consistently demonstrated level of immaturity. Although given the kill and injure rate of Allopathic medicine perhaps that level of immaturity is common.)))

    Riiight. I’m “immature”, and you’re definitely NOT a real Doctor, you just play one on the internet. Yeah, that’s REAL mature…

    (((Although given the kill and injure rate of Allopathic medicine)))

    I’ll agree that allopathic medicine has its issues, but homeopathic pez candy pills are not the answer. Since you’re not a real Doctor and you don’t know any better, I’ll explain that Integrative Healthcare & Medicine is about finding the best option for the situation at-hand, not going directly to synthetic drugs, so often times we don’t even use them because the situation doesn’t warrant them. We do however give people real medicine be it through plants, earth minerals, or diet, or all of the above.

    And FYI, the number of people dying through the use of homeopathic drugs is notable. It’s not the “medicine” itself that’s killing people (how the hell could it, it’s not real medicine) it’s the fact that people are being given these fake medicines in lieu of real ones that could actually help them.

    • Here’s the deal Max, that information and research is available. You simply choose to ignore and dismiss it as do some of your colleagues.

      It is the fact that Homeopathic medicine has been demonstrated to be effective which has it used by Allopathic doctors and in Allopathic hospitals, some of the world’s best, particularly in Europe; taught in universities and even still, some medical schools and included by Governments in State medical systems.

      What you promote is not REAL scientific data, but DISTORTED scientific data.

      To be fair it is hardly surprising given the parlous state of science-medical research where former editors of both The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine have stated much research is just plain wrong and distorted by vested agendas and the work of Dr John Ioannidis concluded MOST PUBLISHED RESEARCH IS FALSE.

      So, if you are worried about medicine, look to your own system first and let Homeopathic medicine get on with healing without killing or injuring as it has done for more than two centuries.

      THAT IS THE ONLY PROOF REQUIRED. ALL PATIENTS AND DOCTORS EVER WANT IS PROOF OF CURE AND HOMEOPATHY HAS DELIVERED THAT IN SPADES.

      Your research system is incompetent and corrupt, so, spend your time trying to save the lives of the millions Allopathic medicine kills because of it.

    • Let me acquaint you with an often ignored reality – at the end of the day it is the patient who will call the shots.

      We may still live in an age when conventional medicine, Allopathic, likes to terrify and brainwash people into submission, but, in this age of information that becomes harder to do and that is why millions are turning away from Allopathy and seeking other medical modalities, including Homeopathy.

      The kill and injure rate of Allopathic medicine is huge and its general failure to cure or heal many serious and chronic diseases, great, while its ability to provide robust health is nonexistent.

      Only fools would keep believing what the Allopathic scientists and doctors are saying.

      If you really do fear Homeopathy and other non-allopathic medical modalities then clean up your own act because people would not be walking away from your form of medicine if it delivered.

      And sure, everyone admires the skills areas of surgery and crisis-trauma but most of life is not about that.

      Most of life is more mundane and people want good health in general, not symptoms repressed or removed to pretend the doctor has done something. The Allopathic approach is akin to a mechanic cutting the wire which leads to the warning light and proclaiming the problem is solved.

      You can fool some of the people some of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

    • @ Max Sedenka,

      The days of ‘the doctor knows best’ are very long gone and unlikely to return.

      Those who use Homeopathy know what you are saying is untrue. Those who learn about Homeopathy know that it is a brilliant medical modality which, when it is finally fully embraced, will improve health enormously.

      We just have to get the Luddites and pharma profiteers out of the way.

  • Another example of medical suppression of CAM is the opioid crisis. Research shows most opioid prescription painkillers are for LBP (29.9%) and for MSD (72.9%), which are best managed with chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, self-care exercises and CBT. But due to medical prejudice, aka, chirophobia, MDs refuse to follow the new guidelines (ACP, JAMA, FDA, Joint Commission) and refer to CAM providers before using opioids, ESI, and spine fusions. There is just too much money in spine care ($100 billion) and too few ethics to allow this market to go to CAM providers as it should be. You can read Death of Spine Surgery @ http://chiropractorsforfairjournalism.com/Death_of_Spine_Surgery.html

  • Did I kill a nun or burn down an orphanage in a former life? Because I feel like I am condemned to relive this godforsaken thread over and over and over for eternity.

    • Bob, you’re looking at this entirely the wrong way. Think of this as a comedy strip: a site for real doctors of science and medicine where quacks come to passionately but inadvertently provide comedy for us, as they espouse the miracles of fake and scientifically disproven techniques, all while adding a few insults to our intellect which only adds to both the comedy and the irony of their position.

      Bob, these frauds are here quacking for OUR entertainment! Let’s appreciate all that they do in providing us with endless laughter.

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