The better we conventional doctors handle a problem, the less you’ll read about “alternative” treatments. Your local health food store doesn’t sell an herbal remedy for appendicitis. Don’t laugh. Until a century ago victims died after weeks of agony. Then we discovered that snipping off the appendix (something any bright high school student can do) cured it. This is one of many genuine medical miracles we take for granted. Some of us remember the herpes panic of the late seventies. The AIDS panic that followed overshadowed it, but Time and Newsweek published cover stories on herpes, and the New York Times described it as the twentieth century bubonic plague. Alternative remedies were everywhere, not a few sold by entrepreneurial doctors. Then a good drug appeared, and the market for herpes cures dried up.
On the other hand, doctors don’t do so well treating obesity, arthritis, aging, or senility. If you want a treatment that works but that conventional doctors ignore, check the internet, a bookstore, or your favorite magazine. You’ll find plenty.
Many alternative healers are M.D.’s like me. They have names like Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil. They agree that scientific medicine has much to offer but insist that it is merely one of many routes to healing.
They assert that it’s equally important to tap our spiritual energy, maintain a healthy optimism, promote natural healing with balanced and pure nutrients available through their web sites, and keep an open mind to cures wrought by eastern religion, nonwestern medicine, and pioneering researchers ignored by the establishment.
It is my belief that this is nonsense, but as someone convinced that science is the road to truth, I’m obligated to present evidence. So….
I write an obscure blog. Weil and Chopra write bestsellers. My books never sold much (I’ve written five, none self-published). I cannot figure out how to sell ads for this blog. Weil and Chopra do not have this problem. They sell wonderful stuff on their web sites. They appear on TV all the time. I’m shy; I would refuse if asked, but no one asks.
It doesn’t look good, does it? Maybe I’m wrong.