Alternative medicine "exists in an alternate universe from real medicine"

Panda Bear tells it like it is on complementary medicine:

It wants to be legitimate but manages to avoid the responsibilities and liability of real medical practice. As most CAM treats nebulous symptoms with equally nebulous modalities, there is no measurable standard for efficacy of any of the treatments . . . There are no bad outcomes just as there are no good outcomes. It’s all highly subjective. If you’re not really treating a disease, you can get away with this and probably why EMTALA does not apply to CAM.

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  • Philip

    I am a practicing MD and an associate professor in the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. I also advocate integrating acupuncture into our medical curriculum.

    I have successfully used acupuncture to treat such nebulous symptoms such as intractable migraine, breech presentation of a fetus, fibromyalgia, chronic low back pain, facial tics no longer responsive to antiseizure drugs.

    But what do we know? Maybe the patients just “imagine” themselves feeling better.

    For the record, many studies in China, Korea, Japan and the United States (not double blind, but how do you double blind a procedure like acupuncture or surgery?) have shown the efficacy of acupuncture using western criteria, particularly those studies involving motion deficits.

    If alternative medicine exists in a different universe than western medicine, then maybe western medicine should get out of it’s shell and see the world for what it is.

    I always tell patients that I am still primarily a Western physician (and I do recognize which problems are better treated by either modality: for example, I had a patient with a painful ankle, I had an MRI done and it showed a torn ligament. I promptly referred the patient to an orthopedic surgeon. In return, orthopedic surgeons refer patients to me for pain control)

  • Philip

    Oh, I forgot, and there are good and bad outcomes. Good outcome: facial tics disappear, migraine doesn’t come back for years, back pain is relieved etc etc. Bad outcome: either nothing happens or symptoms persist.

  • Anonymous

    A good example of subjective reckoning and testimonial.

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