Wednesday, March 28, 2018

It is easy to sell snake-oil

 People typically turn to alternative therapies after a negative experience with a doctor or when conventional treatments have little to offer. There is evidence that alternative medicine is on the rise. According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), 38% of adults in the US are using some form of complementary or alternative medicine and last year three more states – Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island – introduced licensing systems for naturopathic practitioners. Globally, one market analysis last year projected that the complementary medicine market would expand to have a revenue of nearly $200bn (£143bn) by 2025

In the US twenty-three states and US territories have licensing systems that permit the use of the title “naturopathic doctor”. The roughly 6,000 registered practitioners are allowed to perform some medical tests, make diagnoses and prescribe certain medicines, as well as offer complementary cures and dietary advice. Some health insurers also cover naturopathic care.

Providing emotional support is the one aspect in which mainstream medicine might learn something from alternative therapists. They spend a lot of time with patients. They talk about emotional wellness and the details of how you’re sleeping and the quality of your sleep, so you form these close connections. That can be really therapeutic. Sceptics in the scientific community often focus only on debunking quack remedies rather than trying to understand why people seek alternatives in the first place.

 In the UK, surveys have found that around 40% of adults have used alternative therapies in the past year, with herbal medicine tending to be the most popular, followed by homeopathy, aromatherapy, massage and reflexology. When you have figureheads doubting the credibility of mainstream medicine, it creates a ripe breeding ground for the rise of pseudoscience.

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

bee acupuncture therapy is "unsafe and unadvisable".