Yes, I know I briefly talked about alternative treatments before. If it seemed like I simply dismissed them, that’s because I approach them with a healthy dose of skepticism.
But I do consider them valid in some cases.
Besides, if Steve Jobs with his billions of dollars and vast resources couldn’t beat cancer with solely alternative treatments. I have zero chance.
History of Alternative Treatments
Alternative treatments have been used for all of human history. Before science had developed to the point where we could understand anatomy and physiology. We had little choice (well, no choice) but to use all natural remedies for everything.
Some do have real and useful applications that we were able to discover through research. Vitamin A, retinoic acid, was found to help people with breast cancer. For a long time, this was dismissed as the placebo effect. But studies finally showed the retinoic acid receptor in certain breast cancer cells was defective and the extra retinoic acid did have a positive effect.
Current Alternative Treatments
I’m going to break this down into two categories.
Useful Alternative Treatments
The Mayo Clinic has a wonderful section on this. Alternative treatments can be useful for helping cope with symptoms and side effects. However, they are not a cure. I will not be cured with the use of essential oils, supplements, yoga, meditation or hypnosis.
Those are useful in coping with stress, sleep problems and other side effects from the treatment.
Dangerous Alternative Treatments
This is usually along the lines of making lofty claims about holistic medicine. No, there is currently no big pharma conspiracy sponsored by Monsanto to hide the health benefits of inserting oils into your rectum. These treatments are insanely dangerous because they have no medical research and are not verified in any way.
While I was looking at these treatments I found one that recommended coffee enemas. At that point, I sat in the corner and cried for humanity.
All of these rely on anecdotal evidence rather than research. For the record, the plural of anecdote is not data.
I am not completely against alternative treatments for helping reduce symptoms and side effects. I am against and everyone should be these wild claims about magic cures.
And no, I will not attempt a coffee enema, not even for science.