25th July 2012
This morning, I got off a plane at London Heathrow having just returned from a few days of meetings with US clinicians practicing what the mainstream would call alternative medicine. While in the US, as with many previous visits, I was witness to case history evidence of very impressive, positive outcomes for patients previously suffering a whole host of complications with which orthodox medicine has had only marginal success – usually while inducing side effects or other diseases. The problem is well illustrated by statins, which were designed to treat heart attacks but which also increased risk of diabetes. Conversely, GSK’s blockbuster drug Avandia, touted as an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes, actually turns out to cause heart attacks. While this resulted in Avandia being banned in Europe, it continues to sell in the US and many other markets. Dr Mark Hyman from the Institute of Functional Medicine, at a recent conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, referred to this paradox as Pharmageddon.
The ultimate irony is that the abundance of positive outcomes we’ve so often witnessed is brought about by systems of healthcare that are – in effect – illegal in Europe. On the one hand, the products employed may be considered unlicensed medicines simply because they have profound effects on health. At the same time, professional bodies overseeing practitioners, particularly medical doctors, consider such treatments unproven. As a result, they are challenged repeatedly by the Big Pharma-influenced media, government regulators and, of course, that noisy band of skeptics who seem unable to see the wood for the trees.
Pondering this ludicrous state of affairs, it soon becomes obvious just how twisted the ‘scientific evaluation’ process for establishing the effectiveness of medical treatments has become. The altar of evidence-based medicine appears to be a decoy, built by people aiming to control healthcare via the use of patented, new-to-nature drugs. The consistent attitude is that, unless you’ve got a clinical trial to show the effectiveness of your treatment, you ain’t got nothing! There is a big problem with this reasoning, however. No clinician worth his or her salt, who is consistently helping patients to regain health after temporarily losing it to some complex, chronic disease, would ever consider using just one intervention, be it a single herb, nutrient, manipulation — or even drug.
We all know that the body is only able to re-establish its natural equilibrium, or perfect state of health, when a whole range of processes come back into balance. This might involve providing the body with phytonutrients, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, or other constituents that are missing in the diet. It might also involve taking out a gamut of things that upset metabolic processes within the body, such as white flour, sugar, alcohol — or a toxic working environment. It might necessitate proper lymphatic drainage by getting the patient to engage in regular exercise, yoga practice or use of an inversion table. For many people, especially those who have been poor responders to less multi-faceted treatments, it will almost certainly involve work on the patient’s emotional health.
Even more distasteful to the mainstream is the work of some practitioners who yield stunning results when also working with subtle energies and a patient’s bioenergetic field. Indeed, the existence of this area is only just beginning to be recognised by mainstream medicine. And, let’s remember, these are just a few of the strategies that might be employed in a single patient benefiting from integrated healthcare systems that really work.
The challenge in terms of society’s recognition of these multi-factorial healthcare strategies is that we don’t have any generally accepted, objective, scientific methods currently available to measure the ‘total effect’ as experienced by the patient. Well, this is one of the most exciting aspects of the work we at ANH, though our international Scientific and Medical Collaboration, have been engaged with now for around a year. In the coming weeks, we’ll be starting pilot trials with clinicians in different parts of the world, in order to measure the total effect of the patient’s experience following the intervention of the practitioner.
No, it’s not a double blind, placebo-controlled trial, because that kind of experimentation, which has been elevated into ‘gold standard’ position by pro-pharmaceutical interests, has no place in evaluating clinical experience. Nor is it just a case report series. But we’ll hold back on providing technical details until we’re ready to publish preliminary results.
For you, the patient, the most important thing is whether or not you experience a positive outcome. And you might need to be reminded not to allow your judgement to become clouded when you read in the paper, or hear from a government ‘expert’, that there’s no evidence that a particular modality or treatment works. Until research methods, such as those we’re currently working on, are validated, you’re better off doing what most societies have done for millennia: Find out from people around you, whether friends, relatives, or people you connect with on social media, what their own experiences have been. Society’s experience of healthcare acts as a reasonable indicator of what works and what doesn’t. That’s one reason why so many are disillusioned by pharmaceutical therapies, and why, whatever negativity might be thrown in the direction of so-called alternative medicine by those threatened by it, people just keep coming back for more.
We passionately believe in free choice for the individual – but you’ll understand this is something that gets taken away from us if we don’t rise up and defend our rights.
In health, naturally
Rob Verkerk PhD
Executive and scientific director
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