Western Medicine

Not long ago on Reptiles Canada, one of the members posted a piece about the wonders of fruit and the dangers (yes, dangers) of eating it AFTER MEALS (cue scary-voice)! It seems that the wundercure that is fruit turns nefarious if eaten on a full stomach. Also: drinking cold water after a meal causes cancer. Needless to say, I was not impressed. I replied that the piece lacked any sort of evidence and was simply making dramatic claims, and that I was sceptical. The piece also brought out some of the less informed among the board, who began extolling the wonders of organic and chemical free diets, as well as the evils of the food and drug industries. Of course, their primary complaint was "Western Medicine". My reply was perhaps more antagonistic than necessary, but thankfully several other members of the forum were able to state the case in more reasoned manners. The thread quietly died, and I won an argument on the interwebs. Obviously a huge life accomplishment.

Unfortunately the believers in food-magic couldn't leave it there, and a few days ago the discussion was kicked up again. Back into the ring they threw their despicable terminology, and we once more are rallied to the defence of science. 

All of the above is, of course, my long winded way of stating that I'm going to talk about the term Western Medicine, and why I hate it so much.

These proponents of Chinese/Herbal/Natural/Woo (CHNWoo) medicine would have us believe that this is a simple issue. There are those who trust the evil Western Medicine, which is a money-hungry industry, and those who put faith in the planet, chakras, xi, and magic plants. This, of course, is just another aspect of fanaticism being filtered through a persecution complex. They want to believe in the simplistic quick-fix of food-magic so badly that they invent an entire industry of greedy doctors who want nothing so much as to make money and indirectly kill babies.

Western Medicine is either a misunderstood concept or downright made up, depending on how extreme the opposition is feeling. It is supposed to be based around treating only the symptoms of illness, being corrupted by greedy corporations who are jealous of CHNWoo's true ability to heal. All of which is bollocks. Evidence based medicine is what CHNWoo supporters label as WM, and it has nothing in common with the latter. Evidence based medicine is a scientific process based around testing theories and applying them to practical applications in managing and curing human ailments. At times it treats symptoms, but the true focus is the eradication of illness through understanding its processes. Nor does evidence based medicine discriminate against natural remedies. If a substance in nature can be co-opted for healing the body, and can be shown to do so with empirical evidence, it becomes medicine. The reason that CHNWoo is not accepted by evidence based medicine is that... it's not medicine. Studies done on the majority of herbal remedies, acupuncture, chiropractic therapies, and -gag- homeopathy, consistently show that there is little to no effect. In the case of the more extreme CHNWoo such as homeopathy and water therapy (sorry... hydrotherapy) not only is there no measurable effect, but there is no scientific basis for the "remedies" themselves. If these absurdities were to actually be viable scientific therapies they would pass into the realm of real, evidence based medicine, and cease to be woo.

Hopefully this is more an informative piece than an outright rant. My ability to explain is far behind my ability to understand at this point, but hey, that's why I'm wasting my time here :P

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