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Here Are My Points of View On Alternative Medicine
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Hey, guys, welcome. Yuri Elkaim here with another episode of the Super Nutrition Academy Health Class. I hope you’ve been enjoying the last few episodes. We kind of changed things up a little bit, introduced you to some amazing friends of mine, experts in the fields of nutrition and different therapies to getting you well. I’m going to continue to introduce you to some amazing experts as we continue through our journey together.
Today’s topic is all about alternative medicine and whether or not it’s a joke. The reason I’m bringing this up is because I was recently on CNN.com, on their health section, and I came across an article which was written by a doctor. The title was basically “Alternative Healing or Quackery?” And, as you can imagine, coming from a medical doctor, his viewpoints were very skewed in favor of the belief or the notion that alternative therapies are not only not effective in most cases but illegitimate, if you want to even call it that.
He talks about the fact that a lot of hospitals nowadays use alternative therapies, and the reason for that is because a lot of patients are asking for that. If patients are starting to ask for that that obviously would kind of tell you something. In fact, 42 percent of hospitals in the U.S. are offering some type of alternative therapies to their patients.
The problem that medical doctors have with this is that although they believe that nontraditional therapies can be valuable, they believe sometimes the line is crossed. What the problem is, at least what this doctor was saying, is that the alternative therapist or alternative medicine doctor offers medicines that don’t work instead of those that do.
So, use the example of Steve Jobs, who had pancreatic cancer. With early surgery, Jobs would’ve had a 95 percent chance of recovery, but Jobs chose acupuncture, herbal remedies, bowel cleansing instead, and died of a consequence.
And, understand this: Jobs, as far as I know, from at least 25 years ago, he was heavy into raw foods, and he was big into natural healing. That was his philosophy of the way of doing things. Now, does that mean that had Jobs done surgery, he would’ve been better? We don’t know and we’ll never know. Maybe the chances may have been better, but, again, that was his choice.
This article goes on to state that, this doctor’s making reference to very specific cases. What this reminded me of was all of these, as we talked about vaccinations before, all of the alternative views on vaccinations and how they tend to pinpoint specific cases of autism linked to vaccines and the medical rebuttal to that is, “Well, those are individual case studies. There’s no real scientific validity to show that vaccines on a whole are dangerous,” even though we know they are.
This article kind of turn things on their head and did the flipside, whereby this doctor was pinpointing specific cases, not entire studies but specific, individual cases like the following to demonstrate how natural therapies are a joke. He talked a six-year-old boy with severe asthma who was treated with a homeopathic remedy instead of a bronchodilator that would’ve saved his life. Unfortunately, he obviously lost his life.
I can tell you from having asthma, very bad asthma, for about 20 years, bronchodilators don’t help the issue. They’re short-term fixes. Would I have died without a bronchodilator? I don’t know. Probably not. I would’ve suffered but I’m sure we would’ve figured out an alternative remedy. Maybe the homeopathic remedy wasn’t the best-suited option in that case, but that doesn’t mean that there were not other, better remedies from a natural perspective.
And then he goes on to talk about vaccinations and how naturopaths obviously don’t recommend them and how that’s a big sin. Again, going on to say that alternative therapists don’t tell you about the dangers of alternative therapies. There’s some validity to this because if you take—just because something’s natural doesn’t mean it’s better for you. Cocaine, opium, those are natural substances; they’re not very good for your health.
And the same thing with certain treatments. Just because an herbal remedy is natural, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right remedy for you. And it doesn’t mean that it’s not going to have any contraindications. A lot of herbal remedies are very powerful, and you have to really take into consideration if there’s going to be any kind of interactions with any drugs that you’re on or contraindications.
Those are things to be aware of, but, again, if you’re working with a naturopathic or someone of that nature, they will let you know if there are potential issues with that. I’m just going to go on with a couple more examples here.
He talked about how at least 86 people have died. Again, he gives no timeframe here, but this is probably over quite a long period of time. Over 86 people have died when acupuncture needles were lodged in hearts, lungs, or livers. Let’s just remember the numbers here for a second, okay?
Eighty-six people have died due to malpractice with acupuncture. Chiropractic manipulations have killed at least 26 people. I’m basically reading exactly what he says here: “virtually all by ripping the vertebral artery in the neck.”
And if you know anything about chiropractic, obviously there’s a risk with anything, and that’s why chiropractors have you sign a waiver that they’re not really liable if you have a stroke or something like that. The chances, the risks of these types of things happening with chiropractic manipulation are so, so low that it’s actually funny that he mentions it here.
Again, let’s just go with the sake of the argument here. Chiropractic manipulations have killed 26 people. Let’s stop there for a second, and I want to give you guys some perspective. He’s using examples of malpractice in chiropractic and acupuncture use. I want to compare those numbers to the medical industry.
Let’s just not forget something, that there have been more, far more complications due to medical malpractice. I’m not even going to talk about botched surgeries or the number of people that get sick by going to a hospital. I’m just going to talk about medication specifically for a second.
There was a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2010 that showed that 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care and some repeatedly. Over 63 percent of injuries could have been prevented. This kind of talks about the aggregates of medical, pharmaceutical interaction or innovation with, whether it be stuff that’s happening in the hospital.
Two point five percent of these cases contributed to death. Another 3 percent of patients suffered from permanent injury while over 8 percent experienced life-threatening issues such as severe bleeding during surgeries. These are kind of surgically-related stuff.
Now, the doctors are not going to tell you that when they tell you to go to the hospital and do all your stuff, your surgery, your pancreatic surgery for cancer. You have to understand there’s a risk. There’s a risk of not doing the surgery if you have pancreatic cancer and you’re Steve Jobs, and there’s a risk of doing the surgery.
Just watch Grey’s Anatomy or one of those shows. That’s obviously maybe a fictitious example, but not everything in a hospital is all clean and peachy. Another study that was presented in the, it’s actually called 13th Annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study. What they found out was that one in nine patients developed a hospital-acquired infection. And the incidence rate of medical harm occurring is estimated to be over 40 thousand each and every day, according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
That’s 40 thousand incidents. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of people who are going to their doctor, going to the hospital hoping they’re going to feel better and are turning out to be on the losing side of that equation.
Now, if we look at the numbers objectively, yes, there are far more people seeking out traditional medical care than people seeking out chiropractic care. I would be very shocked to see 40 thousand people who have strokes or heart attacks or death as a result of chiropractic manipulation. I would also be shocked to see 40 thousand people per day—remember, per day—who would be affected by acupuncture.
If we compare those numbers back to what this doctor was saying, at least 86 people have died from acupuncture. And this is over a certain amount of time; this is not per day. This is 86 people over several years. Twenty-six people due to chiropractic manipulations over a longer time, not per day.
This stuff we have to keep this stuff in perspective because, again, it’s confusing, it’s misleading, and it’s worrisome. And I’m not saying that you have to avoid going to your doctor’s or avoid going to the hospital, because, in a lot of cases, they’re necessary. But when I see articles like this saying that alternative practitioners are dangerous because what they’re doing is unethical and, in a lot of cases, unmerited, well, you can easily rebuttal that by looking at the statistics of this kind of stuff that’s happening in medical practice.
The Archives of Internal Medicine show that sepsis and pneumonia caused by hospital-acquired infections killed 48,000 people in 2006 alone and cost the health care system 8.1 billion dollars. I often tell a lot of people, especially my mom. She’s a baby boomer; she tends to rely a little bit too much on the medical system, even alternative practitioners. She actually recently had a bout of really bad vertigo. I can’t remember the name of the issue, but where it all stemmed from was she went to go see her ear, nose, and throat specialist, and she had her earwax cleared out.
About a week later she got up in the morning—actually, she didn’t even get out of bed. The entire room was spinning. It was so bad that she had to call the ambulance. They had to take her to the hospital and the doctors had to do a special maneuver on her to reduce the vertigo and then they obviously—what do you think?—they prescribed her medication. What on earth does medication have to do with vertigo?
There was a mechanical dislodging in one of the crystals in the vestibular system in those little canals in the inner ear. It was a physical little crystal that had moved around that caused it, and it’s amazing how something so small can really just upset your entire world. And obviously I’ve been checking up on her and stuff and looking at the stuff that she was recommended to take, and I’m thinking, well, how does a medication physically make that better?
It’s like if you broke your bone. How does a medication, or even calcium, speed the recovery of bone in that case? It’s one thing if you have a bone fracture where the bone is still intact, but let’s say your bone is physically separated, you have the bone sticking out of your skin. What is the medication going to do to reset the bone? Nothing, right?
It’s the same idea here. It’s like you almost have to go through different maneuvers with your head and kind of just hope over time that it improves and, thankfully it has improved.
What’s interesting is that she’s been working quite extensively with our doctor of natural medicine, Brenda, who’s incredible. Brenda started doing a lot of energy work on her, as well as some of the maneuvers that were done at the hospital. As soon as she saw Brenda that one day, her improvement was tremendous. It was like a 50 percent improvement within the space of a couple hours.
Again, that’s just one example, but I really want you guys to think about this, because it’s so easy to get caught up when you see something on CNN Health saying that alternative therapists are deadly. Oh my God, I’m going to go to my chiropractor and I’m going to get manipulated and have a stroke and die! The stats are so not in favor of that. Unfortunately, the medical doctors are not going to say, “Yes, forty thousand people each day are becoming sicker as a result of the medical system. One in nine patients are developing hospital-acquired infections,” all this other stuff.
I just find it’s very unfortunate there’s such a disparity between these two separate camps, the alternative world and the old guard of the medical world. My hope is that over time, this becomes a little bit more integrated. I think doctors like Dr. Andrew Weil, who does a great job at integrating both practices of traditional medical, kind of Westernized medicine with alternative therapies is a great example of integrating and merging the two because it’s important.
It would be very irresponsible for me to say, “Never take a vaccine, never go to your doctor, never go to the hospital.” I have my viewpoints on severely limiting those, but I can’t tell you that that’s what you should do. I want to provide both sides of the equation to you so you can make a better-informed decision because it’s scary stuff.
If we look at just some more statistics here for you, in 2009 there were 3.7 billion prescriptions filled in the U.S. No other country in the world takes more pharmaceutical medication than in the United States of America. That averages to 12 prescriptions for every person in the U.S. Twelve. Most people don’t even get 12 fruits and vegetables per day, yet the average—and not everyone’s on medication, so that means some people are on way more than 12—12 prescriptions per day.
Specialists give more than two prescriptions per visit—these are stats. Eighty-nine percent of Medicare patients take prescription medicine daily. Forty-six percent take five or more prescriptions chronically. Nearly 54 percent take meds prescribed by more than one doctor.
You’d think that if these medicines were so helpful, the U.S. would have a very healthy population. But we know that the U.S. spends more than about 7500 dollars per year per person for health care in the U.S., and they have the 49th-ranked health care system in the world.
We look at countries like where I live, Canada. Canada spends half of that amount. I believe it’s just over three thousand dollars per person per year on health care, and Canada’s life expectancy is three years longer for male and females average than in the U.S.
It’s a scary thing. We could talk about this forever, but I think I’ll kind of bring this to a close. The whole idea here and the whole premise behind Super Nutrition Academy is to give you objective and not just opinionated opinions on this stuff, but to kind of cut through the clutter, cut through the garbage, because there’s so much nonsense out there. And you have to remember, in the media a lot of it is what is going to make good news, what is going to make good TV. A lot of this stuff is very controversial, and that’s what they’re looking to do.
CNN, if you watch CNN, which I really hope you don’t, if you think about it, they have to fill up airtime 24 hours a day. I remember watching a piece on this where they’re literally just, there was a piece on “experts,” and the whole industry of experts has exploded because of this need to feed the beast.
These TV stations, these networks need experts to come on to the shows for half-hour segments to provide content for the viewers. A lot of times it’s all about what makes good TV. This person says this, this person says the complete opposite, and they go at it. It’s like a boxing match on TV over this kind of stuff.
It does nothing more than confuse the everyday person who’s watching this, and that’s why I think one of the best things you can do is stop consuming popular media. Really. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health, and it’s also one of the things that I recommend.
Instead of subscribing to a thousand different newsletters and getting all sorts of different opinions, unsubscribe from everything other than maybe a few, and I hope Super Nutrition Academy is one of those that you maintain, because it’s not about, you don’t need to know a thousand different opinions.
You need to follow one person’s advice or one source of information and just go with that. And if that’s CNN Health, then just, for whatever reason, go with that. But I know, obviously, you’re not into that arena since you’re listening to this podcast.
But this whole information overload, we have become obese on information, and it’s the wrong information, just as we’ve become obese on the wrong foods. We need to cut out the crap not only from our foods but also from the misinformation out there.
What do you think about this? I’d love to hear your feedback. Join me on the blog; we’re at SuperNutritionAcademy.com/blog. Find this episode on “Is Alternative Medicine a Joke?” and let me know. What do you think about alternative therapies? Have you used any? Which ones have worked? Which ones do you feel haven’t worked as much? And do you have any stories from the medical community that have worked well for you or things have been contraindicated and kind of backfired? I’d love to hear both perspectives.
Yeah, that’s about it for today. Again, guys, I’m really passionate about getting this message out to more people, so please share this information. Share these episodes with your friends, with your families, and get people to listen to this, because this is information that people need to know about. I’m trying to present it to you in an objective as possible manner. Obviously, I have my biases, but I think this is very important information that we all need to know and understand.
So, with that said, I’ll see you on the blog, and I’ll see you on the next episode. Have a great day.
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