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230 thoughts on “Modern shamanism—naturopathy for hypertension

  1. cheglabratjoe says:

    vargkill,

    You are the one making the positive claims, so you are the one expected to provide evidence. As an extreme example, I believe that fairies cured your ailments when you went to the acupressure clinic. Prove me wrong!!!

    At a quick glance, your link is not very impressive. The information is pretty sparse, with hardly any details about the experiment. What do they mean by “physical therapy,” was it truly randomized, what does “reduction of disability” mean, what statistics were used, was this a peer-reviewed study (is BMJ the British Medical Journal), what previous studies do the results support, etc etc etc.

    You mentioned being worried about things you read online. Reading peer-reviewed journal articles would help. Even the abstracts (which should always be available for free) of such an article would probably (but not definitely) be better than a random un-sourced blog entry. PubMed is a good resource for searching medical articles.

  2. vargkill says:

    cheglabratjoe

    Why is no one else providing links to any studies claiming
    that alternative medicine is indeed “quackery”?

  3. cheglabratjoe says:

    vargkill,

    I’ve already told you: the onus is on your to prove your ideas, not on us to disprove your ideas. If we’re going to play that game, I would like you to disprove the notion that fairies cured you.

    To make you happy, here is a study I found on Pubmed. It’s a review, but that should be acceptable. Here is the citation: J Perioper Pract. 2008 Dec;18(12):543-51. Here is the abstract:

    “This literature review sets out to investigate the effectiveness of acupressure and acupuncture in preventing and managing postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) in adult patients. PONV is problematic, affecting patient satisfaction, delayed discharge and even patient re-admission. Current treatment of PONV constitutes a variety of drug therapies, which are only partially effective. With the integration of complementary and alternative medicines in healthcare, this review examined 10 research studies investigating the use of acupressure and acupuncture in treating PONV. Three studies found acupressure to be effective in preventing PONV. However, population samples were small and the research designs had numerous anomalies. Overall the article suggests that acupuncture and acupressure are ineffective in preventing and managing PONV in adult patients. Further investigation of the effectiveness of acupressure and acupuncture, combined with current drug therapies, using well designed and adequately powered studies is needed. Published studies predominantly examined the use of P6 as the pressure point. Further studies should examine other ‘acupoint’ sites, to ascertain whether these are effective dependent upon the operative site.”

    Only three out of ten studies demonstrated any positive effect from acupuncture/pressure, and those weren’t very good studies (small sample size, and experimental “anomalies”). This study indicates that acupuncture/pressure doesn’t work to prevent nausea, which I believe is something is it proposed to especially work for.

  4. vargkill says:

    cheglabratjoe

    “I’ve already told you: the onus is on your to prove your ideas, not on us to disprove your ideas. If we’re going to play that game, I would like you to disprove the notion that fairies cured you”.

    You’re subscribing to the notion that it is in fact ok for you
    to ask me to prove my claims, yet me asking you to prove yours
    is completly absurd? What how would you expect any normal
    person to respond to that kinda thinking?

    Now one thing i need to point out is that the study in which
    you refrenced is no more large scale then the study i posted
    that link to about back pain. Small scare and not enough research. So then how is that anymore convincing then my
    argument? You seem to be comparing apples and apples here.

    Also i might add, since you guys seem to be on such a large
    scale crusade here against CAM, why noy conduct a large scale
    research project to once and for all silence all of the CAM folks?

    That was my original challange! You guys are the doctors!
    You are the ones on a personal crusade here, not me. I never
    once bashed your medical practice on here. I only stated that
    CAM seemed to have worked for me and that the person i go
    to seems to be very very good at what he does. I never once
    said that SBM is evil and does not work.

    So for a bunch of doctors whom are most likely to be presumed
    intelligent, i cannot understand why it should be up to me to
    have to prove that CAM works. If i could prove beyond a shadow
    of a doubt then trust me i would. The difference between me
    and most people on here is that since you are a doctor/scientist, that would make you smarter then me in this field
    hence making me easily silenced.

    I assume the general concenses is that you didn’t personally
    like that challenge so therefor its all the sudden up to me to
    prove anything beyond my own personal expirence. Which is
    utterly impossible considering there are studies to suggest
    that acupressure works and studies to suggest it does not.

    So who truly wins here? Even if you can fully debunk acupressure which i can guarentee you cannot, it still does
    not change what i witnessed with my own 2 eyes.

    Let me ask you, if GOD himself came to you right now and told
    you something, yet a bunch of people told you it was some kinda mind trick or some bullcrap, would that change the fact
    that you seen what you seen? Would a book on evolution be
    able to help you realize you did not see what you seen because
    it suggests we are all just a matter of chance?

    Get my point? Some things in life cannot be measured by science
    or better yet, might be just a bit more difficult to measure.

  5. vargkill says:

    Sorry for my type-o in that last post… Typed that way to fast.

  6. weing says:

    What kind of studies would we have to do to prove that fairies did not cure your ailments? You and the rest of your CAM crowd are the ones making claims. You want us to accept your claims without any proof, just your say so? Sorry. Do you expect me to believe a pharmaceutical company’s claim that its medication normalizes blood pressure and peripheral vascular resistance because it says so? If I say I don’t believe it, they come back saying I have to prove my claim that it doesn’t, and since I can’t or won’t, then I have to accept it. Yeah, that would really work on me. Not!

  7. weing says:

    Anyway, who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?

  8. vargkill says:

    weing

    Again, you are the doctors not me. Im not the pharmaceutical
    company. If they tell you a pill comes out they have more credit
    then i do right? So as a doctor you should easily be able to debunk what im trying to say.

    And in case you forgot, i believe this blog is all about trying to
    debunk CAM folks. So then why are you not doing something or
    posting links for me to read to try and convince me that CAM
    is crap? All your doing is making stupid statements as if im some
    scientist or some pharmaceutical employee trying to prove something to the MD community. Im a nobody who decided
    medicine was not his calling in life. How hard can it be for you
    to prove me and other people who practice or believe in CAM
    that it is, in the terms of some folks on here “quackery”?

    You seem like a well rounded educated man. So what i am asking is not hard. You have more of an ability then me to prove
    yourself. I dont have access to labs, or other people in the MD
    or science community like you folks do. So use your tools to your
    advanted and finally silence the CAM folks!

    “Anyway, who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes”?

    What else do i have? Want me to go and video tape a session
    with Mr Wu? What else can i do? Hold him at gun point and make him teach the world how he does it? I never said you personally or anyone has to believe me for that matter. But you
    are asking me to spend the time to look up some kinda websites on studies over my claims.

    Again lets get a study together to finally once and for all
    see if its bullcrap or now. Im willing to be proactive here are
    any of you?

  9. Dr Benway says:

    Vargkill,

    Humans make statements about the world. Some are true; some are mostly true; some are partly true; some are false.

    The set of true claims is small compared to the other sets added together. In fact, the number of false claims about the world might be infinite, as anyone can make up a crazy idea.

    So you see, if humans must disprove false claims, they will never have time for any fun. For this reason, the burden of proof always rests on the shoulders of the person asserting the claim.

    There’s one exception: stating that a claim is unproven requires no proof. All claims are initially “unproven” until someone provides supporting evidence.

  10. vargkill says:

    Dr Benway

    Again, and it really pains me to have to keep saying this
    over and over again… There really seems to be a lack of
    reader comprehension going on here, which i find sad
    coming from a room full of educated people…

    the prestige of the all mighty doctor is slowly starting to expire
    like a candle in a soft breeze… no longer illuminated by the
    fact that your ability to understand what i have writen over and
    over again is simply lost in the simplest of laymen’s terms…
    As a matter of fact, your lack of reader comprehension is so
    gross that it most of you have proven to be the coup de grâce
    of this conversation.

    Kinda sad since im speaking in
    such a simple manner, hence not using big words and not
    writing on a college education level. This is purly done so nothing gets lost in translation, but i see that has done me
    no good thus far.

    The only thing you guys on here keep doing is firing back with
    cheap, defensive rehtoric in an attempt to be the all mighty
    winner of the conversation. Im not asking any of you to discuss the theory of relativity. Im asking you to again, prove what i
    expirenced was bullcrap, or better in your terms, “quackery”.

    Again, when did i say i believed that every form of alternative
    medicine worked? When did i say that i knew for a fact that
    it did. I for one can admit that there is a possibility that i am
    wrong, but since i personally went through it myself, it made
    me ask myself a lot of questions.

    “So you see, if humans must disprove false claims, they will never have time for any fun. For this reason, the burden of proof always rests on the shoulders of the person asserting the claim”.

    The claim was made long before i started posting on this blog.
    The claim was made that alternative medicine practioners
    are bunk. I seen no evidence that offers any proof or any that
    in fact i can personally count on. So yes Dr Benway, i guess
    the burden of proof rests on your shoulders and every other
    doctor on here who claims that my expirence was bogus and
    everyone else who so dear believe in this “quackery” form
    of medicine. So please continue to bloviate, and contridict yourself in the process of trying to get me the “quackery” believer to bare the burden of proof. Considering this jamboree
    was happening long before i came along. You’re all asserting
    the claim so i think its time to man up!

    “There’s one exception: stating that a claim is unproven requires no proof. All claims are initially “unproven” until someone provides supporting evidence”.

    Im waiting Dr…
    As stated previously, lets get some kinda research going here.
    Lets get all the tests going, and once and for all lay this demon
    to rest. Anyone in? Im sure it would be a simple yet complex
    study, then you could silence people like me!

  11. Dr Benway says:

    “The claim was made that alternative medicine practioners are bunk.”

    CAM is a set of unproven therapies.

    “Bunko” is “A swindle in which you cheat at gambling or persuade a person to buy worthless property.”

    Insofar as a practitioner misrepresents some unproven therapy as proven, that practitioner may be deemed a bunko artist.

    “So yes Dr Benway, i guess the burden of proof rests on your shoulders and every other doctor on here who claims that my expirence was bogus and everyone else who so dear believe in this “quackery” form of medicine.”

    No, the onus remains upon your shoulders to provide evidence in support of your claim that a particular faith healer can diagnose physical problems without taking a history of doing an exam.

    Until you provide evidence, your claim remains unproven.

  12. Chris says:

    Dr. Benway:

    No, the onus remains upon your shoulders to provide evidence in support of your claim that a particular faith healer can diagnose physical problems without taking a history of doing an exam.

    Until you provide evidence, your claim remains unproven.

    What is so difficult with the concept that if you make a claim that you must provide the evidence?

    Some suggested reading with reference to the evidence:
    Snake Oil Science
    and
    Trick or Treatment

    They are both available at most American libraries (unlike Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science”, which I am going to have to pay more for to order from Europe!).

  13. Dr Benway says:

    Once you grock the onus concept, vargkill, you will advance a degree in logic-fu. You will enjoy mental, social, and political power you did not have before.

  14. vargkill says:

    Good lord!!

    How am i supposed to do this? Are you going to come to WI
    and challange the guy?

    As i said before, you claim, wait… you all claim on this blog
    that CAM is fake, so where is the research? Why am i being
    asked to provide so much but you refuse to provide anything
    to me?

    Chris

    We can read book all day man, Im asking these doctors
    to go and prove this with a study.

    Again and for the last damn time.

    What can do to get this research going? Lets show the world
    throught this research that its a waste of time.

  15. vargkill says:

    Ok i almost forgot to add…

    There are so many books that support acupressure and so many
    that do not. That is why i will not read your book suggestions Chris, but i will keep them in mind.

    Im asking the doctors to do something that im sure will
    benefit all of mankind. Come on lets do this thing and we
    can watch your enemies prove their own undoing.

  16. Joe says:

    @Chris on 26 Apr 2009 at 1:02 am Concerning Goldacre’s “Bad Science.”

    I bought an inexpensive copy through Amazon under “new and used”. The vendor said “ships from Delaware” but it came by Royal post directly from the UK. As I write, there are two inexpensive copies listed, as well as some unbearably expensive ones.

    Note: There is a new edition of the book containing a chapter that was held-back because it described ongoing (at the time) litigation. So, you could wait until Amazon lists the new edition, or, buy the old ed. and download the added chapter (free) from http://www.badscience.net/2009/04/matthias-rath-steal-this-chapter/

    @vargkill on 26 Apr 2009 at 1:36 am wrote “There are so many books that support acupressure and so many
    that do not. That is why i will not read your book suggestions Chris …”

    “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” So, why do you argue with people who have the wherewithal to understand the subject and form proper conclusions (and have done so)?

  17. weing says:

    “There are so many books that support acupressure and so many
    that do not. That is why i will not read your book suggestions Chris, but i will keep them in mind.

    Im asking the doctors to do something that im sure will
    benefit all of mankind. Come on lets do this thing and we
    can watch your enemies prove their own undoing.”

    I’ll get on that topic as soon as I convince my kids that Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny are not real.

    A question for you. If you won’t read the book suggestions that Chris gave you because of the above reason, why would you read and accept what we would write? What’s the difference?

  18. Chris says:

    Also, the books I suggested actually go into how to read a study and how to determine if it is biased, or has much weight. They would both help determine who one should actually get valid information from.

    The kicker is that Snake Oil Science includes a section on how to find an alternative medicine practitioner. I thought you might find useful.

  19. vargkill says:

    Well here, ill start playing along…

    Ok assume i have never read any book or did any kinda
    looking into the matter.

    You all caught me red handed!!

    I have no clue what im doing on this blog!

    One day i woke up high on crack and decided to start
    arguing with a bunch of doctors!!

    Shame on me…

  20. Chris says:

    Need we need to remind you again that not every one here is a doctor? Plus the author of Snake Oil Science is not a medical doctor (he is a biostatistician), and one of the authors of Trick or Treatment is a physicist.

    Anyway, all that anyone has asked you to do is to provide some real evidence for what you claim. The Snake Oil Science can be a guide on how to evaluate that evidence.

    Well, no one would ever accuse you have having an open mind:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=442

  21. vargkill says:

    Chris

    I know everyone on here is not a doctor. Including yourself.

    Once again i am asking the doctors on here to conduct a new
    study to find out once and for all if alternative is bunk or not.

    What is so hard about that request?

    I stress again, i have read books just like that but what i am
    trying to tell you is this was a different expirence for me. Was not like most patterns that certain folks in the field of alternative
    medicine follow. Do you understand what i am saying.

    Now back to the point, doctors need more concrete evidence
    to debunk alternative medicine other then links to studies
    that still do not bare enough conclusive evidence on this
    matter.

    Other then that if i told you jesus came to me in real life
    and told me to argue with you people on here, what evidence
    could i find to make you believe me?

    See how hard and not possible that would be? I feel as if
    i witnessed something on a deep spiritual level. Nothing nor
    any amount of science can measure that. No book can possibly
    explain what i expirenced. This is on a whole new level or else
    i would easily be able to see the logic and the explination
    in what i witnessed.

    You dont have to believe me but im issuing the challange
    to get opinions or see what others have to say and it is very
    hard to find people with an open mind.

    Heres a bold question and really has nothing to do with the
    topic at hand, but might help explain a lot…

    Does anyone on here believe in god? a god? or better put…
    the possibility of something spiritual?

  22. weing says:

    “Other then that if i told you jesus came to me in real life
    and told me to argue with you people on here, what evidence
    could i find to make you believe me?”

    Jesus Hernandez? You know him too? So what? Just relay his message.

    “Does anyone on here believe in god? a god? or better put…
    the possibility of something spiritual?”

    Speaking only for myself, who grew up a Roman Catholic and is now an agnostic. Belief in God and an afterlife is very comforting, especially if you lose a loved one. But the comfort is not enough to make the belief true. I think we are programmed to believe in a God. Again, that is not enough to make the belief true. I am not an atheist, as I have no way of knowing one way or the other. I think those people who do, are probably much smarter than me.

    Spirituality is another word that for most of my life has been in search of a meaning. I think of it now as what animates you, or has you take an interest in whatever interests you. In my case, I find spirituality in science, medicine, learning new things about the world around us and finding ways of applying that knowledge.

  23. vargkill says:

    weing

    I was a little suprised by you reply. Here i thought maybe
    you where just plain and simply narrow minded.

    “Jesus Hernandez? You know him too? So what? Just relay his message”.

    Oddly enough my last name happens to be Hernandez…

    See i was just relaying the message that i have seen the
    effects of acupressure and have expirenced them for myself.

    Now pretty much the basis for alternative medicine or should
    i say more or less acupressure in laymen’s terms, is working
    with the spiritual energy of the body, or chi if you wanna call it.

    Since some people believe in this energy or the soul then
    its no wonder why it might work.

    I have seen it produce results. I have seen it manage pain
    for others who go to this person i know. So i can only assume
    more so with my own exprience that it indeed works for many
    things. which is why i think more research needs to be done
    to find out the whole truth once and for all.

  24. vargkill says:

    PS

    This is for all the haters on here…

    Yes i believe in SBM, but i also believe in some and i stress
    some forms of alternative medicine.

  25. Harriet Hall says:

    vargkill,

    I have seen money the Tooth Fairy brought. Leaving the tooth under the pillow really works – I’ve experienced it myself many times.

    Perhaps you will say I am mistaken. Perhaps it was the parents, not the Tooth Fairy, who put the money under the pillow. Yes, and perhaps it was not qi or the spiritual energy of the body that produced the results you experienced.

    We can’t “prove” that there is no Tooth Fairy, and we can’t “prove” that qi is not real. The burden of proof is on believers in Tooth Fairies and qi to show that they are real.

    Edzard Ernst “believed” in alternative medicine and was the world’s first professor of complementary and alternative medicine. He evaluated all the available evidence and found very little of substance. See http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=195, where I quote a paragraph of his conclusions.

    When medieval doctors used bloodletting to balance the humours, the experience of thousands of doctors and patients showed that it worked for many illnesses. Only it didn’t. If the experiences of all those thousands could mislead them so badly, your experience might just possibly have misled you too. Until claims like yours are tested scientifically, we can’t trust them.

  26. Dr Benway says:

    Ah grasshopper vargkill, you do not yet grasp “onus.”

    I do not say “CAM is bunk.” If I did, you would be correct in your demand for proof of that claim.

    I say, “CAM is unproven.” That claim requires no proof. The onus is on the party claiming CAM does something more than placebo.

    I say, “Your claim about the faith healer’s mysterious powers is unproven.” That statement does not require proof.

    vargkill, your story is important to you. I understand. I could tell you of experiences from my own life that might curl your hair –prayers answered, unbelievable coincidences, transcendent feelings, etc.

    These kinds of stories are precious to the people who tell them. But, like dreams, they’re not so interesting to everyone else. They’re a dime a dozen. Just part of the human condition.

    Weird shit happens all the time. If you study statistics, you’ll understand why.
    Such stories are

  27. Dr Benway says:

    Now pretty much the basis for alternative medicine or should
    i say more or less acupressure in laymen’s terms, is working
    with the spiritual energy of the body, or chi if you wanna call it.

    “Accupressure” is more specific than “alternative medicine.” I think you’re on the right track when you’re as specific as possible.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine includes using ground up rhinoceros horn as a treatment for male impotence. That’s just old-fashioned sympathetic magic –something humans have done for thousands of years. The horn looks kinda like a hard-on, ergo…

    Sympathetic magic lives on even though it doesn’t work. Sadly, TCM is driving the rhinoceroses to extinction. Primitive thinking can sometimes be pretty evil.

    When you defend, “alternative medicine,” I’m guessing you’re not defending the rhinoceros horn remedy or all the other insane things that get included in the alt med set. You’re focused on the accupressure.

  28. vargkill says:

    Harriet Hall

    I am fully aware and can at least admit to the
    possibilty that there might be a logical explination for my
    expirence. Yet there still is plently to ride on the fact that
    maybe something truly awesome that cannot be explained happened.

    On top of it there are many many people who have been
    helped by Mr Wu.

    Dr Benway

    As i have stated many times, i think some forms of alternative
    medicine is crap and ill say it again, i think others works and if
    a acupressure person knows their s**t i think it can be
    truly effective.

    I agree more research needs to be done.

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