Daily Archives: 21 August 2007


Did anyone watch The Enemies of Reason on Channel 4 last night?

This particular episode was entitled “The Irrational Health Service” and explored the ideas of unconventional alternative medicine.  I think Richard Dawkins soundly debunked them.  I particularly liked his statement that “alternative medicine that is proven to work becomes medicine and not an alternative to it”.

Anyway The Hildy and I began a heated debate (we like heated debates because we get to cuddle up afterwards) on the merits of alternative medicine.  The Hildy has taken herbal remedies for headaches and swears to there efficacy but I maintain that the effect is largely placebo.  She also openly mocks the work of her aunt who claims to be a faith healer. 

Faith healing for me is one of the most despicable practices that is allowed to continue in a modern world where it replaces conventional medicine.  I see no problem with someone seeking complimentary care through faith  The human body heals faster when a positive mental attitude is maintained and complimentary care can help to keep a person’s spirits up.  For me faith healers are little more than charlatans and snake oil salesmen seeking to exploit the weak and needy for money or to satisfy some deeply unsettling need in themselves.  While I don’t doubt that people have recovered their health as a result of the placebo effect of faith healing it does not stand up to rigorous testing and should therefore not be allowed to replace conventional medicine. 

I would love to see a health service that took the time with their patients that the practitioners of alternative medicine did in the show.  Sadly each patient is seen for an average of only eight minutes by an NHS doctor and over an hour by alternative practitioners.  NHS GPS being very much limited to triage in my opinion at least compared to private medicine.  I mean the doctors have the same training but privately get paid more than on the NHS.  The difference is in how you are treated as a patient.  This is something that alternative medicine has over conventional medicine.  The NHS has time and skill only to treat the ailment and not the person while the alternative practitioner has time to treat the person but not the skill to treat the ailment.

What is your opinion?


Filed under Bad things happen, Reasons to be cheerful, You decide