Re: (Fwd) Re: guidelines/ethics

Kennita Watson (
Sun, 29 Dec 1996 09:53:17 -0800

>If you could show me some responsible valid double-blind studies
>that show the effectiveness of chiropractic, massage, accupuncture,
>or herbal medicine (apart from those herbs used to manufacture known
>drugs like ephedrine), then there would not be a single doctor in
>the "establishment" that would "suppress" them.

I beg to differ. The AMA has a stranglehold on the practice of medicine
like the ABA has a stranglehold on the practice of law. They're both
professional guilds, descended from the guilds of medieval times, and
they're just cutting down on competition. Besides, even though I receive
newsletters from Mayo Clinic, CSPI, Harvard, and UC Berkeley, as well
as synopses of studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine
and other such publications, stating that the treatments you mention can
be effective for particular ailments, there _are_ people who sell snake
oil -- the trick is to know who those people are. Hint -- if it has a
full-page ad with testimonials in the National Enquirer, look askance.

Another point: how are you supposed to do a double-blind study on
chiropractic or massage? When my chiropractor puts a bone back in
place, I _know_ it. And if my neck hurts and the bone _doesn't_ go
back in, I know that, too. She knows as well, but in case something
else is also wrong, she doesn't tell me I feel better, she asks. Same
for massage -- If a muscle starts out feeling like hard rubber and ends
up feeling like firm Jello, there's no hiding that from either the
practicioner or the client. And I know when I go to incompetent
masseurs because the muscles feel little better when they're done.
With acupuncture (one 'c', please), the study can be single-blind, but
not double. The practicioner knows whether the needles were placed
in the prescribed spots or not, even if the client doesn't. I'll
grant you that placebos could be given in place of herbal medicines,
so the studies could be double-blind. Echinacea, for example, has
passed that test.

Enough. Like the AMA, you can keep raising the bar for statistical
significance and study acceptability. I'll withdraw and continue
doing and recommending what works for me. I haven't tried acupuncture
yet despite numerous recommendations; I hate needles. I also recognize
that that hatred is likely to skew my perceived results. Remember
cognitive dissonance? The more I hate the ordeal, the more likely I
am to say it was effective.


Kennita Watson | The bond that links your true family is not one of blood,| but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do
| members of the same family grow up under the same roof.
| -- Richard Bach, _Illusions_