Abstract: A man died of anaphylactic shock after trusting that an NAET-type treatment could fix his severe peanut allergy. A small study on 6 children tested NAET for eliminating peanut allergy and found no difference in blood markers, but somehow claimed success anyway. NAET still has fans, but positive results could certainly be from hypnosis-like reduction of stress and anxiety combined with other placebo effects. Muscle testing is disproven by science, NAET doesn’t apparently reduce real nut allergies, but does increase nuttiness, in my opinion.
I am moving and removing some old pages from my site. This article from over 6 years ago shows me that I haven’t changed as much as I thought I have in the past couple years. There are a couple items I’d phrase differently today, but I am reposting it as-is.
by Kevin O’Neil, L.Ac.
Making a decision regarding what type of healthcare service to use reveals the deepest belief systems a person has. The saying “would you bet your life on it?” is not an exaggeration when it comes to important medical decisions. There are numerous belief systems floating around the alternative medicine world, and many of them are not only unsupported by quality research, but have been discredited and found to cause more harm than good. As an acupuncturist/herbalist, I find it constantly necessary to sort through what I’ve been taught and what my patients tell me about what they believe. I’ve studied enough hypnosis and salesmanship that I could create many more “lifetime patients” than I do. But I’ve also studied enough scientific medicine to know that in many cases that would be unethical or even harmful. By sharing some of my discoveries and conclusions with you, I hope to help you sort through your own beliefs so you can make more informed decisions regarding your healthcare.
As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, I’m clearly not one who waits for the AMA and FDA to give their full stamp of approval before using an alternative therapy. However, that doesn’t mean that I believe in every alternative therapy, or even agree with other acupuncturists about what diseases it’s appropriate to treat with acupuncture. When you’re dealing with a new medical practitioner, especially an alternative practitioner, you not only have to evaluate the efficacy of their therapeutic modalities, but their personality and motives. Continue reading
Amazon has been a fabulous consumer resource not just for products, but for reviews of those products. I like to read a few five star reviews and a few one star reviews of books that I’ve read or am interested in. Sometimes the one star reviews really open my eyes to problems with the theories and facts of a book.
I recently saw this Gender Maker Urine Test on Amazon. It’s a top seller, with a very high sales rank (#4260).
There have been many methods over the centuries to tell if a fetus is a boy or a girl. Most of them work 50% of the time. That is, they are completely random. I hear that there may be something to this new “ultrasound” technology, though it could be just another pseudoscientific gadget. Yes, that was sarcasm.
So this little urine test kit is flying out the door. This is despite the fact that the reviews reveal something very interesting:
Zen Bunny is halfway to Enlightenment! Or at least halfway to getting drunk on the street corner of the marketplace. Hey, that’s not cynicism, it’s foreshadowing…
Here is the whole series so far, followed by the links to the individual posts which have more background and commentary.
Many fans of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) see the American Medical Association (AMA) as an evil organization. Medical Doctors can voluntarily be members of the AMA, and now less than half of them are. AMA policies, however, do have an influence on the medical profession, especially where medical ethics are concerned. I am not saying that I’m a fan of all AMA policies and politics; I am not aware of them all. However, a huge issue for my business is supplement companies which actively disallow internet sales and/or insist on a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP or Vertical Price Fixing). Let’s review statements and reasoning on both sides of this fence and see if the grass is greener on one.
AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) Policy Statement On In-Office Sales
The 1999 CEJA Report on Sales of Health-Related Products from Physician’s Offices shows that this issue has been deeply considered in the medical world. Well, not the CAM world, as my acupuncture school didn’t mention these issues at all, and I suspect naturopathic and chiropractic education also ignore the conflict-of-interest issue. Here are some highlights from that report (emphasis in the text is mine):
CEJA Report 1 – A-99
Sale of Health-Related Products from Physicians’ Offices
At the 1998 Interim Meeting, the House of Delegates adopted Resolution 7, introduced by the Oregon Delegation, which asked that the American Medical Association “develop ethical guidelines that will discriminate between the legitimate provision of medically necessary goods and services in physicians’ offices and physicians’ marketing activities that exploit the patient-physician trust.”
Reading FDA warning letters and recall notices is highly recommended for anyone in the supplement or herb business. It can be discouraging for anyone who wants to legally introduce new dietary supplements to the market. This is partly because the laws and requirements are so complex, and partly because so many products currently on the market are clearly illegal and escape enforcement.
I’ve written several posts about Aconite (called Fu Zi in Chinese) in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine. Aconite is a powerful and toxic plant with some poorly understood narcotic alkaloids. The earliest Chinese herbals recognized that it could easily kill, and documented its use in China as poison on arrowheads. They also found that if it was prepared properly (mainly by boiling for a long time) and given in small enough doses, it had dramatic effects on some disease states. While it is used in tiny amounts in a few fairly common formulas, some modern practitioners, inspired by the 1800s Szechuan Fire School and a new Classical Chinese Medicine movement, are currently recommending Aconite in larger doses for a wider variety of patients.
Hong Kong researchers have found that Aconite prescribed by TCM practitioners is responsible for more adverse reactions requiring hospitalization than all other Chinese herbs combined. There is no antidote for Aconite poisoning; supportive care is given with hope that the body can process the toxins and survive.
Given this reality, if Aconite is given to a modern patient at the very minimum the patient deserves informed consent which includes being made aware of the cardiac symptoms of an adverse reaction. I have personally never called for banning of Aconite, but I see fewer and fewer instances where it seems reasonable or safe to recommend it. At one point I was so libertarian that I felt heroin and cocaine should be legal and freely available. I’m no longer that extreme. It is unrealistic to expect most people to sort through claims, promotions, research, facts, and deceptive advertising before deciding to try something which could result in death or permanent disability. There is a role for consumer protection beyond what occurs in a free market discourse. Unfortunate as it may be, the FDA is the first line for consumer protection against fraudulent and dangerous drugs and supplements in the USA.
As I was surfing the FDA warning letter databases for TCM-related matters, this letter popped up from the year 2000:
Many believers in dowsing, applied kinesiology, and related machines that go ‘Ping’ think that they can detect parasites and poisons in the body and tell what medicines will help, all based on ‘frequencies’ of ‘energy’ which are somewhere between unproven and disproven.
Proponents dodge the pursuit of James Randi’s Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge with personal attacks and rumors. However, here’s a fellow, James McCormick, who made over $70 million selling dowsing-based gadgets to governments and militaries around the world. He claimed that by putting various cards in the machine, they could detect bombs, drugs, money, or hidden people.
He unwittingly created his own $70 million dollar challenge, with the added incentive of 10 years in jail for fraud. Unable to show that his machines work as claimed, the courts were unimpressed that he relabeled novelty golf ball ‘finders’ into bomb and drug dowsing devices, then marked up his $60 gadgets to $300,000. Iraq’s security team bought 6000 of them, and is apparently still using them.