Medicine vs. "Medicine"

It seems like “thousands of years ago” and “Chinese” are the only magic words necessary to make Western yuppies believe in anything. We are so intelligent that we can convince ourselves to believe in anything that we think of as “natural” – how could something natural hurt me? We are so intelligent that we can easily convince ourselves, with very clearly developed “logic”, to be afraid of technology (incidentally, the very technology that has helped us become so very intelligent in the first place) – technology is a construct of humans, we never had these problems before big bad technology came along.

Well isn’t that a pickle.

Consider:

  • My baby had a vaccine and now he/she has autism.
  • My baby has an ultrasound and now he/she has cerebral palsy.
  • I had a cold and took an herbal supplement instead of Advil Cold & Sinus and now I feel better.

vs.

  • My baby had a vaccine and nothing happened. All the children around him/her at school, in addition to him/herself, are now benefiting from that decision.
  • My baby had an ultrasound and nothing happened. My baby was born healthy and we caught a potentially fatal, yet treatable, birth defect early enough to fix it and allow my baby to live a long life without constant medical intervention.
  • I had a cold and took nothing (or I took something to relieve my symptoms) and my cold went away in the 4-5 days that colds always go away on their own anyway.

The second explanations are much more boring, aren’t they? That’s probably why no one thinks about them. No one cares when something doesn’t happen – a non-event is not news. But occasionally shit happens and humans, as pattern seekers, are more than happy to see a causal explanation for the events.

Every time we go out in public we are benefiting from the “Western” practice of vaccination by not catching a fatal, incurable disease. Because we are exposed to so-called “Western medicine” on a daily basis , we are more likely to experience that 1-2% of the time when something, unfortunately, goes wrong. We are not exposed to Chinese medicine nearly as much so when we are exposed to it, it is often in conjunction with “Western medicine”, and thus gets all the credit and none of the blame. After all, if something goes wrong, one can still blame the Western treatment component, but for every success there is ancient Chinese “secrets” to get all of the glory. Even though what is really going on is that our “Western” treatment has simply worked in the way in which it was designed, and the “natural” treatment was just there looking pretty.

Well that hardly seems fair.

This branch of “medicine” even has its own abbreviation: TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). Actually it has 2: TCM and TOM (Traditional Oriental Medicine) Having a abbreviations makes it real right? Certainly nothing that is stupid and harmful would have an abbreviation… (*cough* ID = Intelligent Design *cough*). OK, maybe my theory needs improvement. Here’s a website that explains these medicines. And I’m not going to trick you and send you to some “anti-TCM” site, no this is a site run by believers in TCM – I don’t need anyone else to make it sound ridiculous, they do just fine on their own.

In fact, here is another website where “western” doctors are chastised for finding the actual cause of a person’s disease (in order to ensure that they are providing the correct treatment), for examples Parkinson’s, as if that is a character flaw and TCM practitioners are praised for attributing hand tremors to “wind blowing around the acupuncture channels”. Then they seek to determine the cause like deficiency of blood (??), high fever (couldn’t you tell that anyway?), poor body fluids, or bad Qi. So in both cases we have a diagnosis and a determination of the cause. How then is TCM any different from “Western” medicine except that TCM’s explanations are wrong and not at all demonstrable in any anatomical or physiological way?

I’ll tell you how. TCM is inherently damaging. Oh sure, some of it can cause harmful side effects, but others do nothing. Exactly. They do nothing. Many practitioners and promoters of this nonsense will have us believe that Western medicine isn’t to be trusted, preventing otherwise curable people from seeking treatment before it’s too late, preventing mothers and fathers from vaccinating their children, preventing people from seeking prenatal care, preventing people from saving 10-15 bucks on a bottle of Echinacea, and so on. They will have us believe that their medicine is capable of curing anything, ignoring the fact that there is no one treatment that cures everything – that is why we have medicine! to determine what treatment is appropriate for the person.

TCM claims to be holistic by treating the whole person and accuses Western medicine of simply diagnosing and moving on. Well I ask, how is lumping every disease into acupuncture (cancer, asthma, common cold, etc.) more holistic than providing customized medical care based on the individual person’s needs, like Western medicine does?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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