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Western Medicine and Eastern Medicine
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moonmonkey
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Dec 10, 2007, 07:04 AM
 
I spoke to someone from the US today who is really into Chakra points, Chinese Traditional medicine and Acupuncture .

It got me thinking that the people with the highest disposable income in the west are clamoring to copy these facets of Eastern medicine, and at the same time the east (China and India) are mass producing counterfeit Western medicine to give to the people with the lowest disposable incomes who have given up on Eastern Medicine.

Weird.
     
Mastrap
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Dec 10, 2007, 07:59 AM
 
The main difference between Western and Eastern medicine is that in the west we tend to think of the body as something that can get fixed when it breaks down. Between these breakdowns we tend to ignore it. In the East the body is seen as something that needs constant maintenance. This is expressed in something as simple as food, where different foods have different properties and are used in a medicinal manner. Acupuncture is another example, so is massage. The body is seen as a whole, so treatment is holistic.

There is no right or wrong here and in an ideal world we combine the best of Eastern and Western medicine. For example, acupuncture can drastically reduce the amount of anaesthetic we use in operations.
     
BRussell
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Dec 10, 2007, 08:23 AM
 
Mastrap I agree, but I think there's another difference: Rigorous research underlies much of "Western" medicine, and that's not the case with much of the "Eastern" medicine, which tends to be based on tradition.
     
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Dec 10, 2007, 09:25 AM
 
I think it is a simple case of the "grass being greener on the other side".
     
Laminar
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Dec 10, 2007, 10:15 AM
 
I was talking to a friend of mine that has a condition, I can't remember the name, but basically she has full body pain. Not severe, but she's only able to work part time because of it. She's tried every holistic approach she can find: acupuncture, hypnosis, etc., but nothing's worked, and it's been really expensive. She's ready to go with actual medicine now.
     
cszar2001
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Dec 10, 2007, 11:51 AM
 
The simple difference between eastern and western medicine is this:
western medicine has given us everything: surgery, antibiotics, anesthetics, the germ theory, the cure for scurvy, safe childbirth (Semmelweis), ... - the list goes on and on.

Eastern medicine has given us nothing. That's it.

Name me one - only one medical procedure - however minuscule - in daily practice that stems from eastern medicine and that works (by applying the same standard of testing even aspirin has to go through). You won't find anything because it's all a lot of crap.
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Mastrap
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Dec 10, 2007, 11:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by cszar2001 View Post
Name me one - only one medical procedure - however minuscule - in daily practice that stems from eastern medicine

Acupuncture. It is commonly used in German hospitals to support a general anaesthetic.
     
Chuckit
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Dec 10, 2007, 12:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by BRussell View Post
Mastrap I agree, but I think there's another difference: Rigorous research underlies much of "Western" medicine, and that's not the case with much of the "Eastern" medicine, which tends to be based on tradition.
I'd say centuries of evolution can make for a fairly rigorous study.
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cszar2001
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Dec 10, 2007, 12:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mastrap View Post
Acupuncture. It is commonly used in German hospitals to support a general anaesthetic.

Commonly. You got to be kidding.
It's been proven not to work!
Check out the GERAC study - it doesn't work and will never work because it's crap and woo-woo - nothing more.
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BRussell
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Dec 10, 2007, 12:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
I'd say centuries of evolution can make for a fairly rigorous study.
Can you explain how centuries of evolution can prove or disprove the efficacy of a treatment?

There are many factors that could lead to centuries of self-sustaining belief in the efficacy of an ineffective treatment. For example, most people get better naturally from most minor ailments after time passes. So, someone gets sick, ingests crushed newt eyes, and then gets better. It works! And it works most every time someone gets sick, thus leading to a lack of disconfirmation of its efficacy.

IMO, a single well-done study will always be better than even centuries of experience without controlled studies.
     
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Dec 10, 2007, 12:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by cszar2001 View Post
Commonly. You got to be kidding.
It's been proven not to work!
Check out the GERAC study - it doesn't work and will never work because it's crap and woo-woo - nothing more.
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Mastrap
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Dec 10, 2007, 12:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by cszar2001 View Post
Commonly. You got to be kidding.
It's been proven not to work!
Check out the GERAC study - it doesn't work and will never work because it's crap and woo-woo - nothing more.
The GERAC study is as flawed as a very flawed thing. It concentrated on the efficacy of acupuncture in migraine treatment only and the results are listed below. You cannot extrapolate from one test that failed to prove anything that acupuncture as a treatment option is ineffective.

The GERAC study (German acupuncture trial), the hitherto largest acupuncture trial, tested real acupuncture versus minimal acupuncture as a control procedure, versus pharmacological prophylaxis in migraine patients as an active treatment. This trial showed no difference between acupuncture and control, thus "proving" the "inefficacy" of acupuncture. However it also demonstrated that conventional pharmacological prophylaxis, normally considered efficacious, was not only not different from the acupuncture control, but in some secondary parameters and analyses even significantly worse than the supposedly ineffective acupuncture procedure thus illustrating the efficacy paradox [20]!

The paradox is obvious and runs thus: 1. Pharmacological prevention of migraine is considered efficacious after decades of research. 2. Sham acupuncture is not considered efficacious. In fact, it was included as a control condition. 3. The efficacy of acupuncture was contested. Hence a trial should either show superiority of the already proven intervention, pharmacological prevention, over the control condition, and equality of acupuncture with this efficacious standard treatment. The conclusion would then be: acupuncture is effective. Or else pharmacological prevention should show superiority over sham acupuncture and acupuncture, thereby disproving the efficacy of acupuncture (and sham acupuncture by default). As it happens, the conclusion can now only be: none of the interventions is effective, as none is really significantly different from the control. Hence a known effective intervention, pharmacological prevention, is rendered ineffective by the strong non-specific effect shown in the sham acupuncture (and acupuncture) group, because the logic of efficacy testing is focusing only on the difference. Clearly, this is a paradoxical and somewhat silly conclusion
     
cszar2001
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Dec 10, 2007, 12:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sijmen View Post
Just because there are many studies out there doesn't prove that it works.
That's because it doesn't when you compare it to other placebos.
Fake acupuncture (with retractable needles) or "sham" acupunture (sticking needles randomly into people) works just as well.
This proves that acupuncture itself is crap and does nothing - repeat nothing.
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cszar2001
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Dec 10, 2007, 12:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mastrap View Post
The GERAC study is as flawed as a very flawed thing:

Yes - it has its flaws - I was there. :-(

But: they compared "real" acupuncture" and "sham" acupuncture (sticking needles randomly into people) - and both worked equally well.
The logical conclusion is: there are no specific points. But acupuncture says there are.
So acupuncture is bogus.
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olePigeon
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Dec 10, 2007, 01:00 PM
 
General medicine requires a degree to practice. You have to go to medical school.

Anybody can be a chiropractor or an acupuncture "specialist." There is no medical board that recognizes pseudo and new age medicine. All you have to do is have someone sign a waiver, then you start poking them. There are private companies that will provide you with a certificate telling people that you are a professional bullsh*t artist, but that's about it.
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cszar2001
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Dec 10, 2007, 01:03 PM
 
However it also demonstrated that conventional pharmacological prophylaxis, normally considered efficacious, was not only not different from the acupuncture control, but in some secondary parameters and analyses even significantly worse than the supposedly ineffective acupuncture procedure thus illustrating the efficacy paradox [20]!
Sigh.
It's always difficult to discuss stuff like this with people who haven't read the actual study.
Look - the people who received "real" and "fake" acupuncture also received more time than the controls - they had to go to the doctors more often to get the needles stuck into them.
The others got their medication and went home.

So the acupuncture group received more "care" simply in terms of time and attention.
Placebo anyone?
They didn't check if people took their medications regularly - which in any case wouldn't have mattered anyway because they wanted to see if "real" acupuncture works - which it still doesn't.

The "standard" treatment (medication) isn't standard because it's been proven to work - but because it was passed on by - believe it or not - medical tradition. Doctors just did what someone told them - not because the real evidence said so.

The standard treatments for back pain, neck pain, tinnitus are also all not effective - but no one cares.
It's established daily practice to give useless injections - even when the evidence says it doesn't work.
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BRussell
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Dec 10, 2007, 01:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mastrap View Post
The GERAC study is as flawed as a very flawed thing.
Good analogy.
     
Mastrap
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Dec 10, 2007, 02:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by cszar2001 View Post
But: they compared "real" acupuncture" and "sham" acupuncture (sticking needles randomly into people) - and both worked equally well.
The logical conclusion is: there are no specific points. But acupuncture says there are.
So acupuncture is bogus.
Not really. What the test proved, if anything, is that all medical care administered, including the drugs we tend to rely on, were not working in this particular instance. You cannot extrapolate from this test that acupuncture doesn't work anywhere. That's like testing aspiring as a remedy against acne and then saying aspirin doesn't work when it fails to clear up skin.
     
cszar2001
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Dec 10, 2007, 02:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mastrap View Post
Not really. What the test proved, if anything, is that all medical care administered, including the drugs we tend to rely on, were not working in this particular instance. You cannot extrapolate from this test that acupuncture doesn't work anywhere. That's like testing aspiring as a remedy against acne and then saying aspirin doesn't work when it fails to clear up skin.
Yes and no.
If you want to be that specific then you'd have to test every single person on the planet each and every day. Because you could always say that it worked in Mister A - but Mister B is different.

Acupuncturists say that there are specific points you have to put needles in. Those points in fact don't exist (at least not for back pain, knee pain and migraines).
Since the other 800+ (good) quality studies out there show no effect whatsoever (concerning different ailments) there is a very high probability that acupuncture doesn't work in any other condition as well because the basic assumptions it makes are wrong.

Again - there is not one single treatment available based on eastern medicine that has any benefits whatsoever.
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BRussell
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Dec 10, 2007, 03:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by cszar2001 View Post
Again - there is not one single treatment available based on eastern medicine that has any benefits whatsoever.
Eh, I agree with your position on this in general, but this seems a bit too strong to me. There must be some examples of alternative medicines that have been proven effective. I can't think of any right now, but there must be.
     
cszar2001
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Dec 10, 2007, 03:18 PM
 
Well - if you find anything let me know.
Wanna bet that there isn't one out there?
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peeb
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Dec 10, 2007, 03:32 PM
 
One thing we do know is that placebos work really well, and have no negative side effects - it astonishes me that they are not prescribed more often.
     
BRussell
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Dec 10, 2007, 03:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
One thing we do know is that placebos work really well, and have no negative side effects - it astonishes me that they are not prescribed more often.
I hear that if you go to an alternative medicine shop, you can buy lots of them.
     
peeb
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Dec 10, 2007, 03:58 PM
 
And from your family physician, too!
     
olePigeon
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Dec 10, 2007, 05:27 PM
 
Chiropractors can cure AIDS just by adjusting your back.
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Dec 10, 2007, 07:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by cszar2001 View Post
Well - if you find anything let me know.
Wanna bet that there isn't one out there?
Chinese wormwood (qinghao) was the source for the discovery of artemisinin, which is now used worldwide to treat multi-drug resistant strains of falciparum malaria, and is also under investigation as an anti-cancer agent.
So what do I win?

You are being ridiculous about acupuncture. It HAS been shown to be effective for some things whether you like it or not. I don't disagree that there aren't a whole hell of a lot of good things to come out eastern medicine but to say there is NOTHING is just silly.

And for the record, I'll take real results from the placebo effect over real results from some chemical compound whipped up by a giant pharmaceutical corporation any day.
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Dec 10, 2007, 09:30 PM
 
and don't forget white willow bark.
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JoshuaZ
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Dec 10, 2007, 09:42 PM
 
I'd be happy if my Japanese doctors office gave me pills that actually worked. I go in for a sinus infection and I get five or six medications. But each of these is in really small doses. Less than half of what a dose back in the US. My coworkers and I all find that, at least in Japan, we get undermedicated. So we end up taking double doses of many of the things our doctors give us.

Oh, and every time someone tells me that 'drinking sake' is the best cure for a cold, I point out all the sick drunk old men who sit around the station every day with their 100 yen cups of sake.

The most insane was when I was told that eating hornet larva is a natural viagra. I learned this from a coworker at a school where there had been a massive hornet infestation. Guys in biohazard suits had to come and clear them out. Luckily the male teachers had snagged some larva for eating later. I was shown pictures. I thank my lucky stars I was at a different school that day.
     
- - e r i k - -
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Dec 11, 2007, 04:09 AM
 
There is no "western" or "eastern" or even "alternative" medicine. There is only medicine that works and medicine that doesn't. Period.

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peeb
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Dec 11, 2007, 04:17 AM
 
Yes, but the problem is telling which is which!
     
- - e r i k - -
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Dec 11, 2007, 04:28 AM
 
Rigorous testing. Don't buy things in the "alternative medicine" section of your pharmacy. Don't listen to people who claim hornet larva is a natural viagra. Don't eat sugar pills (aka. homeopathic medicine).

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peeb
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Dec 11, 2007, 04:30 AM
 
Oh that it were that simple. In anything but trivial cases, rigorous testing is fraught with issues that make it more like voodoo than science.
     
red rocket
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Dec 11, 2007, 08:51 AM
 
Whilst it's entirely possible for properly dedicated people to obtain results from the practice of "alternative" techniques such as Qi Gong, yoga and other forms of kundalini raising, I definitely have the impression that, as with most other facets of the New Age universe, ninety‑nine per cent of the available literature, products, shops, "teachers" and "experts" is completely useless.
     
   
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