Thursday, 16 April 2015

Why is nutrition considered 'alternative medicine'?

Watched the first of this BBC series last night on I-player.

It looks at the range of private medicine on offer in Harley Street. It was interesting watching the doctors justifying working privately (some of them worked in the NHS and all of them were trained there). I have no problem with private medicine per se - it's that the standards are so much higher but it's not available for all. The same problem with private education of course.

My main issue though was with the fact that despite mentioning the large numbers of alternative practitioners who work in Harley street the programme failed to highlight any of them and instead focussed on the same narrow 'conventional' medical treatment plans including a lot of high tech chemotherapy and surgical interventions. And all were male interestingly.

It's the same old same old as far as I'm concerned.. no mention of what any of these people could do to help their treatment with lifestyle and diet changes, no mention of stress or inflammation as contributors to the conditions shown.  All seemed to believe in the magic bullet approach. One woman, who had underdone chemo and a lumpectomy was told 'that's all the cancer out of your body - you are now cancer-free!' Which of course was very emotional for her as she'd gone through months of hell with losing her hair and all the worry and fear of cancer. It seems churlish to point out that there is always cancer in your body, but a healthy immune system keeps it in check. There was no attempt to give her any advice on nutritional changes she could make to make sure it stayed that way. And her family's response was quite dysfunctional - as a student psychologist  I looked on in incredulity as they seemed to depend on her to stay well, clinging on to the notion of her survival like it was their life that was at stake. There's a story in that family of previous trauma for sure..

One lad came from Kuwait to be told he had a pituitary tumour that was threatening to take away his sight. No comment on the fact he was obese and needed to look at the role of excess weight in causing cancer. Surgery was the only thing on offer.

It was all so depressing.. I DO have a lot of respect for the skill of the surgeons and the wonderful technology that we now have at our disposal (if we have the money it seems). Also,  I understand people want to have their pain taken away. But our approach now in the west is so disempowering of the individual. It takes away everything that we can do to help ourselves. And it makes vast profits for the biomedical industry it supports.

Why oh why is something as basic as nutrition considered alternative? It makes no sense to me.
Just yesterday I was advising a client on dietary changes she can make to help her acid reflux. Very common in women, particularly over the age of 50 as the hydrochloric acid in your stomach decreases which opens up the valve to the oesophagus causing reflux, amongst other things. The problem usually isn't too much acid as you will be told by the doctor. It's the opposite. I recommend this article to read on the subject by the reliably good and evidence-based Doctor Mercola. So, you end up being prescribed drugs that reduce your HCl further and... hey presto.. it get's worse.. It beggars belief really. Anyhow if any of you out there in bloggerville are interested then please see my links and my website (and social media links). I try to keep it positive, but sometimes.. Grrrrr...
There I've finished now.

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