Author Topic: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?  (Read 6078 times)

Golden Applesauce

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Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« on: November 17, 2013, 11:10:56 am »
I've finally put my finger on what pisses me off about "holistic healers" or whatever they call themselves. It's that they understand the problem: modern/western/capitalist/whatever doctors elevating diseases in their particular specialty over the people who have them. And they understand the solution: treat the whole person.

And after having both of those insights what they actually do is crystal-flavored drivel. It is entirely fair to criticize psychiatrists that try to solve every problem by throwing drugs at it, regardless of what the problem actually is. But the exact same criticism applies to so-called healers who try to blast everything with spirit energy. The drug obsessed shrink is reducing all of his human patients to a puddle of chemicals, the holist is reducing his patients to waves of colored aura. Both refuse to recognize or treat any aspect of the patient that wasn't already their specialty.

Where are all the people who say, "I believe in treating the whole person. That's why I have thorough training in psychology, psychiatry, special needs education, endocrinology, regular education, relationship counseling, physical therapy, gynecology, career counseling, oncology, nutrition, and the top seven most common religions in my area." ???

I really don't want to have to pioneer this shit. Becoming a polymath sounds suspiciously like work.
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tyrannosaurus vex

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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2013, 11:52:18 am »
People really are puddles of chemicals, though. Modern medicine has the right idea, it's just incredibly clumsy about it. "Auras," on the other hand, are not a medical reality. Besides, even if a disease is ultimately some kind of soul frustration, you're not going to fix it by following a strict regimen of ridiculous Westernized corruption of poorly understood traditions from cultures where people have no concept of repetitive 8-hour workdays or food that's digested more before you eat it than after. What pisses me off about holistic "medicine" is that it takes plain common sense "eat healthy food and live healthy habits" advice and dresses it up in so much hogwash that feeding your kids mind altering drugs actually looks like a good idea by comparison.

As for being a specialist in everything, any two week course in any trade at all will make you more qualified than most of the holistic "healers" out there.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 11:54:30 am by V3X »
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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2013, 02:09:39 pm »
People aren't just chemicals, they're also the sum of their experiences and their internal narrative of self. A proper holistic approach to treating mental illness would be therapy AND drugs (as needed) AND exercise AND diet AND accessing environmental problems AND, yes, a dash of woo, because woo is actually pretty effective at some mental health problems and pain management. The problem is the current crop of morons are ALL WOO and very little else. and refuse to acknowledge that what they're doing is woo and that woo is only effective in a very narrow scope of cases. Woo will not cure your damn cancer, but it may help you get through chemo happier, and that's a valuable thing.

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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2013, 03:03:15 pm »
Quote
People aren't just chemicals, they're also the sum of their experiences and their internal narrative of self.

Which are also the result of chemicals.

Not that I'm disagreeing.  Evidence seems to show that, for example, a good beside manner, positive mental attitude and placebos (maybe) are beneficial in treating someone and improving quality of life while undergoing treatment.

But just because the physical processes by which those occur are ill-understood and not well studied it does not mean they are not occuring on a physical level somehow.

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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2013, 03:34:51 pm »
Quote
People aren't just chemicals, they're also the sum of their experiences and their internal narrative of self.

Which are also the result of chemicals.

Not that I'm disagreeing.  Evidence seems to show that, for example, a good beside manner, positive mental attitude and placebos (maybe) are beneficial in treating someone and improving quality of life while undergoing treatment.

But just because the physical processes by which those occur are ill-understood and not well studied it does not mean they are not occuring on a physical level somehow.

This. One of the reasons I'm interested in neuroscience is because while taking psychology I became keenly aware that our perceptions of our experiences are the result of complex chemical workings in our bodies and brains; we are our biology, which is incredibly complex chemistry. Ultimately, it is all material.
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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2013, 03:48:28 pm »
Regarding the OP, the NIH is way ahead of you. They've been promoting an interdisciplinary approach to biomedical research and medical treatment for several years, but you have to recognize that thorough training along the lines of your statement would take... let's see...

 "I believe in treating the whole person. That's why I have thorough training in psychology, psychiatry, special needs education, endocrinology, regular education, relationship counseling, physical therapy, gynecology, career counseling, oncology, nutrition, and the top seven most common religions in my area."

For "thorough" training in all those areas, you'd be talking about 36 years of school, if I'm being generous. So you probably will never see that kind of practitioner, at least not without some serious modification to the human lifespan. You have what, three medical specialties listed that typically take eight to ten years of training each? Even if you knock those back to four and only allot one year each to career counseling and nutrition, it's still kind of impossible for a person with a normal life span.

But even being more realistic, MDs and PhDs who are currently receiving the interdisciplinary training that the NIH considers vital for the future of medicine are probably, optimistically, six to ten years from graduation. And that's just the first wave; all  the oldschool practitioners are still going to be around for a while, and most medical schools haven't even started shifting their programs to adapt to the new paradigm yet. I would anticipate 20 to 30 years before the change is fully effected. In the meantime, though, at least the earliest waves of research should be emerging and helping to change the way the old guard thinks about medicine and health.
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Golden Applesauce

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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2013, 08:07:19 pm »
Regarding the OP, the NIH is way ahead of you. They've been promoting an interdisciplinary approach to biomedical research and medical treatment for several years, but you have to recognize that thorough training along the lines of your statement would take... let's see...

 "I believe in treating the whole person. That's why I have thorough training in psychology, psychiatry, special needs education, endocrinology, regular education, relationship counseling, physical therapy, gynecology, career counseling, oncology, nutrition, and the top seven most common religions in my area."

For "thorough" training in all those areas, you'd be talking about 36 years of school, if I'm being generous. So you probably will never see that kind of practitioner, at least not without some serious modification to the human lifespan. You have what, three medical specialties listed that typically take eight to ten years of training each? Even if you knock those back to four and only allot one year each to career counseling and nutrition, it's still kind of impossible for a person with a normal life span.

But even being more realistic, MDs and PhDs who are currently receiving the interdisciplinary training that the NIH considers vital for the future of medicine are probably, optimistically, six to ten years from graduation. And that's just the first wave; all  the oldschool practitioners are still going to be around for a while, and most medical schools haven't even started shifting their programs to adapt to the new paradigm yet. I would anticipate 20 to 30 years before the change is fully effected. In the meantime, though, at least the earliest waves of research should be emerging and helping to change the way the old guard thinks about medicine and health.

Well that makes me hopeful. I've definitely seen doctors complaining about other doctors in field Y making mistakes that were solved years ago in field X, so I knew the establishment was aware of the problem, but I hadn't heard that there were any plans to seriously emphasize interdisciplinary training beyond just throwing seminars at it.

For the massive time investment required - yeaaaah forty years is probably being optimistic for that much stuff. What I'd really like to see is more cross-discipline teamwork. Right now, if you're lucky, your general practitioner, your therapist, and the specialist treating you for your specific physical ailment might pass notes to each other if you're lucky. It'd be cool if instead of a practice that had 6 different dentists or whatever, individual practices would have doctors from a variety of fields that all collaborated on everything.

People aren't just chemicals, they're also the sum of their experiences and their internal narrative of self. A proper holistic approach to treating mental illness would be therapy AND drugs (as needed) AND exercise AND diet AND accessing environmental problems AND, yes, a dash of woo, because woo is actually pretty effective at some mental health problems and pain management. The problem is the current crop of morons are ALL WOO and very little else. and refuse to acknowledge that what they're doing is woo and that woo is only effective in a very narrow scope of cases. Woo will not cure your damn cancer, but it may help you get through chemo happier, and that's a valuable thing.

Just wanted to emphasize the social relationships under "environment" category. If someone is depressed because they're actively being abused at home, no amount of SSRIs is going to solve their problem.
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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2013, 08:21:18 pm »
Quote
People aren't just chemicals, they're also the sum of their experiences and their internal narrative of self.

Which are also the result of chemicals.

Not that I'm disagreeing.  Evidence seems to show that, for example, a good beside manner, positive mental attitude and placebos (maybe) are beneficial in treating someone and improving quality of life while undergoing treatment.

But just because the physical processes by which those occur are ill-understood and not well studied it does not mean they are not occuring on a physical level somehow.

That last bit is so important to keep in mind, especially when offering or using any service that operates at that level. To allow the mind to wander into fuzzy speculation about how these things work is exactly how people get hurt, or fleeced, or both.
It seems even "open minded" people are just terrified about the possibility they understand very little about pretty much anything.
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Salty

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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2013, 08:31:37 pm »
The only method for uncovering the useful and repeatable and practical benefits of holistic methods....actuall wait.

Let's look at that word. I spent ten years with the words Holistic Therpaist like a neon sign on the inside of my brain, trying to project it out. And that word gets to me.

The whole is more than the sum, ja? Cool. Let's take an example of an undeniably holsitic, perhaps the pinnacle of here in the 20th 21st Century.

You get your chakra attuned to an energy frequency that is all-healing, whole-making.

God, I nearly gagged writing that. Anyway, when those chakras get opened, what's supposed to come out? Reiki, life force, super prana, whatever. What ELSE can come out? The whole being sort of  vital here, that must surely include all the really terrible shit out there.

Holsitic medicine, such as it is, is entwined with the newage industy. And that industry is just that. The term newage comes from a publishing company (late 60s/early70s?) called New Age Book (or something).

Any holsitic method for health  useful or no, is hopelessly mired in newage fictions, cultural appropriation, snake oil, and bullshit.

Which is why it's important to weed out the non-science minded by creating a large rocket, putting all the WRONG PEOPLE in it and launch it into the sun.

Which, in a holsitic sense, would be beautiful.
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Salty

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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2013, 08:34:47 pm »
The way around specialization is a sort of community of health practitioners and medically trained specialists working together towars a common good. Fortunately, insurance companies protect us from such things.
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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2013, 10:43:51 pm »
Which is why it's important to weed out the non-science minded by creating a large rocket, putting all the WRONG PEOPLE in it and launch it into the sun.

Which, in a holistic sense, would be beautiful.

 :lulz:
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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2013, 12:16:13 am »
So, I've been doing some heavy reading on the treatment of trauma recently. There's obviously a lot of literature in psychotherapy about it, but what really struck me was how non-psychological fields dealt with the issue.

Take therapeutic massage / bodywork. "How do you massage someone who has traumatic memories of being raped?" is an important issue in that field. So is "What do you do when a client has a massive emotional meltdown on your table?" I've seen (not yet read) books and articles targeted towards people doing professional therapeutic bodywork that advance the position that they should learn more about the mind-body interface, but from the dust jackets they seem not to be required reading to become an LMT. The standard advice seems to be "remember that you are a physical therapist, not a psychologist, and respect your professional boundaries." And that's true - playing at being a doctor (or playing at being a different kind of doctor) will harm your patients. In particular there are an awful lot of ways that you can do serious harm to someone in the vulnerable state of having dissociated and started to relive memories of being raped and tortured. Problem: doing nothing, or trying ignore the abreaction, is one of those things.

At the other end, we have psychologists treating patients who have been so abused that they can't understand touching a human being in any way but sexually. Problem: they still have the the basic human drive for reassuring physical contact. The therapist can't let them hug him, because they start grinding or groping. But they still want (need?) to be held as they work through all of their experiences, and they definitely need to desensitize themselves to touch at some point. If only there was a class of professionals who specialized in therapeutic and rigorously non-sexual touch who might be able to help... But that would mean at least two professionals from different backgrounds collaboratingone one patient, and that's just silly.

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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2013, 05:58:15 am »
So, I've been doing some heavy reading on the treatment of trauma recently. There's obviously a lot of literature in psychotherapy about it, but what really struck me was how non-psychological fields dealt with the issue.

Take therapeutic massage / bodywork. "How do you massage someone who has traumatic memories of being raped?" is an important issue in that field. So is "What do you do when a client has a massive emotional meltdown on your table?" I've seen (not yet read) books and articles targeted towards people doing professional therapeutic bodywork that advance the position that they should learn more about the mind-body interface, but from the dust jackets they seem not to be required reading to become an LMT. The standard advice seems to be "remember that you are a physical therapist, not a psychologist, and respect your professional boundaries." And that's true - playing at being a doctor (or playing at being a different kind of doctor) will harm your patients. In particular there are an awful lot of ways that you can do serious harm to someone in the vulnerable state of having dissociated and started to relive memories of being raped and tortured. Problem: doing nothing, or trying ignore the abreaction, is one of those things.

At the other end, we have psychologists treating patients who have been so abused that they can't understand touching a human being in any way but sexually. Problem: they still have the the basic human drive for reassuring physical contact. The therapist can't let them hug him, because they start grinding or groping. But they still want (need?) to be held as they work through all of their experiences, and they definitely need to desensitize themselves to touch at some point. If only there was a class of professionals who specialized in therapeutic and rigorously non-sexual touch who might be able to help... But that would mean at least two professionals from different backgrounds collaboratingone one patient, and that's just silly.

Why would that be silly? I'd rather two specialists working on me in tandem rather than a generalist taking the whole thing on. In medical professions you sometimes have teams of doctors. Why should psychology be any different? What about someone who is a POW priest victim with an eating disorder? I don't suspect that happens often but why would three different specialists be silly at that point?
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Golden Applesauce

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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2013, 02:39:09 pm »
Sorry, that was sarcarsm.

What about someone who is a POW priest victim with an eating disorder? I don't suspect that happens often but why would three different specialists be silly at that point?

Here's the really crushing thing: it's not all that uncommon. Eating disorders frequently accompany child abuse. Everything from the oral stimulation of eating triggering associations with being forced to perform fellatio, to victims of forced pornography and prostitution needing to maintain an specific figure or else they'll be handed over to even more sadistic clients, to mundane relational abuse that incorporates body image as just one more way in which the child is worthless trash.

The other thing is that we're learning that trauma is, statistically, normal. The DSM-III was wrong when it defined trauma as "outside the realm of normal experience." Humanity has had a war going on somewhere at any given time for longer than we have recorded history. Psychologists have just had the luxury of living in a not-war-zone for a while, until having to treat all the Vietnam War vets made them sit up and pay attention. The priest abuse scandal is similar: it used to be really easy for people to dismiss stories of child abuse as delusional, attention-seeking fantasy, especially if the person is already crazy enough to be in psychiatric treatment. A big argument in the recovered memory controversy was that doctors were allegedly "uncovering" child abuse victims at a much higher rate than there could possibly be child abuse. If there were that many adults going around abusing children, surely we'd have heard of more cases? And the priest scandal comes out, along with some other nasty scandals involving institutional abuse, and suddenly anonymous phone surveys are putting the rates of child abuse and incest at 15%, minimum. It turns out that all along it was easier to believe in the existence of one attention seeking liar than to admit the existence of all of the good people who would have had to turn a blind eye to people raping and torturing children. It's starting to look like child abuse is more common than, for instance, homosexuality.

Sorry, my head is in a really depressing place right now.

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Re: Will the real holistic medicine please stand up?
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2013, 02:52:32 pm »

Where are all the people who say, "I believe in treating the whole person. That's why I have thorough training in psychology, psychiatry, special needs education, endocrinology, regular education, relationship counseling, physical therapy, gynecology, career counseling, oncology, nutrition, and the top seven most common religions in my area." ???

That sounds like some serious schooling.
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