The Other Kind of Quackery


Would you knowingly go to a doctor that you knew disregarded your feeling? Would you want to be cared for by someone who thought of you as a walking data set instead of a person? Are you nothing more than lab numbers?

There is another kind of quackery: where compassion and humanity are omitted from healthcare in the name of science.

That is just what some people would have you believe is best medical practice. It’s stressful to be sick, and those who are most vocal against holistic health care seem to forget that little fact.

There are several articles on, and others screaming against Reiki, Aromatherapy, Reflexology and other “alternative” health practices.

They are wrong.

There are several key points being missed, not the least of which is that people are not machines. There is far more to health and healing than hard science numbers. Quality of life is important. Emotional state is important. Simple human compassion is important.

Screaming against things that have clearly helped people cope with illness and a journey back to health (no matter how you crunch the numbers) hardly speaks of compassion. The angry, bellicose “should be removed” hateful tone of these articles do nothing to help healing. I would not put my health in the hands of someone with that kind of tone and attitude.

True enough, many peer reviewed studies are not well-designed studies. I know. I read lots of them to write my tiny dissertation for my online college of ill repute…and they are poorly designed but the bias isn’t in favor of Reiki, quite the opposite. The biggest failure of scientific studies in the field of Reiki is that they OVER compensate on the side of “science”. They go to such great pains to control and double blind the study that they render them useless by through the  enourmous confounding factors that those controls introduce. The vast majority of studies are either done by scientists with no understanding of what Reiki really is about or by Reiki practitioners with poor scientific study design. That is precisely why I designed my dissertation to try and bridge that gap, a little bit, with the nonexistant resources accorded to such studies.

What all that means, bottom line, is that people aren’t sacks of numbers. No, Reiki isn’t going to magically make your cancer disappear, but it can help deal with emotional trauma of having cancer (and having to deal with a belligerent, cold, broken health care system). No, Reflexology isn’t going to magically cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but it can add the element of simple, kind, human touch to the scientific treatments. No, aromtherapy isn’t going to suddenly cure depression…even the most cutting edge medication can’t do that. But aromatherapy can help bridge the 3-6 weeks it takes modern antidepressants to fully begin their work.

We can use the truely effective parts of Holistic health (the majority of true traditional healing) and the more compassionate parts of Scientific medicine (it’s in there somewhere) and create a “C”, a best-of-both-worlds zone in the Vinn diagram of healthcare.

The best, most compassionate thing we can do for the ill is to offer them the best of both worlds, not limit the healing experience to studies and numbers.  Humans are more than that…and the healing experience must be more than cold science and cruel quackery. The energy spent denouncing one healing method or another would be better spent harvesting the best of both worlds to lift up healing process, and make it better than the sum of its parts.