I know, I have often posted nasty things about integrative medicine and those who promote it. Today, I want to make good for all my sins and look at the bright side.

Imagine you are a person convinced of the good that comes from so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). Imagine you believe it has stood the test of time, is natural, holistic, tackles the root problems of illness, etc., etc. Imagine you are such a person.

Your convictions made you support more research into SCAM because you feel that evidence is needed for it to be more generally accepted. So, you are keen to see more studies proving the efficacy of this or that SCAM in the management of this or that condition.

This, unfortunately, is where the problems start.

Not only is there not a lot of money and even fewer scientists to do this research, but the amount of studies that would need doing is monstrously big:

  • There are hundreds of different types of SCAM.
  • Each SCAM is advocated for hundreds of conditions.

Consequently, tens of thousands of studies are needed to only have one trial for each specific research question. This is tough for a SCAM enthusiast! It means he/she has to wait decades to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But then it gets worse – much worse!

As the results of these studies come in, one after the other, you realize that most of them are not at all what you have been counting on. Many can be criticized for being of dismal quality and therefore inconclusive, and those that are rigorous tend to be negative.

Bloody hell! There you have been waiting patiently for decades and now you must realize that this wait did not take you anywhere near the goal that was so clear in your sight. Most reasonable people would give up at this stage; they would conclude that SCAM is a pipedream and direct their attention to something else. But not you! You are single-minded and convinced that SCAM is the future. Some people might even call you obsessed – obsessed and desperate.

It is out of this sense of desperation that the idea of integrative medicine was born. It is a brilliant coup that solves most of the insurmountable problems outlined above. All you need to do is to take the few positive findings that did emerge from the previous decades of research, find a political platform, and loudly proclaim:

SCAM does work.

Consumers like SCAM.

SCAM must be made available to all.

Consumers deserve the best of both worlds.

The future of healthcare evidently lies in integrated medicine.

Forgotten are all those irritating questions about the efficacy of this or that treatment. Now, it’s all about the big issue of wholesale integration of SCAM. Forgotten is the need for evidence – after all, we had decades of that! – now, the issue is no longer scientific, it is political.

And if anyone has the audacity to ask about evidence, he/she can be branded as a boring nit-picker. And if anyone doubts the value of integrated medicine, he/she will be identified as a politically incorrect dinosaur.

Mission accomplished!

26 Responses to Integrative medicine: a satirical perspective

  • So Edzard, you don’t want a knighthood then?!

  • is an Austrian producer of globuli. Only under the letter A they have 1032 medicinal products.
    If we assume that with each letter of the alphabet they offer 1000 products, we can assume 26.000 medicinal products.
    For each of them they should arrange a robust clinical trial. for this we assume 300 probands per trial so we need 7.800.000 people for each product, and a manyfold of this with their different dilutions, because in theory each dilution can have a positive result.
    And Homöopaths are able to find the right product with the right dilution for the patient who exactly needs this dilution.
    What is the certanty to have the right hit under 26.000 products with (assumtion) 10 different dilution- so 260.000.
    But Homeopaths claim, that is their “experience” that they always find the right dilution, with a very small chance to have a bad dilution, which does not work. When HP can work with this high precision, they can also try to play lottery- and win, then they need not to work in future.

  • It’s very foggy here today. The thought occurs to me that surely the water vapour in that fog must have come into contact with just about every ingredient in the homeopath’s cookbook. And certainly very dilute. So breathing fog should be the finest panacea nature can offer.

    So why am I aching and coughing? Do I perhaps need to grab a handful of fog and shake it vigorously before inhaling?

    • I hear Hahnemann shouting in his grave: ERSTVERSCHLIMMERUNG!!!
      [homeopathic aggravation, if I may translate his master’s voice]

    • Oh come on Socrates. You can shake it all you want but I won’t work. Fog has to be shaken vigorously by a qualified homeopath for it to be effective. Ask Dana if you don’t believe me.

      • Shaken by thumping the vial at every dilution against a leather bound copy of Hahnemann’s writings to get the nano-particles to form. Am I getting this right, Dana?

  • My side hurts.
    Thanks….I needed this laugh!!

    • stan,

      This one is way more funnier:

      However, nothing beats how easily you fall for various forms of quackery and defend them passionately. Keep the laughs coming.

      • The Less-than-amazing Randi! He downed a whole bottle of Calms Forte “sleeping pills” and nothing happened. That proves it! Homeopathy doesnt work. Glad that is settled.
        Certifiably ignorant about homeopathy, but he was the expert that everyone turned to. When you need to trash someone’s scientific reputation, turn to a certified ignoramus magician to redirect attention and deceive everyone as magicians are experts at doing.
        I wrote a long analysis of LTAR’s talk in the comments.

        • One doesn’t need to be an expert in anything to make fun of water-shakery homeopathy.

          • Btw, there is almost no water is most homeopathy remedies. They are made with alcohol.
            Dr Benveniste was not a homeopath and wasnt advocatiing for it. But dont let small details ruin your fun.

          • Btw, there is almost no water is most homeopathy remedies. They are made with alcohol.

            I apologize, I should have referred to homeopathy as liquid-shakery. Thank you for correcting me, stan!

            Your knowledge and wisdom of homeo-quackery is unparalleled. I am so very glad that you are here to teach us about it. We should all shut up and listen to what you have to say, because we don’t have the necessary qualifications to criticize homeopathy and its proponents.

          • ‘stan’ wrote “Btw, there is almost no water is most homeopathy remedies. They are made with alcohol.”

            Well, this remedy was nearly 90% pure alcohol:

            Notwithstanding, HPUS Guidelines for Manufacturing Homeopathic Medicines informs us that:

            2.1. Alcohol, purified water, and/or glycerin are generally suitable vehicles for attenuation of liquids.

            2.1.3. When homeopathic attenuations are intended for oral or sublingual administration in liquid form, the final attenuation may be prepared with an appropriate percentage of alcohol

            5.6. Non-alcoholic solutions should be used immediately to prepare stable and suitably preserved dosage forms. All non-alcoholic solutions that are potentially subject to microbial contamination must be prepared with a suitable preservative system; any preservative system must comply with USP standards for antimicrobial effectiveness. Preservatives or stabilizers, if used, must be added only after the final attenuation, and must be declared on the label. Alternatively, non-alcoholic solutions may be immediately processed into higher attenuations for medicating purposes, using dispensing alcohol as the diluent for the final two decimal attenuations or final centesimal attenuation.

            See also
            Manufacturing processes
            Homeopathic medicinal products

            European Coalition on Homeopathic & Anthroposophic Medicinal Products

          • No conventional pharmaceutical company would ever stoop so low as to adulterate their products.
            Oh, wait. 26 groups analyzed the covid vaccination vials and NOT ONE was found to have what the manufacturers claimed was in them. They had all sorts of bizarre stuff including a wide range of heavy metals like Thulium and Titanium, DNA (not supposed to be there) and RNA that didnt match the spike protein. One researcher found an insect leg in a vial. And these are companies that are subsidized with billions of taxpayer dollars, not tiny companies like these homeopathy pharmacies.

          • ‘stan’ opined “Btw, there is almost no water is most homeopathy remedies. They are made with alcohol.”

            I refuted it, using evidence.

          • Pete,
            stan doesn’t have any evidence to present. Instead, he resorts to posting misinformation about vaccines as a diversionary tactic. Two people (google their names, I refuse to post links to their pages) in the rumble video stan posted have no expertise in anything remotely concerned with vaccines and/or public health. That doesn’t stop stan from using this blog to spread that rubbish (insect legs? really?).

          • stan:

            heavy metals like … Titanium

            When did titanium get made a heavy metal? Did they have to move it to a higher atomic number?

          • Talker wrote “stan doesn’t have any evidence to present”.

            ‘stan’ doesn’t seem to know what evidence is; he certainly doesn’t know what homeopathy is; (nor titanium; nor proper nouns).

            As Edzard sagely explained to commentator Roger:

            Either you understand homeopathy and therefore don’t use it
            You use it and therefore don’t understand it.

          • @stan

            No conventional pharmaceutical company would ever stoop so low as to adulterate their products.

            This is correct. Adulterating products is what happens in TCM and other alternative systems of ‘medicine’. No major pharmaceutical company would get it into their head to sell contaminated or adulterated products, especially not Covid vaccines, because they KNOW that their products will be subjected to exhaustive scrutiny.

            Oh, wait. 26 groups ….

            Nope, it was one rabid anti-vaccine ER doctor by the name of Daniel Nagase, who was also disciplined for spreading other egregious lies about Covid vaccines. Nagase also subscribes to the lie that ivermectin helps against Covid-19, as well as other conspiracy crap.

            … analyzed the covid vaccination vials …

            … that they obtained through unclear channels, and which have been left unrefrigerated for months(*) prior to ‘analysis’ by this Nagase guy – who also does not appear to be competent to actually carry out such an analysis. This sounds a lot like the hoax about Spanish scientists who apparently found that a vial marked as Covid-19 vaccine (also ‘obtained’ from ‘somewhere’) contained 99% graphene oxide(**).
            More likely, Nagase made up the whole story from A to Z, just like the story about Covid vaccines causing a huge number of stillbirths.

            … and NOT ONE was found to have what the manufacturers claimed was in them.

            Well, that is of course to be expected if you are a well-known anti-vaccine idiot who ‘obtains’ a vial through shady channels.

            They had all sorts of bizarre stuff including a wide range of heavy metals like Thulium and Titanium, DNA (not supposed to be there) and RNA that didnt match the spike protein.

            Even if there was mRNA in there to begin with, there most certainly isn’t after a couple of months.
            Oh, and thulium is a rare and expensive metal. Why on earth would a pharmaceutical company go through all the trouble and cost to put it into vaccines? This would be like adulterating mass-produced industrial steel with gold.

            Conclusion: you are just spreading anti-vaccine lies. Again.

            *: From one of those conspiracy Web sites:
            “Dr. Nagase was able to obtain samples of both Pfizer and Moderna Covid injections. “Unfortunately, both these samples had to travel for an extensive period of time in various vehicles. So, they’ve been unrefrigerated for up to two months. I don’t know exactly how long they’ve been left unrefrigerated,” he said.”

            FYI: those Covid-vaccines can be kept at room temperature for a maximum of 12 hours. After that, they start to degrade, and after a week, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any remaining mRNA (which is notoriously unstable).

            **: Which is totally ludicrous, as graphene oxide has a deep black colour, and thus would be spotted immediately by anyone handling a vaccine vial.

    • We have previously mused here on this blog over the enigma that Dr. Hahn (in the YT-video stan refers to) presents. He is a strange man, a specialist in anaesthesia and intensive care and a (formerly?) respected academic expert in fluid (no joke) therapy and resuscitation. But he is also an avid spiritualist, believer in reincarnation, spirits, angels and whatnot. I believe he has co-authored several books on various ethereal subjects together with his spiritist wife.
      Anyway, as you can witness in his lecture, he has taken a firm stance against skeptics of any kind and although he never uses the stuff (remedies) he has in seeming spite of his chosen enemy, the skeptics, taken to defending the possibility that research on homeopathy actually supports the utility of it. He totally ignores the problems with homeopathy and reality, not the least that of absent prior biological probability and boastfully denigrates those who say shaken water cannot work.
      In the beginning of his lecture he tells that he used to work in Stockholm but now in a hospital outside the city. I have reason to believe that he was subtly relieved of an eminent position at one of the worlds most respected academic institutions and is now a clinical teacher and works in an ordinary clinical position within his speciality, which he is reportedly very good at. Before this he had a soaring scientific carreer and is still well known for his ground-breaking work.
      I do respect Dr. Hahn for his superior clinical knowledge and pioneering work in real medicine and the science of resuscitation. But as far as the ability to read scientific litterature, which he overbearingly generalises that skeptics cannot, he seems to have lost his own scientific litteracy somewhere between spiritual studies and the search for his own previous-life identity, which he allegedly found in a person who lived in the 12th century.
      I suspect the key to this strange mans path may lie in a deep cognitive dissonance between the Hahn couple’s passionate religious conviction and his scientific training. Instead of letting himself slip head-on into the rabbit hole of religious fanaticism he tries to intellectualise his disdain for what he perceives as mockery of religion (e.g. the successful campaign against the Vidar anthroposofic/spiritualistic clinic) with a feeble, blindsided quasi-scientific defense of homeopathic tooth-fairy science.
      The consequences of religious fervor can certainly be life-changing.

    • @stan

      Here is a funny take on poor methodology

      Great video fragment! I watched all 12 seconds of it, and I was literally rolling on the floor laughing!

      “Homeopathy Research Institute” … the way that those arrogant fools really seem to believe that they’re doing ‘research’ into an actual phenomenon is too funny for words! They must have somehow missed the REAL research results: homeopathy does not work(*).

      *: Unless, of course, they come up with at least one (just ONE) homeopathic dilution 12C+ that is shown to have a clear, consistent effect in independently replicated experiments.

  • I am reading and enjoying the recently-published third volume of memoirs of neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, which is entitled “And Finally”.

    On Page 44 he mentions Freud’s theories about dreams, and I liked this succinct comment by Mr Marsh:

    “Freud produced no evidence to justify his theory, so we don’t need to provide any evidence to disagree with it”

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