Category Archives: pseudo science

Fibromyalgia, Alternative Therapies and the Bio-Psycho-Social

“People still insist on things like holistic healing and things that have no real basis in evidence because they want it to be true-it’s as simple as that”, Stephen Fry

If there is any alternate healing therapy that I have not tried over many years I don’t know what it can be. Chinese herbs, homeopathy, JinShin, acupuncture,  Reiki, osteopathy, therapeutic touch, reflexology to name a few, most of them have not helped; they are not evidence based therapies. They cost me a great deal of money. They kept the practitioners in business. But, of them all osteopathy as a manual therapy was helpful as I thrive on the magic of touch, especially when the therapist is a skilled practitioner. I am also fond of  gentle massage therapy, JinShin, chiropractic adjustments, and especially physiotherapy. Having a therapist who spends an hour with you, working on painful areas of your body can be extremely therapeutic.  Of them all it is physiotherapy (physical therapy as it is called in the US) which has provided me with the most relief . I trust this practice the most as it is evidence based, a research profession situated in a university, sanctioned by grant giving foundations to further their research agenda. I have however heard from many who do not like to be touched and manual therapy is not for them. When I am touched by a therapist who has experienced hands it relaxes my nervous system. For those who do not like being touched by others, I recommend massaging yourself lightly as a soothing gesture. It does not cure but it provides relief and trains the brain to pause and work with paying attention to the moment rather than catastrophic-futuristic thinking which we are all prone to do.

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Fibromyalgia, Evidence Based Medicine and ‘Complementary / Alternative’ Practices

“Question everything”, Maria Mitchell

Frustrated that there is not much hope for relief from the usual medical system and its approach to fibromyalgia, many turn for help to practitioners who provide either complementary or alternative medicine (C/AM). The differences between the latter two is an artifical separation since they both entail using concoctions, therapies, herbs, or homeopathic remedies that are one and the same. The more interesting issue is how  they differ from the traditional scientific ‘western’ medical approach, or what has been known as ‘allopathic’ medicine, or now commonly referred to as ‘evidence based medicine’ (EBM) of health care. However, within this discussion I do not refer to EBM as within the domain of CAM as many ‘alternate’ practitioners are prone to do.

What makes something considered to be complementary or alternative as opposed to mainstream, or scientifically based medicine?  Sometimes this distinction becomes blurred and confused with one another, for example, taking vitamins or supplements. Are they the domain of EBM or AM ?  Is it because there are scientific experiments that provide evidence that specific vitamins are essential for healthy living, as in the recent data on Vitamin D? As usual, I have more questions than answers. Sometimes the issues are not clear cut with many shades of gray.

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