Dr Oz: Controversial Medicine: Why Your Doctor Is Afraid Of Alternative Health
Dr Oz did a show called Controversial Medicine: Why Your Doctor Is Afraid of Alternative Health. Many doctors, including Doctor Oz, have been talking about the potential benefits of Alternative Medicine, but other doctors say that these treatments are dangerous. Why are they so afraid? And should we be worried and cautious too?
Dr Oz: Alternative Medicine
Dr Oz said that mainstream America is now using herbs, chiropractors and Alternative Medicine. In fact, 40% of people use some form of Alternative Treatment and spend a total of $35 billion a year. Doctor Oz has done shows that feature some of the biggest names in Alternative Health, such as Dr. Joe Mercola, Deepak Chopra and Dr Andrew Weil, but some doctors say that their treatments do not work and can even be dangerous.
Dr Oz asked Dr Steven Novella, an opponent of Alternative Medicine, why so many doctors do not like these therapies. Dr Novella said that Alternative Health is an artificial category that does not really mean anything and that there should be one science-based, common sense standard to figure out the safest therapies to use that work. On the other hand, Dr Mimi Guarneri, a cardiologist who incorporates Alternative Medicine into her practice, said that she looks everywhere to find ways to help her patients. She said that she does not believe nutrition and exercise are Alternative Medicine at all, but Dr Novella agrees with this. He said that lots of things do not work and are not based on science, but are still being recommended. Preventative Medicine like exercise and nutrition are considered a science-based medicine in Dr Novella’s opinion.
Dr Oz said that he personally uses guided imagery and massage therapy and thinks that Alternative Medicine can give people a customized tool to help with their medical issues. He broke the field of Alternative Health into the following three categories:
– Things you can put in your mouth like herbs, supplements, vitamins and food
– Manual Manipulation such as Massage and Acupuncture
– Mind Body Connection like Meditation
Here are some thoughts on all three of these topics:
Dr Oz: Supplements & Vitamins
Doctor Oz said that more than half of all Americans are taking some form of dietary supplement. Dr Novella said that he does not like that herbs are being rebranded as natural and Alternative Medicine, even when there is evidence that they simply do not work. One such example that he gave is Echinacea, which he said that studies show it does nothing but it was marketed in a very slick way.
Dr Oz said that he generally disagrees with Dr Novella on this topic, but one area he is concerned about is that 69% of people who have tried Alternative Medicines never talked about it with their doctors. Dr Mimi Guarneri said that it is crucial that natural supplements be checked against other medications that you take, so you must tell your physician everything that you take. Dr Catherine Ulbright suggested a great resource with tons of information on supplements called Natural Standard, which you can find here.
Dr Oz: Acupuncture & Body Manipulation
Dr Oz’s second category was Body Manipulation, such as Acupuncture. Dr Mimi Guarneri said that she works with Acupuncturists to help treat her patients for pain after heart surgery when they are in cardio rehab and complain from aches and pains like back spasms and elbow pain. She likes that the Acupuncture relieves inflammation and does not interfere with their other prescriptions.
Dr Steven Novella said that he has reviewed the literature and studies done on Acupuncture and that it shows that it does not work. The only effect comes from the fact that you are relaxing for a while and a comforting, caring person is treating you. But he claims that the small risks of putting needles into your skin are a bigger con than the pros you can get from the treatments.
Dr Oz said that billions of people in the world say that Acupuncture works and that it is the basis for Chinese Medicine, so he disagreed with Dr Novella’s dismissive attitude. Dr Novella said that he was not dismissive because he did consider it and reviewed the literature before coming to his conclusion.
Dr Oz: Meditation & Mind-Body Connection
Dr Oz said that meditation is used to help lower blood pressure and to help people to recover from serious diseases. Dr Steven Novella said that as a scientist, you have to ask what Meditation is, and the answer is that it is relaxation which reduces stress and can perhaps decrease your blood pressure. However, Dr Novella disagrees with wrapping Meditation into something mystical and saying that it can cure Cancer or real physical problems.
Doctor Oz said that this area is their biggest disconnect, because it would be very hard to prove whether or not Meditation can help a person to harvest our own immune cells. Dr Oz said that his advice is to customize therapies that work for you, because every person is different. Alternative Medicine is still at the Grassroots level and nobody really owns it yet. What Alternative Medicine or Treatments have you tried? Have they worked? Please leave a comment below and share your experiences!