Is There Scientific Data to Support Holistic Health Treatments? - page 2

Are you aware that theraputic touch has been shown in at least one carefully done double blind study to simply not work? In the study, the professional practioner, who was positive he could feel the... Read More

  1. by   zenman
    Quote from kmchugh
    This seems to be a complete contradiction to what you posted earlier, which left me the impression that you had no faith whatever in research.
    My original statement was "Those who know me are aware that I don't care much for formal, empirical research." Normally that would be taken to mean "I don't care much for formal, empirical research" and not as you say, "no faith whatever."

    You still have not addressed my point about release of pharmaceuticals without control or study. Would you be in favor of that? Should drug companies be allowed to release new drugs without studies to prove their relative safety and effectiveness?
    I'll repeat: "You can do all the research you want as long as you realize the limitations involved." So, yes, research has its positives and negatives.

    Or suppose someone proposed a new method of dressing open wounds. Should we change how we are doing things and adopt this new method simply because the person who proposes it says it is better, without any data to back up that claim?
    Hopefully one who makes claims can back up their claims. Hopefully they have actually tried the new method of wound care before announcing their method to the public for scrutiny.

    And if not, why should purveryors of "alternative therapies" be allowed to do exactly that?
    So what you're saying is that thousands of years (in some cases) of clinical trials, even though pre-scientific, using real patients are worthless? Also, the recognized "yardstick" you speak of may soon be recognized as outdated. Reason: human beings do not fall into the realm of predictability, so, as a consequence, scientific methods can only be useful as guidelines. Should acupuncture, for example be subjected to western style research after so many years of clinical trials? Should it go through a period of confrontation and adaptation to our "modern scientific" view, in spite of the fact that western medical practice is continually changing? Eastern medicine's concept of sickness and health is different from the western concept. One of them cannot function when the electricity goes out.

    Why is it so offensive to the purveyors of alternative medicine when someone like me challenges them to prove their therapies are any more effective than alternative medicine.
    Maybe because you are a "scientic technician.":chuckle

    And remember, anecdotes don't count as empirical data.
    Guess you're not a fan of grounded theory.

    Complete nonsense, and dangerous to the patient to boot. She and her supporters didn't care. They were making money off other people's pain.
    There are quacks in every system...right?
  2. by   Skili
    Dang Zenman, I am with you! I too, get really, really, frustrated of trying to prove to people that I "know what I know" and they still don't get it . (Is that theory grounded enough?) Probably nobody but you will get this, and then I am not so sure you will either. I get really upset with peoples "opinions" being deamed as "fact" also, and sometimes I make a sport of calling them on it.(everybody is an expert syndrome-with only their personal experience counting and/or self interest always lurking in the background) We just need to understand the importance and the concept of theory.I am old enough to have lived though the coffee and deoderant causes cancer years to keep my brain open to ideas/and the fact modern science is still in it's infancy, though some wonderful (and not so wonderful things) are happening. Those that don't keep their brain open scare me. Someday, they will know you are right . (but probably won't admit it). I think you are about the smartest person on this board. Skili P.S. FACT: Einstein spent most of his life proving his theories AFTER he made his claims. But his claims were theories.( Ehhem )
    Last edit by Skili on Mar 26, '05
  3. by   zenman
    Quote from Skili
    Dang Zenman, I am with you! I too, get really, really, frustrated of trying to prove to people that I "know what I know" and they still don't get it . (Is that theory grounded enough?) Probably nobody but you will get this, and then I am not so sure you will either. I get really upset with peoples "opinions" being deamed as "fact" also, and sometimes I make a sport of calling them on it.(everybody is an expert syndrome-with only their personal experience counting and/or self interest always lurking in the background) We just need to understand the importance and the concept of theory.I am old enough to have lived though the coffee and deoderant causes cancer years to keep my brain open to ideas/and the fact modern science is still in it's infancy, though some wonderful (and not so wonderful things) are happening. Those that don't keep their brain open scare me. Someday, they will know you are right . (but probably won't admit it). I think you are about the smartest person on this board. Skili P.S. FACT: Einstein spent most of his life proving his theories AFTER he made his claims. But his claims were theories.( Ehhem )
    Well, thanks for the kind words. I don't worry about it much anymore, just keep on trucking. I just like to get on here and fuss with people when I have time, ha, ha! :chuckle Guess I better shut up though cause it looks like the thread got sidetracked!
  4. by   Osiris55
    I pretty much agree with Kmchugh, there is not enough evidence to say that "energy work" (I'm clumping several diffrent ones in here) actually does anything beyond a placebo effect.

    There are two primary arguments people use to say that energy work does something; The empirical model of medicine is flawed (for whatever reasons); It's been around for thousands of years in the East;

    The empirical model of medicine isn't perfect by any means. It is possible to alter the results of a study to make whatever theory being studied work. Empirical science is, I think, somewhat skewed for the results to fall in favor of the theory being tested. No matter the researcher some of that data they collect is going to be interpreted in a way that favours their study when in fact it shouldn't. I also feel that the impact of such misinterpertation is minimal. I am of course talking of a true empirical experiment, not some evil drug company out to make a buck at any cost.

    The idea that just because it's something that has been around for thousands of years makes it true is also misleading. People thought the world was flat for thousands of years, turns out they were wrong. If, in fact, these practices have worked for so long, why is it they can't stand up to empirical research? What about it suddenly makes energy work unable to function in a controlled enviremnt?

    I've heard the argument that the cold and emotionless envirment that empirical research creates makes it impossible for energy work to function. And ok, I can understand that line of reasoning, but for whatever reason, if energy work can't be easly reproducable and has a hard time being predictiable, how can you expect it to be something widely used?

    Not only that but when you start saying things like "surgery is a placebo"(paraphrased), it just weakens your case. I don't see how removing someone ready to burst appendix has a placebo effect. No amount of energy work is going to stop someone from dying from a burst appendix, nor is energy work going to prevent it from bursing.

    If modern medicine is just a placebo effect, then why can't energy work also just be a placebo effect? Just because it's been around for longer isn't going to cut it. If modern medicine is around 1,000 years from now will it still be a placebo effect or does a medical model just need to be around for a few 1,000 years before it transform from placebo into fact? :uhoh21:

    I do keep a very open mind about these things. It would be so amazing if they worked, but I've never seen any evidence that supported that there was actually anything going on other then lots of positive thinking. Positive thinking may make it easier for someone to heal, and will often have a relaxing effect, causing lots of simple afflictions to disapate (mine joint pain, headaches, upset tummy).

    Until I see with my own eyes someone stop a gushing wound from bleeding with nothing more then a light touch I must find it to be nothing more then a placebo effect.
  5. by   nightingale
    The conversation has strayed quite a bit from the original post statement, "How can I get Healing Touch certification?".

    I would like to, as Moderator, separate the thread and retitle the new thread. Please PM me with recomendations and I will consider them and separate this thread so both topics (HT Certification and .... perhaps, " Is There Scientific Data to Support Holistic Health Treatments?") may be discussed. If you have suggestions on where to separate the thread also, I am would like to hear those suggestions.

    Please do not post recommendations on the Board so we can minimize the topic from straying further.

    nightngale1998
  6. by   zenman
    You mean I can't respond to Osiris55!!! Ok, I'll pm you!
  7. by   dancingfox
    [FONT=Arial Narrow]
    Quote from kmchugh
    As a general rule, I stay out of this part of the board. I am of a scientific bent, and find most "alternative" therapies to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. However, I am aware of rare instances of therapies that were once considered to be "alternative" becoming mainstream. That said....

    This is a dangerous attitude for a nurse to have. "Never mind what the studies say, this works!!" Would you accept the same attitude from one of those evil drug companies promoting a new drug? "Never mind what the studies say about this not curing the intended disease, it works!" What would your attitude be to that? (What is interesting here is that if a company said this about a drug we wouldn't accept it at all. There would be an absolute uprising among those in the "altmed"community. However, these same "altmed" folks accept exactly that kind of attitude when it comes from those promoting alternative therapies and supplements that don't need FDA scrutiny.)

    Honest studies have demonstrated that therapeutic touch has absolutely no effect. Even studies designed by TT practitioners demonstrate this. See the Turner burn study. At the end of the study, Turner concluded that therapeutic touch was effective and we needed to study how to better utilize the modality. However, a quick look at the data published in the study demonstrated that therapeutic touch was completely without merit. This study, in which the study methods were heavily weighted in favor of TT, and in which the data were massaged to put TT in the best possible light (I examined this study closely, and even corresponded with the study's author) demonstrated that TT was at best without any effect whatsoever.

    It doesn't work. When you say "ignore the studies" all you accomplish is to harm the credibility of nurses.

    Kevin McHugh

    Edited to add: Remember, when you say "as evidenced by pts and colleagues" you are referring to what is known as "anecdotal evidence." While anecdotal evidence may be a good place to begin a study, always remember the mantra "data is not the plural of anecdote."

    KM
    add to post-i agree with science to a certain degree as science has not yet proven where the soul or thinking part of the human derives from or leaves to. That said - i as a reiki nurse have had several different treatments done to myself and i have done to other professionals. bottom line .it works. it is safe and noninvasive. it is also studied in the national institute of health and several cardiologist also have their own business as it is proven effective in heart disease. please research for yourself before giving advice.opinions are only opinions. documentation is what i and many holistic nurses base our career on. - wonderful to see many nurses working with 2000 yr plus techniques to help people.
  8. by   dancingfox
    Quote from madi_88
    Never mind all those "studies" - it does work (accompanied w/ narcotics) believe me - I have been a palliative care nurse for yrs - and if it works and we don't know why (scientifically) WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE? Just be calm and do it - it works, as evidenced by pts and colleagues....remember - what ever we can do.....
    ==careful maddi , wording is everything , studies are important- openminds are important. yes it works. for me and many of my clients. how it works is still being studied.
  9. by   harleyadith
    Quote from kmchugh
    As a general rule, I stay out of this part of the board. I am of a scientific bent, and find most "alternative" therapies to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. However, I am aware of rare instances of therapies that were once considered to be "alternative" becoming mainstream. That said....

    This is a dangerous attitude for a nurse to have. "Never mind what the studies say, this works!!" Would you accept the same attitude from one of those evil drug companies promoting a new drug? "Never mind what the studies say about this not curing the intended disease, it works!" What would your attitude be to that? (What is interesting here is that if a company said this about a drug we wouldn't accept it at all. There would be an absolute uprising among those in the "altmed"community. However, these same "altmed" folks accept exactly that kind of attitude when it comes from those promoting alternative therapies and supplements that don't need FDA scrutiny.)

    Honest studies have demonstrated that therapeutic touch has absolutely no effect. Even studies designed by TT practitioners demonstrate this. See the Turner burn study. At the end of the study, Turner concluded that therapeutic touch was effective and we needed to study how to better utilize the modality. However, a quick look at the data published in the study demonstrated that therapeutic touch was completely without merit. This study, in which the study methods were heavily weighted in favor of TT, and in which the data were massaged to put TT in the best possible light (I examined this study closely, and even corresponded with the study's author) demonstrated that TT was at best without any effect whatsoever.

    It doesn't work. When you say "ignore the studies" all you accomplish is to harm the credibility of nurses.

    Kevin McHugh

    Edited to add: Remember, when you say "as evidenced by pts and colleagues" you are referring to what is known as "anecdotal evidence." While anecdotal evidence may be a good place to begin a study, always remember the mantra "data is not the plural of anecdote."

    KM
    Hi, 04/01/05- I know that prayer changes and helps the patients. I regularly pray for the medicine to work with THE GREAT PHYSICIAN- Edna Mason RN
  10. by   zenman
    Quote from Osiris55
    I pretty much agree with Kmchugh, there is not enough evidence to say that "energy work" (I'm clumping several diffrent ones in here) actually does anything beyond a placebo effect.
    This kinda remains me of all the smoking studies years ago which showed that there was no danger in smoking. All of us in healthcare fields knew about the end results but many, mostly smokers, loved to say, "there's no studies to show there is any harm in smoking." Now we know the truth. You will not see many studies published in any "reputable" western medical journals because they refuse to publish them. JAMA did publish the results of a few studies in their November 1998 issue which supported the effectiveness of moxibustion for correcting a breech presentation and for herbal prescriptions in treating irritable bowel syndromes. The World Health Organization has an even more extensive list of conditions which they feel benefit from acupuncture. There are literally thousands of studies out there if you know where to look. Some will pass our "scientific scrutiny; others will not.

    The idea that just because it's something that has been around for thousands of years makes it true is also misleading. People thought the world was flat for thousands of years, turns out they were wrong. If, in fact, these practices have worked for so long, why is it they can't stand up to empirical research? What about it suddenly makes energy work unable to function in a controlled enviremnt?

    I've heard the argument that the cold and emotionless envirment that empirical research creates makes it impossible for energy work to function. And ok, I can understand that line of reasoning, but for whatever reason, if energy work can't be easly reproducable and has a hard time being predictiable, how can you expect it to be something widely used?
    Here's why. Any studies done now certainly serve as a bridge for understanding Eastern medicine, or introducing Eastern medicine into the west. The problem, however, is that modern research tends to force an ancient system into our dominant paradigm, ignoring aspects that don't fit the scientific model. It is very disturbing that some "authorities" insist that strictly conducted studies are the only way to evaluate traditional ways of healing. The editors of JAMA, in spite of the study results, stated: "Until solid evidence is available that demonstrates the safety, efficacy, and effective of specific alternative medicine interventions, uncritical acceptance of untested and unproven alternative medicine therapies must stop."

    This is really some statement considering over 4 billion people rely on alternative medicine for health care. Let me also remind you that the WHO put the USA #37 in the world in it's report on health of the people. Cuba, which has a lot of alternative practices was ahead of the USA! According to Gary Dolowich, M.D., only about 1/3 of the advice given by Western trained physicians can be substantiated by experimental data. IMHO, no study today does anything more than "suggest something" as it does not take into account consciousness, which we can't measure.

    Not only that but when you start saying things like "surgery is a placebo"(paraphrased), it just weakens your case. I don't see how removing someone ready to burst appendix has a placebo effect. No amount of energy work is going to stop someone from dying from a burst appendix, nor is energy work going to prevent it from bursing.
    I guess you missed all the studies about knee surgery being as effective as a placebo!!! Look in google.com and try to catch up. There are also many cases of people having surgery for the wrong reasons, only to discover that they still have a problem. Symptom focus doesn't always work that well. I'm not saying strictly rely on one system over the other. The both have their strengths and weaknesses. If I need surgery, I want a Western trained surgeon. If I want to not get sick in the first place, I want the local acupuncturist.


    If modern medicine is just a placebo effect, then why can't energy work also just be a placebo effect? Just because it's been around for longer isn't going to cut it. If modern medicine is around 1,000 years from now will it still be a placebo effect or does a medical model just need to be around for a few 1,000 years before it transform from placebo into fact? :uhoh21:

    I do keep a very open mind about these things. It would be so amazing if they worked, but I've never seen any evidence that supported that there was actually anything going on other then lots of positive thinking. Positive thinking may make it easier for someone to heal, and will often have a relaxing effect, causing lots of simple afflictions to disapate (mine joint pain, headaches, upset tummy).
    It's very true that stress causes, in my opinion, the majority of health problems. I also think that the placebo effect is one of the strongest healing techniques around. Shamans, who were the first mind-body specialists, were also tricksters. Their "patients" knew they were being tricked and still got better! Candace Pert's book "Molecules of Emotion" is required reading here.

    Does the placebo effect come into play when animals get acupuncture? If I could talk to my dog I would ask him as he has had needles stuck in him. I used to get acupuncture a lot as I taught Zen Shiatsu in an acupuncture school and students would get me to volunteer. I did this often as it's nice to lay down on the job. So, I never really had any expectations about any results. However, I had tennis and golfer's elbows for a year and the only thing left, according to my orthopedic surgeon, was to go in with a knife. Then one day this acupuncture student knocked out the pain in one arm in one session and the other arm in one more session. (It has not bothered me again for 6 years.) I talked with this student and he was more than just a student as he was family trained in Korea and everyone in his family had been acupuncturists as far as he could remember. He was just training in the US in order to pass the national exams. Guess his "ancient" style of acupuncture was even better than the new style!

    Until I see with my own eyes someone stop a gushing wound from bleeding with nothing more then a light touch I must find it to be nothing more then a placebo effect.
    You will never see this and as the focus of Western and Eastern therapy is different this statement makes no sense.
  11. by   CharlieRN
    There has been much said about the thousand year old practices of chinese medicine. These techniques are indeed ancient. And the chinese have used them for a long time.

    The problem is that we in the west are approaching eastern medicine with western attitudes. Westerners view medical practioners with great respect. Partly this is because in our tradition they were often religious persons who were giving aid as charity. The US has laws that offer tax breaks to nurses based on the assumption that because of their chosen profession they will be underpaid and unable to save money for their retirement. In much of the English speaking world a nurse is still called "sister". The classic western image of the physician is the country doctor with his bag. We imagine him going out at all hours to tend the ill, sacrificing his sleep and his time with his own family, often risking his own life in treating the dangerously infectious patients. He is seen as a secular saint.

    In eastern culture the practioner of healing is viewed with suspicion and distain. He is expected to be a lying opportunist.

    In illustration, here is an ancient chinese joke: ( This is supposed to be done with gestures and pantomine, so it will lose some of its punch in telling it in type)
    "A doctor is called to the home of a family to treat a sick infant. He makes a vigorus attempt using impressive techniques, but the child dies. As he accepts his fee, he says, 'I am terribly sorry, I did my best, but I failed. The least I can do is to see to the funeral arrangements.' With this he places the little body in the left sleeve of his traditional robe and departs. The family's servent is suspicious of the smooth talking doctor and follows him. As the doctor crosses a bridge over a canal the servent sees him swing out his right arm and a little body splashes into the water. Outraged, the servent attacks the doctor with his staff and starts to beat him. The doctor cries out, "Stop, stop I have done nothing wrong.' The servent shouts, 'You threw the body of our baby in the canal!' The doctor answers, ' I would never do anything so disrespectful' and reaching into his left sleeve, takes out a baby's body, 'See, here is the child of your house.'"

    Westerners need to view ancient chinese techniques with the same degree of respect they have earned in the thousands of years they have been used in the east.

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