Thursday, August 19, 2010

Natural Health: Science, Business, Politics, Law

Probably we're preaching to the choir at the Alliance for Natural Health, an organization "dedicated to promoting sustainable health and freedom of choice in healthcare through good science and good law." Too many drugs pushed by too powerful a medical establishment? Agreed. More wisdom in prescribing diet and exercise? Definitely. A conspiracy against natural health by Big Pharma, the FDA, and the AMA? Meh. Better health through holistic medicine and supplements? Not so fast.

Nutraceuticals are drugs, too, and frighteningly untested and unregulated, most of them, except as "medical foods." Holistic providers of all stripes seem free to practice in America as they see fit and make all sorts of wild claims without much fear of retribution. If it's FDA clearance and Medicare reimbursement they want, then let's see the evidence, fully vetted and given due process. Heck, the California Walnut Commission did it, and got the FDA to agree that "eating 1.5 oz of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease."

Before reading our reply to the ANH, below, please leave this post and read the organization's "Memo to Political Leaders: When You Think Job Creation, Think Natural Health (If You Don't, Other Countries Will)."

Our reply:

Yes, let’s do embrace natural and ancient remedies and holistic approaches to health and healing. But let’s not pretend Western medicine isn’t on to something BIG with its pesky Scientific Method and evidence-based practice. Call it Conventional if you want. I call it Modern. Sometimes it pretends it knows more than it knows, and like Freedom it requires our constant struggle, yet it’s one of the marvels of our Age. And it should include more alternative thinking for sure.

As for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the US leads the world, business is brisk, and growth is steady and strong. Thank goodness we have a medical establishment and government regulation to make sure we don’t jump willy-nilly into treatments for which there is no assurance of safety and efficacy. These are pretty low bars for entry.

On my site, HyperbaricLink, you’ll find us championing FDA approval of HBOT indications like traumatic brain injury and stroke, where we find the evidence especially compelling. Where the evidence is scant or merely interesting, we urge investigators to do the clinical trials and publish the findings or shut up.

Our comment is awaiting moderation.

O2.0 is the news blog of HyperbaricLink, the independent guide to hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment centers, physicians and clinicians, diseases and conditions.

1 comment:

  1. Author's postscript: Here, for instance, is a brand new and stunningly good study on tai chi for fibromyalgia:

    That's what I'm talking about.