I’m tired. I feel defeated and broken. Normally I have a very thick skin, but not lately.
In recent weeks, I have noticed a massive increase in the slamming of alternative and complementary therapies. You’ve probably noticed this too.
Surrounding the death of “The Wellness Warrior”, Jess Ainscough, labels have been thrown around like nobody’s business, claiming her “refusal” of traditional cancer treatments (chemo and the like) caused her premature death. She DID have treatment. She CHOSE to live and die on her terms. And who has the right to pay out on ANYONE who decides to do that??
Now, to go about and suggest that ‘alternative’ therapies are going to kill people, is absolutely fucking ludicrous. Tell me how many people have died from mainstream cancer treatments? Millions. Now, this is not to suggest that people shouldn’t have treatment. Far from it.
Next, Belle Gibson. The Whole Pantry App creator and ‘wellness’ blogger who has allegedly lied about having a life threatening brain cancer, along with multiple other cancers throughout her body, and potentially failed to pass on ‘fundraising dollars’ from the 200,000+ downloads of the app. Where is she to justify and denounce these claims? Hiding, somewhere. I don’t know where. I don’t particularly care either. I never followed her story. Until now.
I was curious, so tried to catch up on the ‘big deal’.
She advocated for whole foods and health and healing.
Now, the hoopla surrounding an upcoming book called Bubba Yum Yum, co-authored by Pete Evans, a celebrity chef and Charlotte Carr, a mommy blogger. It has been leaked that a recipe for an infant formula containing bone broth and beef or chicken liver may have the potential to ‘kill babies’ due to toxic amounts of Vitamin A.
Yep, I agree. Vitamin A can become toxic, and very quickly too. Especially for new babies, where their little organs just aren’t ready for processing such high amounts of the vitamin.
Should we bag Pete Evans for it? No. It’s not his recipe. Hell, I don’t even know what’s in the damn recipe for certain.
So now all therapies that are whole food based are ‘dangerous’ and ‘killing’ people.
Here are some quotes from the media recently. I am not naming the paper’s reporting these things either.
“Surgical oncologist and blogger David Gorski wrote that Ms Ainscough clearly had noble motivations but was both a victim of, and complicit in, promoting dangerous therapies.”
“Jess Ainscough had a shot, one shot. She didn’t take it,” he said.
My response…She did not have one shot. She had treatment. She chose not to have her arm removed and live and die on her terms. There was no guarantee her life would be prolonged with radical amputation.
Is that my fault? No.
“She’s already extended a 30-minute consult and I’m pushed for time. I nudge the door shut with my foot, and sit down…
I have lost patients to all of those treatments, I tell her quietly…
If you really want my opinion, I’d say avoid them all. Your chemotherapy is going well.
We now know that many of these therapies are not only unhelpful but are downright dangerous…
Herbs and supplements can interact with chemotherapy and reduce its efficacy, a real drawback when therapy is given with curative intent…
Oncologists and alternative health practitioners move in different spheres though plenty of evidence suggests we end up looking after the same patients…
As does the troubling realisation that a doctor can face reprimand for inadvertent error but an alternative practitioner can get away with intentional harm…
“Does the natural therapist, coffee enema prescriber or wave therapy expert ever discuss patient care with an oncologist? Not in my experience. There is never written correspondence or a phone call”…
My response…In my clinical practice, I hear ALL THE TIME that patients don’t feel heard and rushed. How about specialists allocate more time with their patients? I know when I have been to specialists I am rushed out in 15 minutes and my questions not answered. I have lost family and friends who chose only conventional cancer treatment. A good, qualified ‘alternative’ medicine practitioner knows how to use their therapies in conjunction with traditional cancer treatments. I’ve done it, very successfully. I don’t set out to ‘cure’ anybody of cancer. If I even said the word ‘cure’ I would be stripped of my license to practice. I have tried on a number of occasions to work with medical doctors and specialists for the ‘best possible patient outcomes’, only to be told that what I do won’t make a difference and it’s not backed by science. Some of my patients won’t discuss they are even seeing me with their mainstream medics, out of fear. Some that have, have been told that what I do won’t make any difference, so to stop all therapies I provide. Others have been given the brush off and the doctor won’t even talk about it or acknowledge it.
“There’s enough pseudoscience in Gerson therapy and many other alternate therapies that for the unsuspecting and vulnerable, they seem like they could work. It’s time for us to step up and provide better information to the public so Australians can make truly informed choices, before anyone else dies a preventable death using alternative medicines”…
My response…I have a Science degree. Nutritional medicine is not ‘pseudo-science’. Without nutrients, people die.
“Independent consumer watchdog Choice echoed Dr Parnis’ advice. “It’s really important that people understand the difference between medical science and alternative therapies,” a Choice spokesman said. “If you are really unwell, your first port of call should not be an alternative therapist”…
My response…It’s really important that Western medicine acknowledge the benefits of real food and nutrients. There is more than enough research out there on nutrition. If there wasn’t, why would medical degrees have, even if it’s only an hours worth, nutrition as part of the degree.
And this gem of a headline.
“Another day, another ‘natural cancer treatment’ is proven to be a tragic lie.”
My response…Extraordinarily misleading. Considering the actual content of this article. The person who this refers to is the “liar” and not the treatment. Click-bait headlines like this are disgustingly misleading and false.
Let it go. No, I won’t.
To suggest that nutritional medicine is not based on science is FALSE. I hold a Bachelor of Health Science, majoring in nutritional medicine. YES, a real degree. From a real college, that is government approved. I have done thousands of clinical hours both as a student and as a practitioner. I am trained in evidence-based practice. I do continuing education. All the time. I critically review hundreds of scientific research papers each week. That’s what I am trained to do.
When name-calling, and use of the words ‘dangerous’, ‘killing people’, ‘negligent’, ‘pseudo-science’ and such are thrown around like bouncy balls at a fun house, I take it personally. And it has started to verge on defamatory.
No, I don’t have all the answers, but does medicine?
Headlines that include ‘cure’ are becoming normal, and I certainly do not support that either. I didn’t write the article, nor am I an editor. In fact, what it does is give those of us with actual science degrees in ‘alternative’ therapies a very bad name.
Nutritional medicine is not an alternative therapy. It is science. As I mentioned earlier, the body needs nutrients, and nutrition. Without them, people become very unwell and die.
As a health professional, I pride myself on my work with patients and working integratively with Western Medicine. Do not continue to put me in the same box as those who are not qualified.
I will support people who advocate for humans to make better food choices, regardless of their profile or qualifications. Whatever it takes to get the message out there that what is considered ‘food’ these days is actually extremely unhealthy and contributing to an increase in disease and illness in humans.
I will continue to work with my patients offering food as medicine for prevention, health, healing and wellness, and supplements where needed. Educating them and guiding them through the proverbial minefield of information available on the internet, and supporting their choices. No question that a lot of health information out there is garbage, written by people who are in no way qualified to offer health and medical advice. That’s why I spend countless hours trawling research papers.
I will support and guide my patients to medicine if needed, without being labelled ‘negligent’ or ‘dangerous’ and work within that. I will continue providing my patients information on medications and side effects of these medications, as well as offering alternatives, and working within my scope of practice. That’s what I am trained to do.
I will happily offer any doctor or medical specialist my time to help them understand where I am coming from, and the role of nutritional medicine in human health if they are willing to listen with an open mind, and an open heart to what my intentions are, which are the “best possible patient outcomes”.
I would love more than anything to be able to work together. There is no ego here. My heart and soul is in this for the long haul.