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Alternative Medicine

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Many muscles atrophy through lack of use. Could the same be true for our eye muscles, and if so, could exercises restore poor eyesight?
Homeopathy is an alternative medicine based on the idea that a sick person can be cured by giving them infinitesimal quantities of a substance that in large quantities would cause the same symptoms of the sickness. It is a credit to Samuel Hahnemann who discovered homeopathy in 1796, that the basic tenets of his theory remain as is in modern homeopathy. The scientific community remains skeptical, citing the pseudo-scientific nature of the theory and the lack of empirical evidence to back it up.
In 1996, the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approved the acupuncture needle as a medical device. Empirical studies have had mixed results as to its efficacy. The mechanism by which acupuncture works remains elusive, fueling skepticism in the scientific community.
Protocell (a.k.a. Entelev/Cancell) is a non FDA approved medicine that is claimed to work on all forms of cancers, in addition to other diseases.
Steven Novella
Homeopathic products (mostly – some products labeled homeopathic may have active ingredients) do not have side effects because they do not have any effects. Most are diluted well past the point of having any active ingredient. What is left is ultimately just a sugar pill – a pure placebo.
Louise Mclean
Ozone is probably one of the most miraculous healing therapies available on our planet at this time. Through its oxygenating power, it successfully treats and cures a wide range of serious degenerative conditions including cancer, cardio-vascular disease, diabetes, liver and kidney disease. Ozone is very potent electrified or energised oxygen (O3). ... Without [oxygen] we would die in minutes but in big cities the levels in the air are decreasing, causing widespread ill health.
Wikipedia
Despite continued anecdotal reports of successful results, Bates' techniques have not been shown to objectively improve eyesight, and his main physiological proposition – that the eyeball changes shape to maintain focus – has consistently been contradicted by observation.
Deepak Chopra
[One of the many eye exercises are taken from Dr. Chopra's audio tape set Magical Mind:] This exercise improves flexibility, pliability, and elasticity to the lens. Focusing - To change the focal length of the lens & improve the internal muscles of the eyeballs, look at an object up close and then at a distance. For example look at your hand 6 inches from your face and then look at an object on the horizon. Repeat this exercise for 15 times without straining.
Wikipedia
Claims of homeopathy's efficacy beyond the placebo effect are unsupported by the collective weight of scientific and clinical evidence. While some individual studies have positive results, systematic reviews of published trials fail to conclusively demonstrate efficacy. Furthermore, higher quality trials tend to report less positive results, and most positive studies have not been replicated or show methodological problems...
Rudolf Verspoor
Most often the symptom picture that the classical homeopath puts together is false and fails. ... The conclusion I have come to is that “classical homeopathy” is more like a belief system to be defended, than a science open to critical discussion. ... As a result of the general failure of existing homeopaths and homeopathic schools to incorporate the insights set out in The Dynamic Legacy into their programs, we founded the Hahnemann College for Heilkunst, which [is Homeopathy that works].
Deepak Chopra
[The homeopathy debate] represents the usual confusion. Adherents to alternative medicine clash with the establishment, both sides pointing to their own research, but both sides also having to admit that definitive results never seem to settle their disputes. I've come to feel that the argument will never be settled until we accept a fact of nature: everyone has a unique response to disease. No single treatment can be expected to cure or prevent illness with complete reliability...
Paul Z. Myers
As anyone who has looked into homeopathy at all knows, these are very high dilutions—dilutions that mean there is no active agent present at all, so [a homeopathic remedy is equivalent to] a drink of water.

New Comments

1 Point       MTC       23 Feb 2013     Does Protocell work? Disagree
I have every reason to believe that this is pseudoscientific nonsense.

0 Points       MTC       23 Feb 2013     Does homeopathy work? Disagree
Of course not. Physics, chemistry, and direct evidence all shows that it is merely a placebo.

1 Point       Benja       02 Jul 2011     Does acupuncture work? General Comment
"As with any therapy, acupuncture has areas where it is more or less effective."
No, some therapies are ineffective in all areas. Your persuasion tactic here is The Middle Ground Pitch.

"clearly the evidence does not support either polarity."
The evidence that it works at all is not clear. The existence of some empirical studies showing marginally positive results for a particular therapy is not a high enough bar to conclude the therapy works. In the case of acupuncture, the absence of a scientific theory - a mechanism explaining its efficacy - is also very suspicious.

"It becomes tiresome to constantly engage..."
LOL. The person who is most tired of arguing is right. You know what helps with fatigue? Acupuncture, apparently.

1 Point       TZX       16 Feb 2011     Does homeopathy work? Disagree
"Little" presumably meaning "exactly equal to a glass of water"

1 Point       blacktrance       10 Feb 2011     Does Protocell work? Disagree
There are no panaceas in medicine.

0 Points       blacktrance       10 Feb 2011     Does homeopathy work? Disagree
Homeopathy is little more than the placebo effect.

0 Points       Benja       15 Jan 2011     Does ozone therapy work? General Comment
See The Cause vs Correlation Pitch. Yes, you took the treatment, and you got better. That doesn't mean the treatment caused you to get better. Furthermore, the "it worked for me" reasoning is an example of generalizing from an anecdote.

0 Points       Benja       07 Jul 2010     Does homeopathy work? Disagree
"Those who take issue with homeopathy do so because..."
the theory underlying homeopathy is incoherent, a suspicion that is validated by numerous empirical studies which show that homeopathic remedies have no measurable effect beyond a placebo.

A homeopathic concoction can be replaced with water, and there is no difference in efficacy. This shows that any therapeutic effects of homeopathy do not come from the medicine itself. This makes homeopathic medicine a placebo, a term homeopaths don't like, because it empowers patients with an understanding of the difference between real and fake medicine.

Regarding developing countries - we should not waste our time and theirs exporting non-scientific medicine that has failed to work in our own countries. People in developing countries need more education - not more voodoo. I'm highly suspicious of claims that homeopathic remedies help with heavy metal poisoning and chronic diarrhea. Furthermore, the long-term self-help solution here is to education them on acquiring clean water and sanitation. How are they supposed to understand what clean water and sanitation is, when we pollute their heads with homeopathic theories that distort and deny the scientific basis of disease, and for that matter, can't even define "water" correctly?

1 Point       Christopher Maloney       06 Jul 2010     Does homeopathy work? Mostly Agree
The extended research on homeopathy has shown that, because of the extended doctor/patient relationships and lengthy visits (often three + hours) patients benefit from homeopathic attention without the proper remedy. Since the doctor/patient relationship provides significant healing (mistaken experts are calling it a placebo effect, when it is the caring effect seen throughout medicine) the homeopathic remedies themselves are less robust in their significance of effect.

Those who take issue with homeopathy do so because it "is a waste of time" when we have significant studies on the alleviation of life threatening illnesses in developing countries. In these situations it is not homeopathy versus conventional medicine, it is homeopathy versus no intervention. The mistaken belief that we will be capable of providing the model of healthcare available in some countries worldwide is a delusion. We need to look at those trials of substances within homeopathy that are effective at alleviating heavy metal poisoning and chronic diarrhea. It is because of its dilution that homeopathy can be dispensed for almost nothing to a desperately ill world.

0 Points       the27th       09 May 2010     Does homeopathy work? Disagree
As far as I know, no.

New Editorial Comments

0 Points       Benja       13 Sep 2008     Can the E-Meter measure "mental energy"? Editorial Comment
You could make the case that the E-Meter is a useful tool in the same way that any placebo like tool is useful. E.g. Tarot cards can be viewed as useful simply as props to help a dialogue (where the real value comes from the Tarot reader's skill). This however, is a very weak argument, and is certainly not what Scientologists claim. Hubbard actually claims a person's body mass can increase while being tested with the E-Meter.


Alternative Medicine Question Index

Does homeopathy work?
Does Protocell work?
Does ozone therapy work?
Can poor eyesight be improved with eye exercises?
Can the E-Meter measure "mental energy"?
Does acupuncture work?