„Amazing“ findings on alternative cancer treatments

Are you kidding me? Is this all you can come up with?

I prefer to write on healing and healing rituals. I am into the force of the dragon fire, shamanic acupuncture and Chinese medicine and ancient medical literature.
This blog is about empowering people to do their own healing. It is about love.

stopping death?

stopping death?

But sometimes I have to indulge in some useless ranting.
Here it goes:

This satire goes out to the part of the medical community who engages in useless discussions aka blatant stupidity  to discredit the things I care about: The Healing Arts.

Today I found an article from „Medscape“ in my inbox ( I am open for everything new- even though this seems to be a one way street, as we shall see ).

This article was not on my favorite subject ( neurobiology ) but I had to read it because of the title:

“Mythbusters: Complementary and alternative treatments in Cancer.”

I read the article. I had to. Right?
I did not learn anything new and I did not even expect much, because at first sight I noticed that they had left out Qi Gong and Chinese herbal medicine and many other things like Amazonian plant doctoring, rituals, ayurveda…

There are lots of things that can cure people, that are being practised worldwide, which we still do not know a lot about.
What we do know is, that Qi Gong and Traditional Chinese herbal medicine are proven to make a difference in cancer therapy.

Whoever is seriously interested in cancer treatment knows about Qi Gong and Traditional Chinese herbal medicine.

The effectiveness of these modalities has been proven by countless studies, most of them from China. But somehow these studies never make it into the big European or American Medical Journals. And new (or age old) medical knowledge is only accepted once it has been published in one of these papers- who take care to reject everything threatening to the existing medical paradigm.

Still, even though there is this east- west- gap in the transmission of knowledge,  doctors and healers who care about  their cancer patients can try to find out on their own and many of them do.

Does it really matter were a medical modality originates from or whether some Journal approves of it- as long as it helps people?

In 1984 I still had to study Chinese to get serious information on Chinese medicine. In 2014 all a doctor would have to do is go on the internet to find lots of information on acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and Qi Gong- freely available in English.
It is common knowledge. Or could be.

But even in 2014 for some reason this article leaves out the two of most promising approaches to cancer therapy there are: Qi Gong and Chinese herbal medicine.

I really wonder why. Or, frankly, I do not. Medicine is not free. It is a hierarchically organized and strictly supervised industry.
So if the Chinese insist that Chinese Medicine can kill cancer- just let them. Who cares how they cure cancer „over there“?

The general existence of herbal treatments is acknowledged in this article- albeit as a warning:
„Many patients don’t realize that herbs and supplements — one of the most common complementary interventions — are drugs, and that some have been shown to interact with chemotherapy and can be harmful to patients,“ explains Steven Novella, MD, a neurologist and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine.

This is brilliant. Thank you Dr Novella! Without you we would probably never have known that herbs were drugs. We would probably have thought herbs were, well, herbs. Silly us.
Of course herbs are drugs. The very word “drug” originally meant “dry herb”: “drug” and “dry” being the same word in older times.
And to think about the malignancy of these drugs: while being totally without effect when it comes to helping people, all of a suden these herbs interact with other stuff just to harm people.
Or could it be, just saying, that the harm might actually come from the chemotherapy? After all, Chemotherapy is really just a form of poisoning. Chemotherapy is executed with poisonous chemicals.
Did you not know that Dr Novella?
Let me explain, in case you missed that class in medical school: While Chemotherapy kills cancer cells it does not make any difference between cancer cells and cells in general. It is „non-selective“, which is the biggest problem in Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy kills every cell that reproduces and this is what living matter is all about: Reproduction.
(BTW: Chemotherapy can be made to be more selective by combining it with herbal medicine. For those who, for some silly reason distrust everything Chinese: This has been proven in Isreal and published in English.)

But let us not dwell on the things left out. Why insist on Chinese herbs in cancer therapy? There might be other interesting things.
The medscape article on alternative cancer treatments starts promising enough:
“When it comes to treating cancer, „there are no magic bullets,“ we are admonished by a Dr. Rosenthal. “Patients need proper, evidence-based guidance to get the best possible care and to avoid risky treatments.”

This is deep. Is it not?
I do treat cancer patients and my heart goes out to everybody who is fighting a life threatening condition and to everybody who tries to be of service to them.
I respect serious criticism on the things I do- I understand that Chinese medicine and alternative treatments are healing arts that are still exotic for many people.

Lets read some more:
The Medscape article adds some really wise admonitions about cancer therapy not being entirely about reducing tumor size.
We are told that the well being of the patient is something to consider as well.
Now there’s a thought! This is even deeper than the thing about the magic bullets.
So how do we achieve this important well being of cancer patients?
We make fun of the things that actually help them feel better.  

The cancer treatment modalities picked out for that fun making purpose are:

  • exercise
  • acupuncture
  • massage therapy
  • sugar free diet
  • nutritional supplements
  • reiki
  • meditation.

As this is an American article it starts with a discussion on the benefits of exercise.
(In America everybody knows that exercise is good, as is drinking lots of water, taking at least seven kinds of supplements and always wearing sunscreen, even indoors)

And what do we find: Cancer patients who exercise live longer.
Brilliant. Again.

As it has been found that those who benefited most from exercise were those who burned 3000 calories a week, the even more brilliant conclusion is, that we must insist that our clients run or swim every day for one hour.
Yoga or other soft techniques that do not burn calories will not help, we are told.
Qi Gong, the most important soft technique in the treatment of cancer is of course left out.
But at least now I know why: It must be because people who practise Qi Gong as a form of cancer treatment tend to put on weight. Now terrible life threatening weight loss is one of the things cancer patients have to deal with- but, hey, weightloss is good!

So instead of teaching cancer patients Yoga or Qi Gong we put them on a threadmill while they get their Chemotherapy.
They actually do it. They even wrote it down. I did not make this up.

I certainly could have never come up with anything so clever: Let them save time while they still can.
This is absolutely brilliant.

Just a tiny word or two, seeing that for all the other treatments discussed later on so much importance is given to flawless study design:
Could it be, that the cohorts were biased? In other words: Is there a tiny bit of a possibility that people who vigorously run for one hour everyday are a bit more on the energetic side to begin with- Could it be, that they lived longer because they were more healthy and therefore more resistant to poisoning by Chemotherapy in the first place?
Just a thought.

What I am more perplexed about is how they managed the whole double-blindness thing. Double-blindness is very important in medicine. Double-blindness means that neither the patients nor the doctors know what is going on. Double-blindness is the most important criteria to decide on whether medicine is good medicine or bad medicine.
Good medicine is when everybody is ignorant about what is going on. Otherwise it is not science. This is exactly the problem with acupuncture. So I have been told for years.
Now: Did the jogging patients know, that they were exercising and did the doctors know too? In that case the studies are pretty useless- you know? How can people brilliant enough to put people on a threadmill while giving them Chemotherapy forget about something so simple as double-blindness?

There you go listing gazillions of studies proving the general wonderfulness of exercise in cancer treatment and every single one of these studies forgets about the basic rule on double-blindness.
On the other hand, when it comes to acupuncture you remember all too well:

“In a 2012 systematic review, researchers identified 15 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the efficacy of acupuncture for reducing cancer pain alone or in combination with analgesics.[12] Although acupuncture was no more effective at relieving pain than drug therapy, patients who received acupuncture alongside a pain medication reported significantly less discomfort compared with those who only received analgesics. Still, the authors could not draw firm conclusions about the pain-relieving benefits of acupuncture, given that most of the trials were poorly designed.”

The list goes on.
Many studies show that acupuncture really helps. Against nausea, vomiting, pain, heat flushes. It makes people feel better and sleep better.
But people knew that they were given acupuncture and the doctors knew that they were putting needles into patients. So all these findings must be discarded. And rightfully so:
How can acupuncture ever be taken seriously by the scientists if it is executed by people who know what they are doing.

Being myself an acupuncturist who always tries to know what she is doing I get a strong feeling of rejection. I feel left out. But, hey, this is science we are talking about. I should probably not take this too personally.

Worse is, that acupuncture, being a medical system that has survived and improved for millennia, seems to have gotten quite out of hand.  We try to treat everybody. What a pretension!

In the article a certain Dr Gorski points out: „If you have an intervention that claims to treat everything from infertility, headaches, back pain, and dry mouth from radiation, it is more likely a treatment that is good for nothing and simply relies on placebo effects. In my opinion, the evidence for acupuncture is weak, at best.“

Now infertility, headaches, back pain, and dry mouth from radiation are actually ailments that have been proven to be treated effectively with acupuncture, over and over again. We all know that these and many others are effectively cured with acupuncture.
But I can see how being able to do so many things, even if you can prove that you actually can do them, is simply preposterous.
Other medical systems, such as, say, Western medicine, would never go as far as claiming that they are in charge of nearly everything.

Massage therapy is the next therapy picked out to be made fun of by Medscape.  I learn that there are not so many studies to prove the effectiveness of massage therapy as there are for acupuncture. But I also learn, that this does not really matter because the studies on massage are as flawed as they are in acupuncture:  People know when they are being massaged and so does the therapist ( although, come to think of it, in China and in Japan many massage therapists ARE blind … ):

“The evidence in support of this practice, however, is mixed. Many studies report that massage alleviates a range of symptoms, including pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, and stress, but often the study methodology is flawed, making it difficult to provide definitive recommendations.”

Feeling better, getting well, being happier and more resilient is of no use in cancer therapy – you need to play by the rules and prove it. Right?
This is especially important as massage therapist seem to be such brutes as gentle Lisa Corbin, MD, has found: Potential harmful effects of massage range “from bruising to internal hemorrhaging, fracture, and increased pain or infection”.

I will stop here because I already learned so much about alternative cancer treatments. I am positively overwhelmed.

  • Instead of being ripped to pieces by a brutal massage therapist it is much gentler and also more scientific for cancer patients to sweat on a threadmill while receiving Chemotherapy by a blind doctor.
  • Qi Gong is useless because it does not burn 3000 calories a week which for some reason seems to be very important for cachectic (skinny) cancer patients.
  • And never, ever, take herbal medicine because herbs are drugs and only work for the Chinese.

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