Animal’s Daily Alternative Medicine News

Before we start, check out my latest over at Glibertarians; this week we take a look at the Gold Standard of over/under shotguns, the Browning Superposed.

Now then:  I stumbled across this recently, an interesting piece on people taken in by the various types of “alternative medicine” woo that is offered to the rubes, but I think the author misses one crucial point.  Excerpt:

The alternative medicine industry is enormous and growing. In 2019, it generated an estimated global revenue of approximately 69 billion USD. According to the last broad survey conducted by the US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), from 2012, “natural products” are the most popular form of alternative medicine in America, a survey category comprised largely of supplements such as herbs, vitamins, and probiotics. 17.7 percent of survey respondents used natural products. Mind-body practices were next in popularity, including deep breathing (10.9 percent), yoga/tai chi/qi gong (10.1 percent), chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation (8.4 percent), meditation (8.0 percent), and so forth.

And who primarily is taking all this ginseng and doing all this meditation? Overwhelmingly it is women. A secondary analysis of the data collected in the 2012 NCCIH survey indicated that women were about three times more likely than men to use alternative medicine. Compared to people who do not use alternative medicine, users were more likely to be “female, reside in the Midwestern or Western USA, be non-Hispanic White, have a bachelor degree or higher, have higher personal earnings, be married or living with a partner, and have greater family spending on medical care.” This general profile was consistent across the literature. For example, a 2018 study researching links among alternative medicine-use, conventional cancer treatment refusal, and overall survival, noted that users were more likely to be female, of higher socioeconomic status, and better educated. In addition, they were more likely to be younger and to have private health insurance.

In other words, these were women with options: largely white, middle-class women. Unlike many women in developing countries who do not have access to science-based medicine, and are forced to rely on low-tech natural options (and suffer the health consequences), the women who use alternative medicine in the West do not need to, they choose to. Is this necessarily a bad thing? The answer is Sometimes.

(Gwyneth, are you listening?)

Here’s the onion:

The story of Kate Callaghan, a New Zealand-based nutritionist, also illustrates the limits of “empowerment” as a helpful concept when it comes to terminal illness. Callaghan was yet another attractive, powerful, intelligent A-type woman (what I was beginning to recognize as a recurring breast cancer type) who had the misfortune of being diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. She died in June of this year, at 36 years old, just seven months after her diagnosis.

Callaghan seemed to be the last person one would expect to get cancer. She branded herself “the Holistic Nutritionist,” and was also a personal trainer and lifestyle coach, “specialising in hormone healing.” She cohosted a podcast and had written a book on the topic, becoming interested in it after successfully overcoming her own hormone-based amenorrhea and infertility. Her online presence, including her Instagram account, is liberally sprinkled with the jargon of the 21st century alternative medicine industry, using words like “wellness,” “empowerment,” “holistic,” and “detoxification.” After going through her social media, and listening to some of her podcasts, I was struck by the fact that here was yet another instance of a younger woman with terminal breast cancer who seemingly believed she could cure herself through a masochistic “health and wellness” routine.

The common thread here seems to be that these people – these women, to be honest, and it seems like women are, for whatever reason, more easily taken in by this horseshit – are already involved in various “wellness” and other kinds of New-Agey horseshit.

(Gwyneth, are you listening?)

It would be interesting, maybe revealing, to see the political inclinations of the women named in this article; to me, with my own biases and experiences, it seems intuitive that if one believes in things like income and wealth being “distributed” rather than created and earned, or that a society can tax and spend its way to prosperity, or that Western civilization today is a hotbed of “systemic racism,” well, then, shit, you’ll believe almost anything.

But the main takeaway from this piece is a sad one.  The people profiled aren’t morons, they are possessed of functioning brains, and yet they are taken in by pure horseshit and it is, in many cases, literally killing them.  And that’s just too bad, no matter what their political inclinations.

(Gwyneth, are you listening?)