This Can Only Go Well: Alternative Medicine Edition 

I’ve been pondering this post for a very long time.

I kind of touched on it in my previous post, but let’s just open the ol’ can of worms right up now. And since I really need you to hear me on this I’ll do my level best to be kind and diplomatic so you catch the overall moral of the story.

Cross your fingers and say a prayer, here we go.

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: this includes but is not limited to: essential oils, homeopathy, and many vitamin supplements.

I’m not a fan.

On more than one level.

1. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but it doesn’t work. Anecdotal evidence (e.g. “this cured my grandma’s psoriasis!”) to the contrary, alternative medicine claims don’t actually hold up in the laboratory. And the odd bit of alternative medicine that does perform well and consistently in experiments & peer-reviewed studies then moves on to being referred to as MEDICINE.

Anything less than that moves on to being hawked in ‘health food’ stores, online, and by…

2. Salesmoms & direct sales companies.

I am aware that ‘natural’ is seen as the best option by default, and that everybody is ‘informed’ now thanks to the internet. Except hard facts and truth don’t matter, only perception; whoever is loudest and makes the flashiest (not necessarily accurate) claims, wins.

Essential oils have an amazing PR team.

Now. If you want to sell and share alternative medicines and such amongst your relatively healthy selves that’s fine. However, unless they express real interest on their own, you would be wise and actually MORE thoughtful to leave the people with actual serious illnesses to the actual medical professionals.

Two reasons:

A: if you want a chronically ill friend to question why you wanted to be their friend in the first place, try to sell them some alternative medicine. Realistically, it’s hard to believe your motives are purely compassionate and helpful when you stand to profit off of your sick friend’s shitty health, correct?

If nothing else it is an amazingly efficient way to kill a relationship.

B: Fact: every time I go for my medication, the nurse asks me if I’m also treating myself with anything else. FOR A REASON.

Sincerely, thank you for wanting to help, Becky*, but I have to turn down your offer to try your ‘oil for that’ – you don’t even know the shitshow it could cause…

Also fact: Many of the big-gun medications to treat serious illnesses don’t necessarily interact well or badly with alternative medicines… but patients can’t assume that they’re allowed to test that out on their own, either. Big-gun medication companies often have zero patience for people ‘personalizing’ their treatment without permission. I have seen people be refused their big-gun medication when the nurse found out they were also treating themselves with an alternative medicine (and no I’m not giving you details).

‘Taking charge of your own health’ has very real limits and consequences in certain cases.

Personally, I’m not going to mess with what’s working. I won’t risk it. ‘What’s working’ is a highly controlled big-gun prescription medication that is getting very real, measurably fantastic results. And it was not that easy to get on – I had to have bad results with two other big-gun meds, my neurologist had to apply for permission from the drug company for me to be on this (literally. She couldn’t just prescribe it), and I had to wait a month or two until my medical insurance powers-that-be had a meeting and went over my records and MRIs and decided that they would pay thousands of dollars a month for it.

Umm.. hell YEAH, I’m gonna be a good, compliant patient.

Now. I’m aware that some people may be upset by this post. As in, you were mad back when I said alternative medicine doesn’t work – you KNOW better, don’t you? You have all this anecdotal evidence: specific, heartwarming tales and examples. You’ve been to workshops and seminars and have SEEN it (maybe/probably/absolutely likely) work, dammit, and your group leader swears by it and there’s no way you’ll hear anybody say otherwise.

Which is fine. If anecdotal evidence is all you need to believe, light it up. But don’t expect me to respond well to it and don’t expect others to necessarily believe along with you. Allow us to politely turn you down – don’t hound us and for Pete’s sake don’t tag us on Facebook pages.

Although I feel alone when I speak ‘out loud’ like this, I doubt I’m the only one who is tired of friendships being sacrificed by ‘well-meaning’ salesmoms and people who ‘feel’ a certain therapy would help when they have no medical training, no clue of (nor right to ask about) my medical history, and no idea the potential consequences of what they’re suggesting.

…I could have been a smidge kinder and more diplomatic, but otherwise..

Sorry/not sorry. As in, I’m truly sorry if you’re hurt or offended and are among the vaaast majority of salesmoms who politely respect their friends’/customers’ choices. This was not for you. I’m also NOT sorry because there are some super-pushy salesmoms/zealots who needed to hear that their behaviour is not okay. Some things are simply waaaaayy beyond the scope of alternative medicine; to unscrupulously insist on relentlessly pushing it only reflects badly on you.

❤️ Sue


*Becky is not the real person’s name.

3 thoughts on “This Can Only Go Well: Alternative Medicine Edition 

  1. Pingback: This Can Only Go Well: LGBTQ edition – Susan Bott Dietz – I Know This Much Is True

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