Friday, 14 March 2014

Alternative therapies

Writing about cupping got me thinking about all the alternative therapies for CF that I've looked into over the years. I have phases where I look up what the alternative medicine world has to offer and to see if they have discovered a cure and forgot to tell people about it. I have yet to find one.

Yes, there are blogs out in the blogosphere about people treating their CF through oils and herbal supplements. There will always be one person on the Internet who says the latest thing has worked on them (not surprisingly, a lot of them are then willing to sell you the product). Reading their stories wants me to abandon all of my pharmaceutical medication just like them and start drinking salt or silver (yes people do this) or whatever it may be. That is, until I read that the person has a lung function of 80% (mine is 24%). So perhaps it does work for that person but I can't even remember when I had 80% lung function. Are the persons lungs at 80% because they drink the stuff or do they just happen to have a different type of CF that does not require as much medication?

CF can be so varied from person to person as the disease presents so differently in each individual. Some people get more lung issues, others more digestive issues, the lucky ones get hit with both. So if someones lungs are healthier to start off, often the less invasive treatments will be all that is required to maintain that level of health. To say that a treatment that helped someone with a lung function of 80% is going to help my poor 24% lungs would be absurd. And that is part of the problem with looking at these alternate therapies on the Internet. One case study is not going to sway me when the scientific studies have shown results that are not statistically significant. 

The problem with Internet research is that people are often very passionate when they find alternative method that works for them. I have yet to find a blog where the person said how much they loved their Symbicort puffer and how much it changed their life. However, there are quite a few blogs when people talk about how much Reiki treatments, Himalayan salt, colloidal silver, or an oil concoction increased their lung function by an almost unbelievable amount. I can't see anyone passionately blogging about their puffers (perhaps that will be a topic of mine next week) even though the majority of people with CF use them as a treatment. 

The Internet can be a great equalizer when trying to find information which is not always a good thing. People with an opinion about a topic can make a website that seems as credible as a medical researcher who is writing about the latest studies. There is so much information available that it is hard to decipher what is true in the depths of Google. I tend to skew on the side of being skeptical until I have talked to a health professional who can give me their opinion about the topic. They have the expertise and have talked to way more people than me to know about the latest therapies.
Before you start telling me all about how the evil pharma companies have control over everything, let me just say that I am not anti-alternative therapies. But I am also not anti-pharma companies either. Pharmaceuticals are the only reason I'm alive. I sit somewhere in the middle where I think that well researched medicine and treatments are absolutely necessary but that, of course, exploring other options can be beneficial. In the same way that drinking a lot of water, sleeping well, and eating non or low-processed food is beneficial. Helpful for overall health but not enough for me to abandon my puffers or powerful aerosol masks.

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