Trust Science & Medicine? Not Always and Never Blindly

There are so many things we don’t know about the human body and how it works. If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that the immune system is still not as well understood as we thought it was. In a study summarized in the Conversation, the immune system was found to be as unique to each person as their finger prints.

That could help to explain why things that work for one person, may not work for another.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

In my own life, I have seen some pretty amazing results from “non-traditional” medicine, which really means, medicine and treatment your Western doctor will scoff at.

When I was in my late 20s, I suffered from a near constant yeast infection. I did all the over the counter remedies and even the specialty prescribed ones from my GP. It would go away for a while but it always came back, especially when I was under stress. Most of the time it wasn’t terrible – just inconvenient and annoying. I thought it was just one of those things that women had to suffer. (As if bleeding every month and the attendant mood swings were not enough! Sheesh.)

After we moved to a small town, I got to know my neighbours and it turned out that one of them was a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, whatever that was! Leslie told me that she had trained in Britain at one of the best schools there. In desperation one day, I made an appointment and went in to see her.

The Trouble With You is – Shin Pains?

She had a tiny office and after ushering me in, asked me the most detailed series of questions you can imagine. One of the questions was, “Do you have pains in your shins?”

Now, I had often suffered from these crazy shooting pains going up my shins but thought they were in my imagination or from overuse or something. This seemed like a bizarre question, considering what I had actually come in for and I said so. She pulled out a diagram of the human body. According to Chinese practitioners, everything was connected along lines where “life force” flowed, called Chi.

To Say I was Skeptical Was an Understatement

Determined to go through with this visit, I remained polite as she mixed up some herbal concoction and gave me instructions to drink some in a glass every morning. It cost all of $5. She warned me that it tasted terrible but that I should ensure I drank all the nasty bits at the bottom of the glass, too.

This I did. The first day I barely choked it down. It was disgusting but I realized that the symptoms of my yeast infection were nearly gone. I thought it was due to the placebo effect so I kept up the herbal drink.

By the third or fourth day, the herbal drink actually began to taste not too bad at all. It’s amazing what you can get used to. My yeast infection had not returned but I finished out the 7 day regimen as instructed.

When I ran out of the mixture, I called her back and asked for more. The line got quiet and she said, “You don’t still have the yeast infection, do you?”

“No,” I admitted, “that went away on the first day but I don’t want it to come back!”

She explained that my Chi was now balanced and I didn’t have to do anything else. It wasn’t like Western medicine where you continually need to rely on a drug for relief.

A Small Miracle

I watched nervously for a return of my yeast infection. 30 years later, it has never resurfaced. Even after all the stress I’ve been through over the past 8 years – nothing. A small miracle.

I have been extremely lucky with my health over the years and rarely suffer from anything. Part of this might be because of my decision to become a vegetarian when I was 18. I think that has helped my body by not putting so much stress on my digestive system. Truthfully, digesting meat was never easy for me and I don’t miss it. I have lived with someone with a chronic autoimmune disease, however, and have seen what it is like to live with constant pain. I am truly grateful for my health.

The Bane of Crossed-eyes

One thing I have trouble with sometimes, though, is my eyesight, which has been very poor since I was 8 years old. A really bizarre and new symptom occurred when I was in my 40s: I felt like I was cross-eyed. I could see my nose constantly and, working at the computer – which I had to do every day – was tough. My eyes would go blurry and it was nearly impossible to see the screen by the end of the day. My optometrist could find nothing wrong.

I thought I would just have to live with it.

One day I went to a chiropractor for something unrelated and during the visit I mentioned my eye problem. He pulled out a chart showing the human body – not unlike the Chinese version – and showed me all the various symptoms that could arise whenever the spine was out of alignment. Sure enough, way up in the neck area was a list of eye trouble. Again, I was skeptical. How could my cross-eyes possibly be related to a vertebra out of place?

You can guess the rest. I had the adjustment and within seconds had relief from something that had troubled me for months. Was this the placebo effect? I don’t care. The relief was real.

Chinese Acupuncture? Seriously?

Another time I got tennis elbow from playing too much tennis. (I want to be clear here – I am NOT a good tennis player at all and was probably holding the racket incorrectly! Mostly, we would see how many times we could get the ball over the net and did not properly keeping score.)

The ache in my elbow got so bad that it would wake me up at night. That’s when I remembered acupuncture. My ex had been to see one, among his many attempts to relief the symptoms of his condition, and I thought I might as well try it.

Lucky for me, we have in our town an actual Chinese doctor, although she is not allowed to practise as a doctor here in Canada. I went in to see her.

Her clinic is in the front of her house and her husband, who speaks very little English, runs the clinic for her. They are both favourites of mine as they are practical people without any pretense about them. The acupuncture sessions are 50 minutes long and very peaceful – many people fall asleep. They always offer music, Western or Chinese. I once made the mistake of asking for Chinese. Oy! The notes are so discordant to the usual way I hear music that I was jarred constantly! Still, it was interesting and I may ask for it again.

My tennis elbow cleared up within a few sessions, as she told me it would. She explained that if symptoms come on suddenly, they will clear up with acupuncture quickly. For chronic conditions, it takes longer and there is less chance of success.

And for Stress, No Less!

When my life was falling apart I went to see her again. I told her I was under tremendous stress and there really wasn’t any one specific thing, except I couldn’t seem to remember anything. She nodded and got to work with the needles. She placed one right in the top of my head and it felt like steam escaping from a kettle. Sweet relief!

I credit her acupuncture treatments to my ability to stay sane during that year.

Taking Advantage of the Desperate

Not all alternative practitioners are so good or so benign. I have watched as my husband, desperate for any kind of relief, tried things that were downright harmful and cost us thousands of dollars. He has been to a sadistic rolfer and a man who I can only describe as a charlatan.

This guy prescribed such a limited diet for my ex that he angered me. It was onerous and unbalanced but, because we were paying so much, I dutifully cooked and fed it to my husband as directed. His theory was that nearly everyone was suffering from “Candida overgrowth” which caused all their symptoms.

When we went back to see him, a drive of several hours, I stayed out in the car because I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut. One of his staff came out to get me after some time. They said my husband still exhibited signs of Candida and thought I must be passing it back to him. This was after several months of the diet and hundreds of dollars spent on their remedies.

Candida? What Candida?

I dutifully went into the clinic and they placed two silver rods into my hands and hooked me up to the candida measurement machine. Now, I will admit to you that I had been on a bread binge for days before that, unbeknownst to my husband, so I was very nervous. Because the diet specified absolutely no wheat, I had been sneaking around with buns behind his back.

They told me that over 99% of the population had candida overgrowth. I, apparently, was not one of them. They couldn’t believe it and tested me again. Nothing. Triumph!

Later I realized that it might have been because Leslie had balanced my Chi!

A few days after that visit, as I served supper, I looked across the table at my husband and saw that in addition to losing an unhealthy amount of weight (he was never overweight to begin with), his jaw hung and he looked exhausted. “This is bullshit!” I cried, “I’m feeding you a steak!” For someone who worked physically outdoors every day like he did, that diet was not helpful at all.

I will only add that the practitioner died a few short years after that, while in his 40s. They never could say what was wrong with him but he was very overweight and in a wheelchair the last time we saw him.

Chinese Medicine – 2,200 Years of Practice

Western medicine is a fairly new invention, generally becoming more civilized about 200 years ago. A good surgeon, in the 1800s, was one who could perform an amputation within seconds because there were no anesthetics. Here is an account from the Atlantic of one of the most famous practitioners, Dr. Robert Liston:

“Occasionally, Liston’s speed and showmanship actually were a hindrance to his operations. Once, he took a patient’s testicles off along with the leg that was being amputated. His most famous (and possibly apocryphal) mishap was the operation where he was moving so fast that he took off a surgical assistant’s fingers as he cut through a leg and, while switching instruments, slashed a spectator’s coat. The patient and the assistant both died from infections of their wounds, and the spectator was so scared that he’d been stabbed that he died of shock. The fiasco is said to be the only known surgery in history with a 300 percent mortality rate.”

The Original Pharmacists

Herbs, plant lore, and remedies have mostly been administered by women as healers for centuries. Sadly, women were excluded from the new medical schools and even persecuted as witches so much of their traditional knowledge and contribution to Western medicine was lost. In the new universities from 1700 on, much of what was learned was by experimentation and, I would argue, that tradition continues to this day.

I am not sure where the culture of the arrogant male physician who refuses to believe you and dismisses you out of hand came from. But even other physicians have had a tough time getting their message across. In 1840, a physician and scientists named Semmelweis tried to get his co-workers to wash their hands before attending women in the maternity ward but he was ridiculed. These attending physicians had often just come from an autopsy, bringing their equipment with them. You can imagine the mortality rate for the poor mothers and their babies!

Repercussions of Bad Medical Practitioners

When a physician does not hear their patients and dismisses their complaints, the consequences can be deadly for the patient and affect a family for generations. Take my cousin, for example. After the birth of her third child, she felt more than just exhausted – she could barely function. Over and over again she complained to her doctor but was told she had post-partum depression and sent home.

One night when her baby was six months old, her heart stopped beating. While her husband and the EMT’s managed to revive her, she was never the same. That was when we found out that a congenital heart condition runs in our family called Long QT Syndrome. Basically, it is a problem with the electrical system of the heart.

I saw her and her family once afterwards and her husband told me that she could no longer cook a meal for her family or do other complicated tasks. To me, it was like she was a black and white photocopy of the joyful cousin I once knew. She died a few years later.

Never Question Your Doctor

We are told to trust in medical professionals, who usually do not know us or have the time to listen to us. Most have been indoctrinated by training paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. Here is an excerpt from Bad Pharma: how drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients published in the National Centre for Biotechnical Information:

“The second main theme is criticism of the marketing culture of the pharmaceutical companies, its intrusion into medical education, its powerful influence on prescribing patterns, and the complicity of scientists, doctors and even regulators, in supporting it. It is a well-known, but still startling, fact that companies spend about twice as much on marketing as they do on research and development of new drugs. And much of what is done in the name of research is in fact undertaken for marketing purposes, though disguised as science.”

 I write extensively on this here: SPIT OUT THE BLUE PILL: How Big Pharma Funds Research & Nearly Everyone Except You is Making Money Off It and here: Big Pharma Pays for the Science & They Don’t Care if You Live or Die.

Never Question “The Science”

“Trust the Science!” vaccination proponents cry, as if those of us who remain skeptical are somehow backward.  In modern day, new pharmaceutical trials are funded by the very companies who stand to profit if the drugs are brought to market. Is it any wonder that we have disasters like Thalidomide or Opioids? (Still inclined to trust the science? Read this: Unethical practices within medical research and publication – An exploratory study | International Journal for Educational Integrity | Full Text (

According to “Understanding Science” Berkeley:

“The knowledge that is built by science is always open to question and revision. No scientific idea is ever once-and-for-all “proved.” Why not? Well, science is constantly seeking new evidence, which could reveal problems with our current understandings. Ideas that we fully accept today may be rejected or modified in light of new evidence discovered tomorrow.”

Do Your Own Research

I am not saying that pharmaceutical medicines don’t have their place – they do. My ex could not function without NSAIDs. There have also been “wins” in modern medicine, like the treatment of childhood leukemia. What I am saying is that it is important to be able to assess the risks and benefits as they apply to your own situation without being chastised or ostracized for your decisions. Sometimes the “cure” is worse than the original disease and just not worth it.

I also think that for “modern” practitioners, to discredit and ridicule every other methodology is, to use my latest favourite new word, pure hubris.

Make Your Own Decisions

Accepting a new intervention from the medical industrial complex without question is pure folly. It ignores the fact that “the science” is only as good as we know it at this point in time. An intelligent person will look at their age, their history, and any co-morbidities before going on to make their decision around vaccinating for Covid. It takes some digging to find the numbers of people that have been harmed by vaccination but no more time or effort than researching the purchase of a TV or appliance. If they find that their own odds of falling seriously ill or dying are greater due to their co-morbidities, they might make the decision to take the new vaccination. But the decision should be theirs to make.

“First, do no harm,” Hippocrates said. He didn’t say “as little harm as possible,” he said, “NO harm.” I’m with Hippocrates and cautious by nature. If someone is trying to sell me something, I take their claims of how great it is with a grain of salt and a giant dose of skepticism. I will do everything in my power to increase my odds of surviving a bout of Covid, such as eating vegan, but given my age and history, it makes no sense for me to submit to an unproven treatment.

Long Covid = Vaccination Side Effects?

In my research, I have noticed that the symptoms for “Long Covid” in those unvaccinated who get Covid naturally are very much like the strange symptoms and side effects reported by many people who have had one or another vaccine for Covid.

The BBC reported in late January 2022, “Over the past year, scientists like Brundin have been concerned by the emergence of a small handful of case studies describing patients who have developed what doctors term acute Parkinsonism – abnormalities such as tremors, muscle stiffness, and impaired speech – following Covid-19 infection.”

These symptoms are remarkably similar to the ones reported by some people after vaccination. Of course, these are generally not reported in the media and any Facebook pages are systematically taken down. You can watch videos of people who have had reactions after vaccination to see for yourself, here:  

What is heartbreaking is that these people feel like they are not being taken seriously by their doctors and even shunned by society. No one really wants to know because not taking the vaccine brands you as “other” and limits you from going to restaurants, watching your kid play hockey, or travelling. Imagine doing what society and your government told you was “right” and then suffering with horrendous symptoms and being ignored when you tried to get help?

Governments & Media Hide the Truth

How can someone make an informed decision when crucial information about potential vaccine side effects is hidden from them? When most of the research has been paid for by the very companies who stand to profit – the greatest conflict of interest we’ve ever seen in modern times? How can governments brag about how many people have had the vaccine when most of those people have been coerced into doing so? I find this shameful – especially since there’ll be no suing Pfizer and friends if anything  goes wrong.

In the old world of two years ago, my decision would be respected with a shrug. That’s all I ask.


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