What is the difference between Allopathy, Homeopathy and Ayurvedic medicens?

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience Archive' started by plakhapate, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    Of course. And I could go into a long essay about the relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Or get into the way psychotropics are doled out to both adults and children, often without the slightest bit of holistic thinking involved. There are individuals with problems in both groups. I think diversity in health practices is best for us. That we have a range of options. It is shifting, but this is an opinion that was not shared by the MDs for a long time and, well, still, by a rather large % of them. Most everyone I know who either practices alternative medicine or is a customer to it ALSO uses MDs on occasion. Diversity seems natural to them.

    This would need to be backed up by some sort of study. I like both massage and PT, though, of course, since you want to qualify anything positive about chiropractors, one should make qualifications about PTs and massage therapists who have their share of incompentents and quacks.

    Further I had a problem with my upper back that reduced my range of motion radically. I had approached it via massage and PT alone for a while, but the relaxation would last only a short time. I went to a chiropractor, got adjusted and then found that massage and PT stuck.

    I really dont care about their theories in relation to other diseases. Their theory sounds reasonable to me, but I have other alternative approaches I would use in relation to both prevention and treatment of disease. I use chiropracty in a very specific range of treatment and am happy with it.
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  3. kmguru Staff Member

    I have a theory that needs a lab environment to test it. The acupunture points could be the hiway intersection of various signal pathways. The silver needle could act as a conductor for those electrical signals that need to jump from one cell to the other but for whatever reason (too much salt, too little salt, semiconductors etc) can not pass freely. It is no different that pacemakers which is an active device where the needles are passive devices.

    It is just a theory....

    BTW: Some acupunturists use electrically charged (active) needles that uses a low current....wonder why?
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  5. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Unfortunately a common sense approach is not sufficient, this requires a scientific approach and therefore scientific evidence.

    As a doctor, you should realize that this is not true. The human body is very capable of healing itself and typically can do so with no intervention at all. Whether or not any particular treatment actually assists the body in healing is not so easily discerned as simply noting improvement.

    To date, no it isn't.

    Typically side effects are well known well in advance of the release of new medications (at least in the US which has a strict regulatory policy). Although there are such cases, particularly in regards to long term and contraindicated use, they are actually quite rare when considered against the number of new medicines that are released every year.

    Contrasted against unregulated alternative remedies of which almost nothing is known the picture could be very bleak. Fortunately, most alternative "medicines" are so ineffective they do almost nothing at all. There are, of course, some very sad exceptions, particularly when pharmaceutically active alternative remedies are proscribed by people who have no medical education.

    I have no quarrel with holism.

    In regards to the published studies:

    This is simply homeopathic apologetics, using an argument involving quantum physics to explain why the scientific method cannot find any positive effects for homeopathy. Apparently a double-blind study uncouples the effect of homeopathy.

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    Try reading the replies to the article, they are scathing. http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/eletters/4/1/7#103 The question is, if there are indeed studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of homeopathy, why bother with apologetics?

    Lots of junk here. I looked through 16 of the links. Here are the best that I could find, they're not great studies but they seem to be technically proper. It's pretty much what I expected.

    This one is the best outcome I was able to find all night. A subject group of 67 patients and a P of 0.043 is hardly convincing and certainly not enough to base a medical decision on but at least one study showed a statistically significant outcome for homeopathy.

    The rest, however, not so good.

    Worthless. This page refers to many studies but none of them are actually available.

    Lots of junk science here. But I weeded through and read 7 that seemed most promising. Here are the best:

    And that's it. Most of what I read were not even proper studies, there were a few that sounded interesting but the links provided none of the relevant data and thus I cannot make an analysis of them. But since all these links were from sites promoting homeopathy my assumption is that they would put up links to the best and most positive studies they could find. I'm sorry Dr. I'd be happy to read any better studies you can find but if this is the best my conclusion remains firm. There is no scientific evidence that homeopathy works.

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  7. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    I'm not against alternative medicines or practices. I use quite a few myself. However, there's a tremendous difference between acknowledging something like cranberry juice helps the body defeat a minor urinary tract infection or that chiropractic massage helps alleviate back pain and stating that herbal medicine or chiropracty in their entirety are suitable alternatives to medical care.

    For the purposes of this discussion you need to ignore the quacks, that's not what we're talking about. Besides, alternative medicine would lose by a landslide on that account and that's not a fair analysis.

    Here's the problem. We're discussing the validity of these different paradigms and practices. Upon what basis do we make this evaluation? Do we take it upon hearsay? Tradition? Popular opinion? Personal opinion? Clinical evidence? Anecdotal evidence? Philosophical ideology?

    I'm not saying that Chiropracty hasn't worked for you. And if it does, great, keep it up. But if we're discussing what these things really are, if they work, how they work... then I'll keep with my magic wand analogy. Wand waving works... but not because of the wand.

  8. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

  9. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    There are some things to consider. One, no two people's nerves are mapped out exactly the same. They're all a bit different. Therefore the locations would be different for everyone. Two, sticking a needle into the synapse between nerves would be an extraordinarily precise task as it's about a millionth of an inch. Actually, I don't think the needles are anywhere near small enough. Three, the synapses in vertebrates are almost entirely chemical, not electric.

    Electrical stimulation of the spinal or peripheral nerves inhibits pain. A method sometimes used by EBM. It 's temporary though and it probably doesn't fix anything (though I have some recollection about stimulating nerve growth but I don't recall anything other than experimental testing).


  10. Dr. Nancy Malik Medical Doctor Registered Senior Member

    Raithere: According to you, human body is capable of curing itself, homeopathy has no role. This is then equally true for allopathy.
  11. Simon Anders Valued Senior Member

    OK. I may have missed where this was suggested by someone.
    Much of what is today PT and massage therapy would have been 30 years ago been considered alternative medicine. It seemed to me you considered these good and chiropracty not good, or at least that we needed to acknowledge that there were quacks every time we brought up the subject of alternative medicine - that there were quacks. My point was that there are always quacks. Given that allopathic medical practitioners have tried to eliminate alternatives from the field of options the onus on them is greater. As I said before, I would use allopathic medicine in a variety of circumstances. I do however consider it a poor alternative as a base response. It will only be my first line of healing in emergency room type situations and when I want a diagnosis of a potentially life threatening or otherwise catastrophic disease. It will not always be my treatment choice after such a diagnosis.

    I want MD medications and often interventions need to be other-efforts-have-failed options because they are often damaging to the body and tend towards suppressing symptoms or replacing rather than supporting the body's efforts to get through a disease. This holds for over-the-counter medications which I think are in general very poor for the body.

    I am not here making a case that everyone should do this. I am however trying to point out that your above description of the choices is skewed. One can respect MDs and pharmaceutical companies' products as having merit, but also try to retrict their use to as small a range of situations as possible.

    We'll there is no 'we' I want to design and choice making process for. For me it is a mixture of evidence and intuition. This would be a bad process for some who have little of the latter or the ability to weigh the former. I am not trying to replace anything with anything for most people. Hell, I long ago gave up hoping they would stop letting their kids eat McDonald's food 4 or more times a week.

    This would mean you think my health and successes using alternative medicine is all placebo. To me this borders on religious belief on your part. Oddly enough the pharmaceutical companies think that traditional herbals are not simply relying on placebo effect or they would simply choose plants at random in the Amazon, for example, rather than following traditional healers around and further studying their processing techniques.

    Of course one must be skeptical. But this must be a broadly aimed skepticism. I aim my skepticism at both the accepted medical practices and the alternative ones. I find the former very naive about the side effects of their approach and what ongoing most promotes health as a baseline in a body.

    I mean those guys are still talking about H. Pylori as being THE CAUSE of GI ulcers. Rather than as an opportunist that benefits after the real causes have damaged the lining. It has just come out that H. Pylori protects children against asthma. Perhaps MDs will start to rethink about the issue and see H. Pylori as part of the healthy flora of our GI system and that other things are actually causal here. I use this one example to show the problems in the mentality there.

    A treatment plan that focuses on strengthening the body's ability to eject, rather than kill off, the opportunists, returning them to previous HEALTHY levels, and that supports the body's ability to heal the sores, and changes in diet and stress and so on, is vastly better than the magic bullet antibiotic cures, with all their attendant long term side effects for both the individual and public health in general.

    If some people want to go by the magic bullet approach, fine. I am just glad I have found other ways to deal with a variety of illnesses and medical problems, that do not weaken my body. Sounds like to some degree we are similar in this, though obviously there is a difference in degree.

    You have to understand that I am reacting to the members of a certain approach who have done all they could to eliminate choices and who have tended to shame, denigrate and mock people who have tried other approaches even for sub-acute ailments. Now there has been some shifting around this, especially in Europe and MDs are much more holistic and more will to collaborate with alternative practictioners or at least be open to patients using other methods. Rather than trying to make anyone who uses alternative approaches think they are being idiots who are throwing money at quacks. That last mentioned response has been wrongheaded and damaging and was rather irrational.

    I'll drop the discussion here.

    Thanks for sidestepping my early rancor in our posts to each other.
  12. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    No, that's not what I said. I said that simply noting that patients got better is not sufficient for determining whether a treatment had any beneficial effect. Analysis has to go a bit deeper than mere superficial observations and unless your using experimental methods and statistical analysis observation is no better than anecdotal evidence which is the basis of superstition, not science.


  13. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    and Raithere quoted:
    Water transport across cell walls is mediated by "water channels" through which plain, ordinary water molecules pass in single file (that is, unclustered) at a rate of around a billion per second.

    I am not endorsing any homeopathic claims, but not as sure as I was that they are all nonsense. This is because there may be stable structures of H2O complexs. I do not know that there are. Also it is true that the rate of formation of these complexes can be strongly increased by the presence of "substraights" - the catalytic effect.

    As far as Raithere's quote/reference is concerned, I did not already know of these "water channels" but certainly am not surprized. The walls of cells have many dozens, if not hundreds, of special structures that selectively either allow particular shapes, atoms or molecules (including ions) to enter the interior of the cell OR to bind to the exterior surface of the cell, as neurotransmitters do. (In this latter case it is mainly a shape that is selected.) Many, if not most, of the biologic effects of drugs do not need to enter the cell to change its activity or to even cause it to die.

    The firing of nerves is the sudden allowing of an influx of Na+ ions and if this occurs at "point A" (typically the nerve cell body near the axion) then adjacent parts of the axon also switch to allow the Na+ influx. Thus, not only do these special selective structures exist, but they can be dynamically selective! In the nerve impulse case this results in a "depolarization wave" rapidly running down the axion. What is occupying the specific sites is usually not as important as the fact they are occupied or empty. Thus many drugs with the shape of of natural molecules produce the same effects as the natural molecules even with no chemical reactions.

    If special stable shapes of H2O complexes do exist with shapes that resemble the natural molecules these selective sites have evolved to accept, then it is possible that water which has enhanced content of these particular special shape structures, could produce a biological respponse. I doubt this is the case, but I can now at least imagine how homeopathic agents could act. I sttrongly doubt that they do and certainly they can not replace any chemical need (such as iron or sodium etc.) of the body with an H2O complex.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2008
  14. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Simon, the basis of chiropracty is bunk. There is no factual basis to the theory that subluxations impede "life force". Therefore any chiropractor following only the tenets of chiropracty can only help you because some of the techniques they use accidentally have effects other than that which they intend. Unless they use the methods of EBM they cannot even diagnose what your problem is.

    I emphatically disagree with all but the last sentence here. EBM is the only method by which you can get an accurate diagnosis (and even that is not infallible). Undiagnosed by EBM, alternative treatments are simply a crapshoot even if we assume they are effective.

    If you're lucky you might be okay. But, for instance, back pain can be caused by serious medical issues that chiropracty cannot help. You could have a ruptured disk, a serious organ disease or disorder, or cancer. If you go to a chiropracter who is not trained in EBM diagnostics your disease could progress to a critical or terminal phase before you seek proper care.

    Any pharmaceutically active compound is going to have side effects, whether it is a prescription medication or an herbal concoction you purchased from a guru. This is one of my primary contentions with people's belief in alternative medicine (particularly that which is labeled as "natural"), this utterly fallacious belief that because it is relatively unprocessed and not manufactured that it is miraculously benign. In reality the only reason "natural" remedies tend to be benign is because they are typically inactive. (I'll give exception to dietary regulation and supplementation on a limited basis.)

    No, it's really not. Where alternative remedies can be shown to be effective and even sometimes superior to standard medicine I'm all for them. But choices should be made based upon facts, not erroneous beliefs. Where is the bias?

    No, I don't. It's very likely you get some benefit from your chiropracter's treatments. I simply contend that those benefits have nothing to do with the chiropractic model of disease.

    Herbal remedies are somewhat different. I don't entirely disagree with their use. There are, however, other considerations when using herbal remedies. For instance, dosage becomes a problem since there's no way to measure exactly what you're getting, as do the deleterious effects of the compounds in herbal remedies. This is especially problematic when multiple herbs are taken or when taken with pharmaceuticals. Particularly since the belief that they are benign leads patients not to reveal their use.

    In comparison to what? EBM does far more detailed research in this area than any alternative practice which relies primarily upon anecdote. In EBM, pharmaceuticals in particular, long range, detailed studies are performed to analyze exactly what the side effects are. Can you find me any such detail regarding alternative remedies? If not, whence comes the assumption?

    Please think about this example. You're describing scientific advancement. No one is stating that EBM is perfect and that it knows everything. Certainly it makes mistakes.

    However, one of the aspects of the scientific process is that the testing and integration of new information is inherent. It progresses with extreme rapidity and precision. Take for consideration, western medicine which has gone from a belief in noxious vapors and the 4 humors, through the germ theory of disease, and onto detailed understanding of viruses, bacteria, prions, neurological disorders, genetic disorders, etc, etc, etc. in a little over 100 years.

    Ayurvedic "medicine" still uses bloodletting as a method for eliminating toxins for godsake! Chiropracty is based in the belief of vitalism. And homepathy was conceived in 1807 (from a basis in that period's western medicine I might add) from pure speculation of a "law of similars" and " "spirit-like medicinal powers". All of these are utterly unfounded beliefs once common practice in "western" medicine and since disproven and rejected by it.

    Considering these facts, how can you assert that it is EBM that is the practice that is narrow minded and naive when many of the founding precepts and treatments used by these alternative practices were once part of "western" medicine only to be disproven and discarded or improved upon?

    Hey, I'm all for this. You might want to take a check though and make sure your reaction hasn't led you into the same mistakes made by the medical community of false belief and prejudice. By my account you have an overly narrow view of standard "western" medicine and a loosely accepting view of alternative practices.

    One last comment, I touched on this but I would like to make it explicit. If a practice, herb, or treatment can be scientifically demonstrated to have a beneficial medical use and a positive effect for patients EBM has, does, and will acknowledge and incorporate it. If a formerly accepted practice is demonstrated to be ineffective or harmful it is excised. This seems to me a very open and rational approach. I don't see the same type of acceptance or self-correction built in to these other paradigms. Do you?

  15. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Why do you need to invent a mechanism for something that does not occur? We can postulate upon the physical properties of fairy dust that allows children to fly. But wouldn't you first want to see the flying children?

  16. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I was completely sure that homepathic medicine was just placebo effect as water had no way to store the effects of some agent later removed by many dilutions. I only now admit that there may be a remotely possibility that such a mechanism may exist - not that homeopatic medicine has any demonstrated effect, not explained by placebo effect.

    Some double blind confirming data would be required to make me agree that it has. I know of none, but now think one cannot be certain that such a test is only a waste of money. I think a test of "flying pixy dust" is very cheap by comparison, but would not want to spend even that small amount to test it.
  17. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    I can understand and agree with investigatory research into the structure of water leaving open the possibility that such structures might have some utility. But to make the assumption that this somehow warrants additional research into homeopathy is nonsensical.

  18. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    Ok there is a formal debate on this topic proposed and accepted

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    If anyone else wishes in the debate will start Sat or sunday (depending when i get around to setting up the other 2 threads

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  19. funkstar ratsknuf Valued Senior Member

    Was the water, sorry, "homeopathic treatment", labeled 'P.O.S. 51', by any chance?

    Here's a question to Dr. Nancy Malik: Why does the water you start out with apparently not have any memory? I mean, I'm pretty sure that the tap water I'm currently drinking is an extremely dilute version of, say, the poisoned ground water near Chernobyl. Why haven't I died from radiation poisoning?

    In fact, it's a given that the water you start with will always invariably be contaminated with something that would be horrible in large doses - why are there no effects from that in homepathic treatments?

    Also, if I were to dilute my beer down to the "one active molecule pr. solar system size water droplet" that homepathy claims are the most effective solutions, why do I not get insanely drunk drinking it?
  20. kmguru Staff Member

    To make matters worse, in homeopathy, most traditional dose is either made from alcohol or lactose (one glucose molecule linked to a galactose molecule). Here is the preparation description by an american shop

    An example - Cuprum is made from copper, but we don't get a penny from the mint & drop it in the mortar & grind away. What we use is pure copper ground as fine as talcum. We then grind (triturate) one part of that in 9 parts lactose for 4 hours to make the 1x (the 1c is made using 99 parts lactose). One part of the 1x is then ground for four hours with 9 parts lactose - the result is 2x. In order to convert (Cuprum) to dilution we must triturate (grind) it through the same serial method until we reach 8x. One part of the 8x is dissolved in 4.5 parts water - once dissolved 4.5 parts ethyl alcohol is added and succussed. The result is a 9x. To go to a 10x, the 9x is succussed in a 1:9 (10x to alcohol). Succussion is done in a corked vial which is struck 25 times hard against the palm.

    Aside - In England 10 succussions is mimimum while in Cuba 100 succussions are used.
  21. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    DAMN it. Now you tell me! I slammed it two dozen times into a pillow. I guess that is why it failed to do anything.

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    :bawl: :shrug:
  22. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    It was a long time ago and I did not pay attention to the labels as I was in the middle of a crisis at the time. But he gave me some pills which he said were carriers for some essence, which I suppose may have been the water. For me the most important evidence that it works is that it did. :shrug:

    I guess it makes a difference being an Indian, we do a lot of things because of tradition. We've used turmeric, onion and garlic as health foods for several hundred years before anyone figured out why its a good anti-carcinogen; we prepared our traditional meals in 2:3 pulse:cereal mixtures before anyone told us they were ideal amino acid combinations, we eaten fennel after meals long before anyone told us it was good for digestion. There are many things we do that we have had passed down to us from so long ago that no one even remembers why we do it, just that we do. We've adopted homeopathy probably because of that mindset, its VERY popular in India even among medical practitioners.
  23. Myles Registered Senior Member

    It's people like you who get homeopathy a good name.

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