alternative treatments

  1. The battle against PTSD

    Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are routinely pumped full of antipsychotic drugs. And as most of them will tell you (in language I can't use here), those drugs aren't doing a darn thing for them.

    And now there's research to back them up -- and it's not all in their head.

    Researchers randomly assigned 247 combat vets who were suffering from PTSD to either the antipsychotic medication Risperdal (aka risperidone), or a placebo, for six months.

    In both groups, only 5 percent of veterans had a complete recovery. In both groups, between 10 percent and 20 percent showed some modest improvement. And in both groups, the vets reported similar scores for depression, anxiety, and quality of life.

    In other words, the study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that this "powerful" drug has all the power of a sugar pill.

    But while the vets who took the drug didn't get any relief, they did get a few other things: side effects such as weight gain and fatigue, including an extreme level of fatigue known as somnolence.

    While the study only involved Risperdal, the researchers say they believe similar antipsychotic drugs -- including Seroquel, Geodon, and Abilify -- will prove to be every bit as useless.

    Fortunately, our soldiers don't have to wait for Big Pharma to answer the call when it comes to PTSD. The U.S. military itself has been quietly investigating some of the best alternative treatments, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, fish oil, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and acupuncture.

    And the early word from many veterans who've tried these treatments has been encouraging (and printable).

    Some of the most promising research involves acupuncture, with medics in the field even using the needles to treat the traumatic brain injuries.

    Back on the homefront, research on the technique for PTSD itself is under way right now.

    In one small recent study, veterans suffering from PTSD who were given either acupuncture or group cognitive-behavioral therapy for 12 weeks had significant improvements when compared to a control group. The benefits lasted for full three months after treatment.

    Obviously, we need more studies to ensure these treatments really do work -- but since we now know for sure that drugs don't, let's stop wasting time and give veterans the real thanks they deserve.

    Let's get them healed.

  2. Homeopathic medicine under assault

    Some people are blind, while others just refuse to see.

    Unfortunately, many in the medical mainstream aren't just blind to alternative treatments--they refuse to see, and some comments in the British press show just what we're up against.

    The British Medical Association's junior doctors committee has called homeopathy--the entire field--"witchcraft" and a "disgrace," and wants the government to deny all funding and access to homeopathic treatments.

    They also declared that there's no scientific evidence in support of homeopathy... turning a blind eye to a wide body of work to the contrary. If you'd like to see what I'm talking about, take a look at the studies listed on the Web site of the National Center for Homeopathy.

    There are hundreds of studies here--high-quality papers published in the world's leading medical journals, and many of these papers found homeopathic treatments that really and truly had some effect that can't be explained by the placebo response.

    This isn't witchcraft--this is science.

    One 2005 study looked at homeopathic treatments for chronic diseases, including allergic rhinitis in men, headaches in women and atopic dermatitis in children. The researchers concluded that "disease severity and quality of life demonstrated marked and sustained improvements following homeopathic treatment period."

    That one, ironically, was published in BMJ--the British Medical Journal. You'd think the British Medical Association's junior doctors would pick that up from time to time.

    Many of studies on homeopathic treatments end with the researchers saying more study is needed--it's repeated so regularly it starts to sound like a plea. Of course, that will never happen as long as Big Pharma keeps its chokehold on medical research.

    In fact, it's amazing that these studies were ever published at all.

    But let's get back to the "witchcraft" thing, which only shows that some powerful forces in the mainstream have no interest in having a real discussion here.

    You have to ask yourself: What are they so afraid of? Is it the fact that millions of people already swear by homeopathic treatments? Or is it the threat to their livelihoods as more people discover that the mainstream really doesn't have all the answers after all?

    The truth is, mainstream medicine is governed by far more guesswork than most people realize--and in an honest moment, even many doctors will admit that.

    After all, most doctors today don't heal or cure. They simply look for symptoms, then find a drug or two to match. If those drugs don't work, they throw in a few more prescriptions... or maybe we should call them "potions."

    And if those don't work... well, magic spells may not be next on their list--but if Big Pharma was selling them, you know they would be.

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