In 2003 I wrote an oversized 753-page book entitled Healing without Medication. I intended it as a comprehensive guide to treating over 300 health conditions when pharmaceutical intervention simply wasn't possible. I was pleased to learn that it wound up on the desks of doctors in Central Africa and in medical schools in the Middle East, and that it reached about 800,000 readers in the United States. However, I've never really been anti-Pharma. I'm simply pro-health.
Minimal Medication is my follow-up to Healing without Medication. This book assumes that medicine is available, but it is priced beyond reach, or burdened by side effects, or sometimes simply not the optimal solution to a medical problem. Nothing in this book presumes that readers don't want to avail themselves of every healing tool in their medicine cabinets and their care providers' repertoire, just that sometimes, more often than not, a holistic approach is the optimal approach to dealing with a health condition.
Like Healing without Medication, Minimal Medication relies on the evidence provided by thousands of clinical trials. Unlike Healing without Medication, Minimal Medication does not list thousands of references. I've only included a few links to studies that provide actionable information. In both books, I've been careful to distinguish what's "anecdotal" and what's "scientific."
I've never supposed that the current scientific model is the only way to determine truth about health interventions. Since about 1980, mainstream medicine has embraced on those new treatments that have received favorable evaluation
in double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trials. There are many advantages to this approach to medicine, although it is not the only scientific approach. Clinical trials are intended to take subjective bias out of medical research (although biases that favor research funders abound), but they also remove a lot of the meaningfulness of the data. New drugs are too often tested on desperate people who don't have access to other treatments, in high doses chosen to produce statistically significant results, without a great deal of followup to track potential side effects. Pharmaceutical innovations work. They just don't necessarily do what is best for every patient.
On the other hand, the old idea that "if it's natural it has to be good" has clearly also outlived its usefulness. Relabeling cyanide as a vitamin, which actually occurs in some alternative cancer clinics, doesn't make it a health food. It really is possible to get too many vitamins. There are people who exercise too much, and there are people who are afraid of food that tastes good. And I completely endorse a saying by plant foods advocate and cardiologist Dr. Dean Ornish, "When I see a patient in the ER having a heart attack, I don't prescribe more broccoli."
This blog is about treatments that work that I have not had time to add to the book. It's about interventions that reduce or eliminate the expense and side effects of medication. When pharmaceutical interventions are obviously superior, I'm not hesitant to acknowledge them. My new book is not an anti-Pharma diatribe, although I won't hesitate to criticize the excesses of pharmaceutical companies when they are obvious, either.
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