Alternative therapies

I read with interest the article about GP’s top ten list of useless therapies used by celebrities. To a certain agree celebrity endorsement with anything is a tricky subject. As many youngsters look to their sporting/film heroes and heroines for inspiration they do need to show some moral responsibility to what they put their name to. The GP’s list included:

Colonics
Aromatherapy
Detoxing
Vitamin B12 injections
Overnight stay in health farms
Cupping
Food intolerance tests
Macrobiotic diets

I’ve no idea what cupping is and wouldnt pay for it nor to have hot stones put on my back – in my humble opinion a total waste of money. I would also agree with detoxing (just cut out alcohol, caffeine and white sugar to give your body a break) and also food intolerance testing (I will write in more in detail about these tests later). The problem is they can show up what you eat a lot of, and not necessarily what you are intolerant too.

However I’m not sure why Vitamin B12 injections and colonics were in this list. I have vitamin B12 injections every three months otherwise I get ill. I dont have pernicious anaemia but for some reason my body doesnt absorb it. The reference ranges for B12 are not consistent from county to county and can range from 150-1000 to 163-990. As long as you are within these parameters you are deemed healthy. I think its important for those of us who dont eat red meat or offal to have a healthy B12 reading mid range of these references ie 500-600. I often get patients seeing me with readings of 160 being told there are fine and in the reference range when they are turning a horrid shade of yellow and have all the symptoms of B12 anemia (which if you are asking are numerous; ranging from anxiety, fatigue, pins and needles etc).

The “evidence” that colonics help people is what is pouring down the tube!! I had a lady see me years ago who hadnt had a bowel movement in three months. Enemas had not worked and laxatives didnt either. The only thing that saved her was a series of colonics (colonics are really just a massive enema only using water and getting to the upper part of the bowel). The “evidence” and I wont go into gruesome detail was that she was on the loo afterwards for three hours.

With aromatherapy I dont think there needs to be evidence – its indiviually based evidence that counts. it relaxes people, sometimes seriously ill cancer patients – anything that relaxes you and de-stresses you has to be good for the whole of your body.

Going to stay at a spa or a health farm – well I’m not sure again there needs to be evidence about that either. We could bunch the annual holiday in there as well. If it gives you a break from the kids/the stressful job, its got to be a good thing. Feeling pampered and stress free is great for the immune system.

I did have a chuckle because whatever therapies madonna or the like have, they look great dont they? I’m wondering how much energy and vitality those GP’s have and could they keep up with a 50 yr old who is still touring! Its the running, weights yoga, macrobiotic diet, and the all rest that keeps her in the shape she is in – surely a good advertisement.

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