Open Thread Friday

Awareness is growing that the business of health care and individual health desires are not working towards the same goals. This past week health related issues have been included in a diary or discussion nearly every day.

Capitalism is killing us
The Weekly Watch
The Evening Blues - 12-2-19, comment
Tuesday Open Thread ~ The Incredible Shrinking Waistline
The Evening Blues - 12-3-19
*literal* Vampire capitalism
The Evening Blues 12-5-19

It can become overwhelming to view the scope of the problem our nation has created and look at possible players, obstacles and solutions. At the same time our own health issues and those close to us need to be managed, prevented, improved or cured.

I find it helpful occasionally to reflect on a similar set of issues yet unrelated to the current problems. It helps me sort out what are unique issues to the situations and those that are universal human issues that will continually need addressed by us and future generations.

Chinese medicine is an indigenous culture of medicine that was not completely destroyed by a foreign occupying nation. There has been a systematic growth of knowledge, practices and specialties over several thousand years of the civilization. At times of national internal unrest practitioners have migrated to different parts of the world, hidden written documents in graves or kept as close family knowledge through multiple generations.

Various thoughts on the practice of medicine were written by Hsu Ta-ch'un, a Chinese physician, 19 years before the United Sates became a nation. Our first medical university Johns Hopkins Medicine was still 136 years in the future. Where classroom lectures were supplemented with the addition of bedside teaching at the University hospital, laboratory research and the scientific method became a standard part of training for American physicians.

Forgotten Traditions of Ancient Chinese Medicine. Translation by Paul U Unschuld of The Hsueh Yuan Liu Lun of 1757 by Hsu Ta-ch'un

Physicians

Nothing can be done about the fact that inequalities exist between physicians of higher quality, but as long as [those of lower quality] devise [their therapies] as carefully as possible, and act with utmost care and caution, they will not necessarily kill their patients. If, however, all types of irregular and deceptive practices are added [to lower quality], tremendous damage must result.

Some [physicians] create strange prescriptions to delude the masses. Some use drugs like [jen-]shen and [lu-]erh, supplementing one with heat, to please the rich and noble. Some pretend to apply prescriptions from immortals or Bodhisattva in order to cheat the uneducated. Some make lofty speeches and offer queer doctrines to impress the world and steal themselves a name. Some fabricate false classes and illegitimate teachings, this way deceiving the people and startling the ordinary man.

Or, they know very well that a certain illness they are presented with offers no difficulties, hence they falsely claim it to be another illness in order to demonstrate unusual [skills}....
....
Physicians whose training is insufficient may still avoid harming people as long as they are able to follow proper principles. And if they are able to remain modest, and if they attach great importance to studying, their knowledge will progress everyday and each of their therapies will result in a cure. Hence their fame and reputation will increase and many people will seek [their help] as a consequence - with riches following them. If one only searches for nothing by riches, one will miss both fame and riches. Why do the physicians increase their own problems by neglecting one and going for the other?

Open Thread traditions thoughts on any issue.

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Are useful in helping to understand the functioning of our bodies.
The difference between solid and hollow organs, with their roles
is good. Also, the study of how energy flows thru the body with
key meridians and nexus'. I relate some of that to the central nervous
system and pressure points. And the use of ginger for medicinal
purposes. It seems more of eastern healing methods are available
to the common folk -- as opposed to (modern) western approaches.
Folk cures have been in existence for eons. It would be wise to
combine those histories with the more recent science based
practices, IMO.

Thanks for the OT soe!

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studentofearth's picture

@QMS one developed in Western Asia (Europe).

Six functional organ systems comprised of a 1) a solid yin organ (viscera) that store essential substances, 2) a hollow yang organ (bowel)that eliminate essential substances 3) corresponding Yin and Yang vessels, 3) access points to monitor, adjust and balance energy flow and 4) An assignment to one of the descriptive elements in the 5 Element System.

The concept of self-care extended into dietary, physical and spiritual activities of the culture. Diagnosis and monitory by non-technological methods relied on the skill of the practitioner. Treatments including herbal, acupuncture, acupressure, massage and surgical were designed to adjust and rebalance energy of the individual body (mini universe) being treated vs hitting a target of preset normal values of physical function such as blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugars.

It is interesting when a practice appears to be useful to the common folk it becomes regulated by a governing body or medical board. Disbursement of qualified information is collected and dispersed by our University systems via approved practitioners. Effectively removing easy access to common folk.

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@studentofearth
Thank you very much for the stillness in the tempest.

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Lookout's picture

are paid when their clients are well, and not paid if they are ill? I've always heard that but don't know if it is true.

We had a well known herbalist living down the valley, Tommy Bass. He had bright blue eyes and didn't claim he could heal but merely give ease. Here's a link to a film about him with a transcript too. http://www.folkstreams.net/film-detail.php?id=83
He came to mind because of the use of herbs in Chinese medicine.

My primary go to herb is yellow root which I use to make a tea. It is great for sore throats.

I hope all is well on the homestead and the livestock is healthy and happy.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

studentofearth's picture

@Lookout @Lookout knowledge alive in America. He lived and practiced through a time when many herbalists were harassed and prosecuted for practicing medicine. It was an effort to stop watching the video to finish my comment responses.

Yellow root has deep cultural history in the south. I like how the author compares it to Oregon Grape a native plant growing on my place.

I use yellowroot in a similar vein as how I use oregon grape root (Berberis spp., Berberidaceae) or goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis, Ranunculaceae). I wouldn’t say they are interchangeable, just as I wouldn’t confuse any long-haired, gray-bearded, barefoot man on the street for my husband.

Chinese doctors are paid for their services. In historical past there were times treatment had to be successful for payment. A failure to cure a prominent individual could result in execution.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Came across a couple of health related stories at naked capitalism this morning.

Dark Waters -- forever chemicals
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/12/dark-waters-tells-the-origin-sto...

and

Hospital staffing problems
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/12/why-hospitals-never-have-enough-...

Is the cure worse than the disease?
Cheers

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studentofearth's picture

@QMS Forever chemicals and toxic substances in our personal living space and exterior environment has severe health impacts. Safety features keep being added to various commercial products to prevent harm and induce us to buy a new modern product. Yet little or no attempt is made to minimize or eliminate the risk of man made chemicals. Not just by government. I have a neighbor with a water contamination problem localized to the property who continues to drink, bath and use the well water for the domestic household. It is too expensive and inconvenient to make other arrangement. Even a short term solution of using containers to carry water from my well to her house. But time and energy is taken to deal with the health issues.

Our local hospital uses “just-in-time” scheduling practices for its nursing and patient care staff based on hospital admissions. Plus forced overtime and on-cal during off hours to reduce the need to create more employee positions. Patients staying several days may see a different nurses every day. The local Community College keeps churning out new nurses to feed in the system burning out the employees. If it is hard on the employee, how does it effect patient care?

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smiley7's picture

a major concern is where and under what conditions are our modern medicines manufactured. Many oversees and i frankly don't have knowledge about regulations and inspections. Recently for instance, a daily over-the counter drug i used for heartburn was recalled due to a cancer chemical found in it.

Afraid i'm a novice with it comes to medicinal natural remedies, there is an old rich family in the community, purveyors of natural products the surrounding mountaineers gathered and sold them 100-150 years ago.

Many thanks for this OT and enjoy you Oregon day.

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studentofearth's picture

@smiley7 not keeping up with inspections.

Plants making drugs for U.S. consumers are supposed to be inspected every few years, according to a risk-based system. However, in the past decade more than 2,500 facilities, both foreign and domestic, have gone more than five years without an FDA drug-quality inspection, a KHN analysis found. The FDA has no drug-quality inspection records over the past decade for more than 1,200 domestic plants and nearly 400 foreign plants, excluding those that make animal drug products, according to the analysis. Gottlieb said in December that he hopes to clear the backlog of uninspected drug facilities by the end of September 2019.
...
David Gortler, a former FDA medical officer, said most drug plant inspections involve looking over paper records and trusting that they’re real, instead of randomly testing medicines.

“Anybody can write down anything on a piece of paper,” said Gortler, who is now a consultant at FormerFDA.com. He added that FDA inspectors aren’t reprimanded — or even told — if they’ve passed a plant that issued a recall shortly thereafter.

Unsafe products is one of the risks we assume with each medication we need to take for treatment. for a long time no one was looking for the contaminant. have not found information as to when it became available in the drug products, only when it was found.

Some people become knowledgeable on causes, home monitoring parameters alternative treatments, preventative techniques only the narrow information related to their medical information. The relationship between lung conditions and acid reflux is interesting. There are numerous home remedies for acid reflux including slippery elm which your neighbors probably collected it locally.

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smiley7's picture

@studentofearth

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lotlizard's picture

alternative medicine, are currently experiencing an internal debate about homeopathy.

With the Greens now being mainstream in Germany and wielding a lot of power, one faction now thinks that booting homeopathy off the list of alternative therapies that can be covered by health insurance would be the responsible thing to do. Others see this as caving to a purely materialistic and analytical view of the world.

More openness to spiritual, mystical, holistic, ineffable aspects of life was an important trait historically distinguishing Greens in Germany from more traditional kinds of Left, who treat various mixes of Marxist insights and tenets as settled science.

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studentofearth's picture

@lotlizard The FDA (Food and Drug Administration)is creating the regulatory environment to limit or eliminate Homeopathic medications.

The agency first revealed a new attitude toward homeopathic drugs with the issuance of a draft guidance in December 2017, which laid out a new "risk-based" model of enforcement that would guide agency decisions on homeopathic products.

This antihomeopathy push is happening in several spots around the world. Not good news that Germany the birthplace of homeopathy is considering removing it as a medical option.

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Cassiodorus's picture

Hope you are doing well.

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"Faith in philosophy means the refusal to permit fear to stunt in any way one's capacity to think." -- Max Horkheimer

studentofearth's picture

@Cassiodorus Got some major long term projects wrapped up. Snow outside but the house is warm and food in the pantry.
Hope you are settled in a dwelling for the winter, it makes life a little easier.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@studentofearth And if you get tired of the snow up there you can come to the Rogue Valley and stay here.

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"Faith in philosophy means the refusal to permit fear to stunt in any way one's capacity to think." -- Max Horkheimer

My mother was born in 1908 and had all kinds of home remedies for things. My children only saw doctors when my mom couldn't do anything for them. Between her and her sister, my kids grew up very healthy!

Hope all is well with you on your farm!

Have a great Friday and weekend, everyone! Pleasantry

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"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

studentofearth's picture

@Raggedy Ann the only accessible medical care was the home remedy and local nonphysician practitioners. Lucky for you to have knowledgeable family members.

Have a good weekend.

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detroitmechworks's picture

MUCH better. The constant daily calisthenics also help.

Good health, I've seen from experience is a matter of daily maintenance, not expensive medications. My medication is cheap, plentiful and effective. Breaking a sweat every day keeps me focused.

All medicine really is just observations about what works. I've had enough time to know that exercise every day and writing every day are the two things that keep me healthy. Last time I went to the hospital for a BROKEN BONE, all they did was tell me to not sleep on that side for a while. Kept the routine, modified my calisthenics, and boom... got a nice big lump on my collarbone now, but I'm doing better than ever at Judo. My O'goshi is really coming along, and I also am enjoying Harai Goshi as well, which works very well with my tendency to stand on my toes while fighting. (I prefer a slightly higher stance than recommended. I'm working on it, but it's a hard habit to break, especially when I find it easier to go in for throws on my toes than only slightly elevated.)

Random thoughts, but the philosophy of Mutual Benefit and Welfare really does apply. You don't show up when you're sick, that's not helping everybody else. You take your falls, because it's also training YOU... How to fall. Just a long, basic instruction.

The thought does come to mind that it's similar to an old Mystery Cult, in which you simply gain a fuller understanding of the same story, over and over, until it becomes a part of you. Yes, I'm of the opinion that religion does have a purpose in health, in that it can inspire behavior that is beneficial to society. Problem is that all our current cults demand subservience, not service. Big difference.

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

studentofearth's picture

@detroitmechworks Mutual Benefit and Welfare is a welcome relief from the competitiveness in many parts of American life.

My journey of learning this past year has expanded to martial art traditions. Been surprised of the Chinese medical theories permeating the various practices. General physical movement improves health. A focused program like Judo can enhance the progress, especially with experienced sensei to guide one.

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enhydra lutris's picture

topic. Trad med vs modern med presents a window on a lot of things, including a frequent dip into the errors of mono-causal thinking and other methodological problems. The more we learn about biology, the more the human organism begins to resemble an ecosystem on one hand, and a factory on the other. Cities, towns, societies and economies, on the other hand begin to resemble organisms. Modern/western science is highly analytic and hence prone to over-abstraction and oversimplification. It is all input=>process=>output == throughput in a very simple and simplistic sense, but as a model that just sucks immeasurably. Nonetheless, that view underlies so much of what passes for economics and business management that it is positively scary.

One of the errors inherent in mechanized application of overly paradigmatic rule based thinking is the automatic rejection of "anecdotal evidence", which is, as we all know "not data". If an entire culture chews willow bark to alleviate certain symptoms, and none debunk it, it can in fact be bunkum, clever marketing and propaganda, or some religion based mass placebo effect, or it could be a simple and "primitive" manner of ingesting the basic active ingredient of aspirin. If all such folk remedies were always rejected we'd lack a ton of what we think of as western medicine. Another side of that is that what works for me might not work for you, biomes and biosystems are all different. A February 19, 2019 article in Quartz entitled New Science Shows Managing Blood Sugar Isn’t About Counting Calories or Carbs -- Put simply: there is no one-size-fits-all diet. ( https://getpocket.com/explore/item/new-science-shows-managing-blood-suga... ) takes a peek at just one example of a scientific study that tried to delve into the effect of just one part of the fact that we are complex systems with the finding that "yes, we can tailor diets to specific biomes to have at least some specific desired outcomes to some degree." So that right there means that, for practical purposes, anecdotal evidence of how ones own biosystem reacts to things is, in fact, actionable data for ones own self and something one should, at least to some extent, pay attention to and heed.

Meanwhile, more and more studies focused on individuals and stressors and health show that we should work less and less frenetically per day, week and month. It is child's play to come up with scenarios for needs based economic production systems that would work with more workers working fewer hours per worker with the same output of product and we could readily arrange for that product to be distributed so as to meet everybody's needs and more, so long as it wasn't driven by the need to funnel evermore wealth ever upward only. This can even be done so as to rein in the cancer of constant uncontrolled growth.

The problem is that for health and medicine, the cure to the difficulties is seen as a desirable good and there is some sort of group will to bring it about, even where impeded by those trying merely to profit from it, but we have not yet developed any sort of coherent group will to address the problems inherent in capitalist economic systems as currently implemented or even to seriously consider alternatives.

Too much of that before breakfast is not good, time to go eat.

Have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

studentofearth's picture

@enhydra lutris I have observed were based on sound scientific research and modified by anecdotal observation, plus clinical markers where appropriate. Somehow there is this belief personalized medicine can only come about by future technology, including DNA information being developed by corporations.

Personalized medicine and diet has been promised as the practice of the future most of my life. Yet I have seen it successfully implemented. 1) By a few physicians who listened to their patients feedback and made adjustments appropriately. 2) By individuals who had given up on professionals and designed their own programs.

Thought provoking response - thanks

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enhydra lutris's picture

Bots, fake news, election meddling and, oh wait, it's by "the good guys", false alarm, sorry

A Guardian investigation has uncovered a plot by a mysterious Israeli-based group, which has harnessed 21 of Facebook’s most popular far-right pages to influence politics on four continents and profit from the resulting Islamophobia. The campaign – whose targets included the progressive Muslim US congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib – pushes more than 1,000 fake news posts per week to more than 1 million followers. The group then uses the traffic to increase its revenue from digital advertising.

Spreading misinformation. When the Guardian notified Facebook of its investigation, the company removed several several pages and accounts – not because they were spreading misinformation, but because the content “appeared to be financially motivated”.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

enhydra lutris's picture

@enhydra lutris
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/dec/06/inside-the-hate-f...

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

studentofearth's picture

@enhydra lutris its cut of the financial benefit. (my bold)

“These pages and accounts violated our policy against spam and fake accounts by posting clickbait content to drive people to off-platform sites,” the spokesperson said. “We don’t allow people to misrepresent themselves on Facebook and we’ve updated our inauthentic behaviour policy to further improve our ability to counter new tactics.”

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magiamma's picture

and all

There’s a guy in Berkley, Robert Zeiger, accupunturist, who studied in acupuncture China and at then Oxford after he got his phd in pharmacology. Started in the 80s maybe late 70s. Really knows a lot about herbs as well. Helped me on a number of occasions. Too far to drive now.

Lots to be said for nor western medicine. Thanks for the excellent ot. Great info. Be well...

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studentofearth's picture

@magiamma one can get help if there is a need. Over the years your community has probably attracted some good healers.

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For Chinese medicine specifically https://slate.com/technology/2013/10/traditional-chinese-medicine-origin...
After ww2 (and it's carnage) the cross pollination of cultures, and the innovations in science and traditional medicine, brought history and science together. I think Mao was harsh in his judgement. From recorded history on, healing was a major subject in the records left by our ancestors. Many of the herbs and mineral associations proved true in the curative powers in what is viewed as "folk medicine". The major detriment today is that all transactions conform to the "business model", a capitalist concept that every gesture, no matter how altruistic has a superior monetory value. Just ask the IRS.Or dems.

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studentofearth's picture

@Snode source. Article confuses Naturopathy a medical system with origins in spa therapy of Germany and Central Europe, historical Chinese medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the national system developed during Mao's leadership in China to provide healthcare to citizens. Some North American schools of Naturopathy have TCM as part of their curriculum. I have read a few of the texts, the 5 element system is not well understood and sometimes explained simply wrong.

At minimum China has a culture of medical philosophies and treatments stretching over several thousand years that has been interrelated with their culture as it developed. Chinese medical traditions traveled to other parts of the world with immigrants taking their culture with them to new homes prior to WWII and the Mao period. What I found interesting about the quote in the original diary was the problems of practicing medicine for money and fame prior to any major influence of western culture.

Dr Paul Unschuld mentioned in the Slate article was asked about the value of learning history of both Western and Chinese medicine. His response.

Why do I teach medical students the history of European and Chinese medicine? Medicine develops not only with its cultural environment, it also develops amidst a political arena. Anybody who grew up in a Western society and develops an interest in Chinese traditional medicine is confronted with an import from a foreign culture. How does he or she know whether the product taught by his teacher, whether Chinese or Western, is genuine? How does he or she know whether the literature offered reflects true Chinese medicine, or the views of some more or less ill-informed writer? It is a fact that more than 95 percent of all literature published in Western languages on Chinese medicine reflect Western expectations rather than Chinese historical reality. Bestsellers are usually written by those who know no Chinese, have no access to Chinese medical history, and have never - or at best for short periods - been to China.

There is, I wish to emphasize, nothing wrong with these books, as they were informed by visions of an ideal health care presumably developed in China. As such, these books tell us something about what is lacking in Western biomedicine, and what is expected by many as a remedy to cure an ailing Western health care system. This way, these books fulfill an important function. They suggest ways to improve or circumvent biomedicine, and offer ideas and strategies that may be helpful for many. Nevertheless, while they reflect Western yearnings, they fail to reflect the historical truth of Chinese medicine. Chinese medical history is, indeed, a huge treasure box, and given that TCM has selected only parts of its contents, serious historical research may turn up many more.

Thanks for the dialog.

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@studentofearth I admit total ignorance. I think I was trying to say some of what you say. I am just very suspicious of modern medicine funneling traditional medicine back at us after spending 150 years of rejecting it. I see cleanliness in administering health care, the writing down and sharing of knowledge, and sanitation as the most major advances, along with antibiotics and the prevention viruses.

I would think that with modern hospitals and western medicine allowed in China the Chinese would be having the best of both systems. That may be happening, but I haven't seen much. Mostly stories about genetics and patients unable to afford treatment.

Up until our civil war what we had was generations of pass along knowledge, with a huge portion of wait it out and make the patient comfortable as treatment. So much of it was plant based, in every culture world wide the had to be something to it. Archaeologists have found so many instances of pre history medicine that mirrors modern surgery that the has to have been a collective knowledge base passed down, and then lost, then rediscovered again, through time.

But here we are in a world where it's a question of is it really a good business model to seek cures for diseases? When it's more profitable to have drugs that treat the symptoms year after year. Where it's permitted to have quackery like cancer curing copper bracelets, and subsidized tobacco and antibiotic laden food. Where many pets have better health care than many children. I guess I get wound up about this too much. I don't know how to think about it anymore.

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studentofearth's picture

@Snode Most of us have come from a position of faith in the medical teachings in our cultures. It is so interwoven we do not even notice the threads until they begin to unravel and we start to look through the holes in the fabric past our belief system. The choices appear simple: patch the holes quickly so no one notices, shame or punish anyone mentioning the holes, accept with faith a new cloth of belief, or explore different combinations of weave patterns. The answer is more complex because they are all the right choice based on the unique needs of the time.

Personally I, also, don't know how to think about medicine. I am exploring way to think about the subject of medicine, its practice and influence of culture. Many of the hard and fast rules I was taught have been shaken by personal experiences and observations.

Chinese medicine fits in that exploration because its knowledge base of practitioners and history has not been significantly destroyed or discredited by modern medicine. Along the journey of gaining more knowledge we begin to see what has been forgotten and how little we actually know.

Then there is the task of putting our thoughts into words. I wish my fingers could keep up with the sentences forming in my head. Appreciate your input and insights.

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@studentofearth
concentrates efforts of healing towards endless tests and expensive procedures. Going to see a specialist, highly recommended by other practitioners I trust(ed), steering towards invasive surgery, in spite of my request for other approaches. It works out as a liability issue, as the doc's insurance company requires going in a specific direction, in spite of the high cost and risk. Have to self-educate and become aware of the consequences of following profit / liability motivated prognosis'. It's my body, not the insurance company's cash cow.
Whew, end of rant. Thanks SoE for delving deep into this topics with us.

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studentofearth's picture

@QMS written in 2017 by Alligator Ed

Lessons from the essay:

1. Is surgery emergent or urgent--if yes, ask questions. Why is this emergent or urgent?
2. Is there a non-surgical option available?
3. What are the benefits? Will I be cured or improved and what is the likelihood of those outcomes.
4. What are the risks? Get detailed answers, don't be blown off.
5. Ask about lifestyle changes, pre- and or post-op.
6. Get a second opinion from a qualified expert not your aunt or next-door neighbor.
7. Don't be afraid of asking questions for fear the doctor may think you are pain in the ass.
This has two consequences:
a) the doctor thinks you are a pain the ass--dump him/her
b) the pain might be in your ass if you don't ask the right questions

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@studentofearth
Thanks SoE / Alligator Ed

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Lily O Lady's picture

bear gall bladders.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

studentofearth's picture

@Lily O Lady I would like to see stop around the world and those are two of them.

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@Lily O Lady rhino horn is almost exclusively Vietnam, and more of a status thing.

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studentofearth's picture

@ban nock tour groups 12 years apart in 1989 and 2002. In addition to providing lectures we visited various Chinese and Western medicine practitioners, research facilities, dispensaries and manufacturing sites across the country. China has been changing so fast the past few decades it was as if I was visiting a different country each time. I am sure if visited today the same feeling would be experienced. But then my local community has changed significantly in the same time period.

Would be interested in your experiences and opinions of the country. The quackwatch.org site is interesting. I would feel more comfortable of non-bias if it also included quackery practices in our American Medical system. The quote in the main diary was to show medical systems with totally different underlying philosophies can have some of the same quality issues and self serving participants not focused on what is best for the patient.

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