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Show Notes - Episode 77

August 29, 2021

 

 

 

I'm feeling a little draggy. Maybe my chakras are out of alignment. Maybe I'll make some of that saffron tea and irrigate my Chi. Or maybe I should just go to bed earlier...

 

INTROS

 

And tonight we're talking about holistic remedies, therapies and cures. How much of it is legit and how can you tell? If it doesn't seem like much of an evangelical topic, keep listening. There are things that I think ex-evangelicals need to understand about all of this, but before we get into that...

 

Kenneth Copeland trips out and the transformed wife just trips over human nature. It's CBB!

 

CBB

 

So let's talk about holistic medicine and whether or not any of it is worth the money, the gamble, or even the attention. According to a survey conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Almost 40% of Americans believe that cancer can be cured via alternative therapies alone. Of course, these are the patients who also die in the greatest numbers.

 

Now, there are many reasons why this is alarming, but the most alarming part of it is that people believe that all kinds of things that can kill you – from cancer to some bacterial infections – can be cured through holistic means.

 

Now... why cover this subject on a podcast for ex-evangelicals? Well, for a few reasons...

 

As evangelical Christians...

 

  • We were all taught to believe wildly improbable things about healing (miracles predominantly)

  • We were taught to be afraid of real science

  • We were told that holistic and metaphysical remedies were of the devil

  • We were taught that healing is every bit as spiritual as physical

 

These are all problematic for a number of reasons

 

We learned to think unrealistically about healing (methods that are supposed to work – like laying on of hands, prayer, anointing with oil, instant or impossibly fast recovery, etc.)

We got used to attributing healing to God, not the scientists, doctors, and pharmaceutical professionals that develop treatments, perform surgeries, or provide medicine

For some of us, it made us distrustful of doctors

 

Two kinds of Holistic Therapies – alternative and complimentary [explain]

 

Complementary methods can help you feel better when used in conjunction with standard treatments but using anything besides prescribed medicines should be run by your primary care or whatever specialist is managing your condition(s).

 

Alternative methods are used to replace traditional medicines and treatments and can be extremely dangerous for that very reason. People sometimes delay or outright cancel vital treatments like chemo and dialysis as a means of “seeing if this works.” And worse, many give alternative medicines way too many chances before conceding the necessity of traditional, tested, and proven-effective treatments.

 

Both alternative and complementary therapies appeal to those who are mind-body oriented and those who like the idea of “natural” remedies. Here's the thing: most medicines are derived from things that occur in nature in the first place.

 

The problem is that even in 2021, the concept of snake oil cures is still a thing – just ask JimBakker and anyone who raided stores for quinine water in the early weeks of COVID – and there are loads of products and treatments that flat out don't do what they're said to do. Worse, they haven't been subject to any kind of scientific testing.

 

In the worst of cases some alternative / complementary therapies could be downright dangerous and even life-threatening for what they do, let alone what they fail to cure. Some, the American Cancer Society warns, can also interfere with vital treatments like chemotherapy and have adverse effects on how well traditional treatments work.

 

Now, I have a beef with the American Cancer Society when it comes to the advice they give about A/C therapies because for a secular organization, they seem a little too quick to recommend a couple of these...

 

  • Acupuncture

  • Art or music therapy

  • Biofeedback (uses monitoring devices to help people gain conscious control over physical processes that are usually controlled automatically, such as heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, sweating, and muscle tension).

  • Massage therapy

  • Prayer and spirituality

  • Tai chi and yoga

 

Sorry but things like biofeedback are straight-up woo-rific pseudo-science and, um... prayer? The only two I like here are massage and Tai Chi since massage is a legit physical therapy and Tai Chi is good exercise that helps your body feel better (just leave out the wooey parts because none of us have a Chi). Beyond that, I'm a little disappointed, but... I keep reminding myself that the ACS is, in fact, a support system and charity, not a scientific body, and I'm sure it has a huge quorum of theists and spiritualists who have, at some point, provided anecdotal evidence of all kinds of holistic treatments working to one extent or another.

 

And just to be fair (and as an example of how varied the results for some holistic treatments can be), I'm going to take just a couple minutes and talk about a couple things I've experienced as they relate to two little drugs called THC and CBD....

 

  • Believed so much in MMJ I dropped everything and went to work at a dispensary

  • Even went to a for-profit trade school to learn more beforehand

  • Loads of MMJ “patients” are recreational users – in fact, I think that applies to the majority

  • Getting a medical card is too easy – it's more of a membership card to an elite club

  • Everyone's physiology is different and these medicines MAY help some people, and some more than others

  • In the two years I worked in the industry I saw no “miracle cures” and very few who ever found relief for the conditions they were alleged to be using MMJ to treat, but keep in mind...

  • Few is not none – it's just not likely to be as effective as the people selling it would like to believe

  • In MA, marijuana retailers are FAR more interested in the recreational market, but they know they NEED the medical patients

  • In short, this appears to work for me

  • If something else was responsible for the rapid decrease in arthritis pain I'd be hard pressed to identify it

  • Could it be nothing more than a placebo? Yes... but is it likely?

  • We need to learn more about the science of these drugs and more research will be possible with widespread decriminalization and legalization

 

Now, I'm sure that there are people out there who use things like acupuncture just for fun, but most have legit medical issues they're trying to address with it. The numbers of people actually using marijuana for medical applications is much smaller than they appear to be.

 

Why People Use Alternative and Complimentary Therapies – from an article on Psychology Today

 

Souce: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happiness-in-world/201009/the-problem-alternative-medicine

People turn to alternative therapies for many reasons:

 

  • A bad experience with traditional medicine

  • Personal experience strongly suggests they work

    • (when my wife was pregnant with our son and feeling intense nausea, I tried applying pressure to her wrist at a standard "acupressure" site and was astounded to hear her say, repeatedly, the nausea vanished when I pressed and returned when I released).

  • Perhaps because traditional medicine has no more to offer. Especially when the diagnosis is terminal, what's to lose?

 

That's people in general... what about ex-evangelicals?

 

  • We were told they were bad and now we want to see for ourselves

  • It feeds our need to have faith

  • The element of magic and mysticism

 

Placebos https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/what-is-the-placebo-effect

 

Placebos can have short-term effects on a variety of ailments and symptoms.

 

  • Depression

  • Pain

  • Sleep disorders

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Menopause

 

 

The same principle applies to things like Reiki, Shamballa, and crystal healing, and other “energy healing” methods. In short, if the person thinks it'll help, it often is perceived to have a positive effect. Some of those results can be profound:

 

In one study, people were given a placebo and told it was a stimulant. After taking the pill, their pulse rate sped up, their blood pressure increased, and their reaction speeds improved. When people were given the same pill and told it was to help them get to sleep, they experienced the opposite effects.

 

Experts also say that there is a relationship between how strongly a person expects to have results and whether or not results occur. The stronger the feeling, the more likely it is that a person will experience positive effects. There may be a profound effect due to the interaction between a patient and healthcare provider.”

 

Common Niches for holistic and alternative therapies include:

 

  • Nutritional supplements

  • Fad diets

  • Immunity Boosters

  • Cancer Prevention

  • Other Forms of Preventive therapies

  • Energy Healing

 

Holistic Therapies and MLM

 

We did an entire episode on MLMs and why they appeal to evangelicals. Well... these people feed on the way some people think and evangelicals are a huge target market for all kinds of MLMs. Some even go as far as addressing some of the spiritual objections evangelicals have about their products as a means of luring in the very people they know will be most receptive to their marketing. You don't have to be an evangelical to be taken in by an MLM, but the thought patterns coupled with the ease of appealing to your sense of faith and belief make those of us who were part of that religion prime targets. When confronted with MLM “opportunities” please try to keep a few things in mind:

 

  • They almost never work

  • Their products are almost never FDA approved (or your country's equivalent)

  • The products are often marketed on platforms of pseudo-science and anecdotal evidence with no peer-reviewed or otherwise documented data that PROVES that the products are any good or will do what they say they will. At the end of the day, you're probably just buying super-expensive shit that isn't any better than a grocery store, health food store or pharmacy-sold equivalent.

  • All MLMs prey on people who are desperate and looking for hope either for their finances or their health.

 

 

What about anecdotal evidence? Is it useless?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warning signs

 

Back to the American Cancer Society for these and I think all these points contain good advice...

 

If you are thinking about using any method instead of standard evidence-based medical treatment, it is important to talk to your health care professionals first. And watch out for these warning signs:

 

  • Be suspicious of any treatment that says it can cure cancer or other difficult-to-treat diseases (such as chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, etc.). It’s important to remember that those claims have not been proven.

  • Be suspicious of any treatment that claims to offer benefits with no side effects. Even herbs and vitamins have possible side effects. If the treatment is marketed as having no side effects, it has likely not been studied in rigorous clinical trials, where side effects would be seen.

  • Be suspicious of promoters who attack the medical or scientific community or who tell you not to use standard or traditional medical treatment.

  • Beware of treatments you can get in only one clinic, especially if that clinic is in a country with less strict patient protection laws than those in the United States, the United Kingdom (UK) or the European Union (EU).

  • Beware of terms such as “scientific breakthrough,” “miracle cure,” “secret ingredient,” or “ancient remedy.” Beware of personal stories that claim amazing results but provide no actual scientific evidence.

  • Find out about the training and education of anyone supporting the treatment or using it to treat you. Find out if they are medical doctors and whether they are experts in cancer care or complementary medicines.

  • Find out whether scientific studies or clinical trials have studied this treatment in people (not just animals), and what side effects have been reported. Find out if the treatment could harm you or interact badly with your other medicines or supplements.

  • Learn whether the findings have been published in trustworthy journals after being reviewed by other scientists who are experts in the same field, or if they have been promoted only in the mass media, such as books, magazines, the internet, TV, infomercials, and radio talk shows.

 

Now to our ex-evangelical friends in particular...

 

Do not be taken in by the mystique of holistic remedies – there is no such thing as a miracle cure for anything

 

Don't think that just because your pastor used to decry something that it somehow secretly works. It IS possible to warn against the right things for the wrong reasons.

 

Don't take anything for granted. “No side effects” is a RED FLAG. Research things like supplements, topicals, and other nutritionally-based therapies from a neutral perspective.

 

Crystals are rocks. They have no power.

 

Reiki, Shamballa, reflexology, Qigong, and the rest are largely bunk and all have nothing greater to offer than placebo effects. Chakras aren't a thing. Neither is the Chi. You don't need to align your charkras, irrigate your Chi or any of the other insanity that New-Agers and other like-minded people would like you to think. And along those lines, you can't heal anything by laying hands on it or smearing it with oil. Period.

 

As for things like THC and CBD... jury's still out. We need more concrete science and we will get it. What we do know about these things is that they legit cannot kill you, so... bonus. But there I also nothing wrong with indulging in a little weed for nothing more grand than the sake of indulgence. No sin here, just good times and good feels.

 

Think of the process of vetting holistic remedies the way you think about vetting the things you were taught as part of your religion. They process is identical and it's a great way to train your brain to think rational, reasoned, and informed thoughts. And I can't think of any facet of life where those concepts are more important than our physical and emotional health. Keep training your brain to think critically. It's a vital skill and it's one that will help tremendously in getting and keeping you unbound.

 

CBB Notes

https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2021/08/25/kenneth-copeland-who-declared-covid-destroyed-a-year-ago-is-saying-it-again/

 

https://protestia.com/2021/08/26/kenneth-copeland-says-his-vision-of-blanket-of-blood-evidence-that-covid-has-fallen-is-destroyed/

 

 

this first story I want to call “the sound of one goalpost being moved”. Kenneth Copeland, one of the kings of christian grift, has declared the covid virus destroyed....a year after the first time he declared it destroyed. I guess the destruction didn't stick?

 

Anyway, Copeland called in to a service hosted by his daughter and her husband to tell them that 'no really, seriously it's destroyed now. Really.” And here's the evidence he gave for it:

 

This morning as we prayed, just suddenly I saw a blanket of blood. It rippled like it had a slight breeze on it. And as I watched it, and I watched this blanket of blood, it was everywhere, particularly over the United States and over our partners everywhere.

And then a golden layer, just so gold…it was hard to-this golden aura and clouda golden cloud right on top of the blood. And then I realized that it came up out of the blood. And then I realized that it came up out of the blood, and just stunningly beautiful. And then angels began to crisscross overt the top of all that, and these golden rainbows came up out of that.

And I saw the healing, the healing of lungsand I knew in my spirit, and I said it out loud with my mouth ‘our breakthrough has come, and glory to God the destruction the final takedown of this synthetic virus that has been made by men as a weapon has fallen, it’s destroyed.’

 

 

 

https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2021/08/23/christian-blogger-shames-working-moms-your-kid-may-have-sex-if-youre-not-home/

 

https://thetransformedwife.com/working-mothers-make-it-easy-for-teenagers-to-fornicate/

 

And 'super-retro' mommy-shamer the Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, who never seems to lack for ways to shame women is also now blaming mothers for their teen (and older!) kids having sex. Mrs. Alexander, who seems to have been born knowing exactly how to toe the line, says the following in a recent blog post “working mothers make it easy for teenagers to fornicate”:

 

When I was in high school in the mid-1970s, most of my friends’ mothers were in the workforce. Homes were left empty during the day. One of my church friends (the only other girl that was my age in our church) would tell me about her fornication exploits. She and her boyfriend would go to her home during lunch and fornicate. She had a number of abortions. No one was home, since her mom worked outside of the home. It all seemed so unappealing to me, thankfully! This was not the life I ever wanted to live.

 

Isn't that special? Of course Lori would never want to 'fornicate' with a fellow boy that she found attractive! Not Lori!

 

You know, you gotta wonder what she was really like...was really like...was really like... and here would be a great time to insert a flashback; unfortunately this is reality so we can't do that.

 

I'm not so sure Mrs. Lori lives in reality either. She expects all women, everywhere to only aspire to motherhood, to never ever let up on the controls over their children unless their husbands want to, of course. And also to never leave the house, apparently. She seems to think that will stop teenagers from having sex. She goes on:

 

Yes, teenagers can have sex in cars, but it’s far more comfortable and easier for them to have it in their own homes and in their own beds. When mothers aren’t home, it’s too easy for them to fornicate. When a mother is home full time, it’s impossible for them to do this IF the mother is a godly woman who would never allow her teenagers to do this.”

 

Yeah. Right. Teenagers, for the most part, aren't thinking about 'comfort' at that point. Easier? Where re you getting your information? It's not the 70's anymore!

 

She goes on in her post to advise that boys should grow up on farms, and girls should be taught all the homemaking, all of it and that will 'keep them busy' and not...think about sex? I have so many questions but the biggest one is: “how do you manage to keep this fiction alive in your life?”