health and risk management...
Over the last 80 years, there has been many medical ways to deal with health, including taking a hunch... As well the western world has been warming up to some of the old remedies from the East — the Chinese. I am lucky, All I need so far is a bit of acetylsalicylic acid twice or so a year to help cure a hangover...
I was going to write a self-inflicted hangover but a hangover is always self-inflicted...
As the government is thinking of ways to plug the budget's round holes with square pegs, here are few though about health and risk management, with usage of gut-feeling. Most of my aches and pains, I let them sort themselves out. I believe the body knows how to fix these things within itself... I have no clue how far I can push this theory but I do my best to be ignorant of pain. Should my back become sore, I have a rest. Should I feel drowsy I take a nap. And so forth...
I know people of course for whom this would not be enough. They need medicine or treatment to survive, from the time they are born to the time they're of pension age.
Thus pharmaceuticals have invested lots of money into developing stuff that will help most people, but not all. My grand-mother was generally healthy till she died aged 97. It's only because she fell down on a hard surface that she died. She was a great source of obscure cures for treating various rashes, stings and flu — some using poisons such as Belladona... It all worked. She could not solve a TB infection but she could mostly prevent one from occurring. Camphor was a potent ingredient in her special famous cream. Prevention, maintaining a healthy profile was her way to survive well. One catches a disease more easily when one is in a state of general weakness, say due to overindulgence or lack of sleep or whatever. Dancing in moderation.
Pharmaceuticals have also invested money into marketing their products to make sure you buy them.
One essential point is that though most medicine are created to be "universal", they are not, because we are not the same. I know from some experimental work on cancer research that people have differentiated physiology thus react differently to dosage and what type of "drugs", and even have allergies. Some people get quickly addicted to some drugs while other people wont. Dosage is "averaged" but for example a small frame person may need less of the "active ingredients" than a big tall fat bloke, but not necessarily so. And one can be sure that many pharmaceutical medicines have side-effects. As well many "active ingredients" are the same as those in my granny's medicines, but plants cannot be patented. Thus the pharmaceuticals "extract" the active ingredients and mix them with other stuff including other active ingredients also found in plants. The synthesis of man-made compound for medicinal purpose has soared. But there is always a step at which these substances need to be tested.
Thus there is an ongoing fight between medicine — supported by doctors, hospitals and pharmaceuticals — versus traditional medicines using herbal concoctions, massages and acupuncture, plus alternative medicines such as homeopathy and vitamin supplements.
The Australian government is thus doing reviews on the worth of all "alternative" ways to keep healthy, with a view to poopoo these alternatives and not make them part of Medicare scheduled medical treatments.
I know personally that red-ned tends to soothe my aches. Alcohol is my medicine of choice but it's generally not recognised on schedule B. Marijuana can be useful to some patient but there yet again, it's still not recognised as a medical drug and it's still criminal to use it... It's not the only one to be illegal. In the early part of the 20th century, many "nerve pills" (see picture at top) and other concoctions including soothing children's pains used to have cocaine, heroin and other lovely drugs that are now illicit.
Meanwhile, our overuse of antibiotics has created new monsters out-there. These are tiny monsters but they can quickly multiply in such quantities that they become deadly. Here is part of the fight of mind about the value of some medicine:
Our peak medical research body has begun a series of reviews into the effectiveness of complementary medicines. So far the NHMRC has looked at homeopathy and its verdict is that there is 'no reliable evidence' that homeopathic remedies are any better than a placebo.
Have you used complementary medicine, did it work for you? Why? Did you seek your GPs advice?
Or do you think it’s all a waste of money?
One comment on this radio programme:
Maitreyee Banerjee, Ph.D. :
01 May 2014 9:17:37pm
NHMRC undertook condiserable time and tax payers money to conduct study on effectiveness of homoeopathy on clinical conditions. The report concludes to say that homoeopathy medicines are all placebos and hence should not be encouraged in Australia.
Gus: on this last point I disagree. Vaccines work on the principle of rejection. Usually, the immune system reacts to an invasion of microbes or viruses and destroys them (or looses the battle). This happens many many times daily.
Vaccination is like training the body in advance to be prepared in case of an attack of a specific kind of microbes. The body is injected with a weakened form of the disease and usually the body is victorious over this intrusion. Thus for this or that type of microbes, the immune system retains a memory of battle and can quickly produce antibodies against a real infection that cannot develop, because it is snuffed by the "vaccinated" immune system. All this stems from the study of small pox in the late 1890s.
The dilution of "effective/active ingredients" in homeopathic treatment as well as the need to know the "individual vital force" leads to a lot more hit and miss than vaccination. I was "homeopathised" once and it did not work... This does not mean that homeopathy does not work...
But vaccination (from the French: cow pox) has more or less helped eradicate some serious diseases such as small pox, polio and TB, though some strains are coming back because of two factors : one is our relaxed attitude to vaccination and second, the overuse of antibiotics has created more virulent strains of diseases.
So in the end it's what works for patients. There are of course some useless forms of snake oils out there or slimming teas that are less efficient than a small bowl of dandelion leaves... Very good for you, dandelion leaves are, said my granny. I still believe her, though she died many years ago in her prime (97 as mentioned earlier). Thus a soup of red-ned, water and bread, plus a salad of dandelion is all one's need... Well not every one.
One also needs variety and moderation — and intuition as to make a decision as to what works and what does not for one. One thing too, being generally content helps maintain a good health...