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Modern vs Traditional Medicine

  1. May 2, 2004 #1
    Statistics show a Lot (millions?) of dollars is spent on treating side-effects of
    modern medicine. Which is better - modern or traditional medicine? Why?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 2, 2004 #2


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    Modern medicine is the only type which needs to be proven that it works.

    I have a friend who got swindled out of several thousand dollars and her illness got much worse as a result of "traditional dentistry". A desperate person is easily swindled. If the cure you're peddling can't be proven to work scientifically, it's garbage.

    The human body heals itself naturally. If you get better after drinking boiled dog urine (for instance), odds are it's your body's natural healing, and not the dog urine which was the cure.
  4. May 3, 2004 #3
    True. But things like acupuncture work (I think) and we'ren't proven to work for quiet a while. The thing is - I don't mean traditional medicine to be medicine that isn't proven. I mean it to be medicine of which the mechanisms might not be explained properly yet - but use over hundreds of years has shown it to work. I almost always expect traditional medicine to be cheaper than modern medicine - if not the same in price. Tradition medicine has never been confined to one or two individuals - and most of the time takes things from nature that seem natural - and not repulsive (there are the exceptions).
    Do you think there exists any area of modern medicine that traditional medicine is equal/better at?
  5. May 3, 2004 #4


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    Much of "modern medicine" is actually traditional medicine. Clinical trials are fairly new. Much of accepted medical practice was never tested as rigorously as new treatments are today.

    Much of traditional medicine has been subjected to hundreds of years of trial and error. It turns out, even leeches and bleeding, in very rare circumstances, do have beneficial effects.

    I think there is a specific type of blood clotting ailment that occurs in injured joints for which there is nothing better than a leech. Still, if a doctor recommended it to me, I'd get a second, maybe a third opinion.

  6. May 3, 2004 #5
    There are many things in orthodox medicine that aren't backed by scientific evidence, there are lots of stuff backed by scientific evidence not in orthodox medicine. Saying garbage like, Doctors make a lot of money ergo you should be one, is probably a reason why pharmaceutical companies own medicine and you must respect the ritalin. When people decide to refuse to believe in traditional medicine can be because of many things, but I can't imagine they sincerely believe their criticism unless they were really cheated by a hoax.

    Given all the crap on alternative medicine you can find at any bookstore, it's pretty easy to see new perspectives without spending a few thuosand dollars. There are loonies out there, and sometimes submitting yourself to being a human pincushion is the only way for sure to see if we cheated you or not.

    The body does have the natural ability to heal itself, and orthodox medicine does not respect that. It's all about covering the symptoms and forgetting about the underlying illness. Yes, that's right. Evolution says you need ritalin and other increasingly toxic drugs to keep your dopamine high on amphetamines like this :biggrin:.
  7. May 3, 2004 #6


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    have to agree with quddu, accupuncture is a very effective way to treat certain illness and pain. i have known many people who will visit an accupuncturist once and their ailment is cured. modern medicine at the same time has given us longer healthy lives, but in general, i think most of america (don't think as much as other nations) relies on prescription drugs too much to stay "healthy". i would be curious to know what adrenaline says about this topic.
  8. May 3, 2004 #7
    Thanks for that Njorl and Esperanto. I don't see how anyone can reject all of traditional medicine (unless they've suffered @ the hands of a con). I forgot exactly what - but there's something in traditional Chinese medicine that was only 'discovered' in the 1920's. I 'll post it when I remember.

    "Evolution says you need ritalin and other increasingly toxic drugs to keep your dopamine high on amphetamines like this"
  9. May 3, 2004 #8
    Maybe this is a little off-topic, but IMHO there is a nice analogy I like to use to understand the difference between modern and traditional medicine:

    If you're trying to lose weight- you're told to go on a diet. But people don't think to themselves "I will to stay on the diet for the rest of my life or change my eating habits permeamently (e.g. eat less/avoid this type of food) in order to not lapse back into bad health".
    Another (better) analogy I like is that of the Headache. Now, we get a headache and we take an Asprin and thats it. We never stop to think "Why did I get that stupid headache ? Maybe I should stop the source of the ache instead of numbing the brain. Maybe I should get more sleep etc..." This is a non-traditional attitude towards health.
  10. May 3, 2004 #9


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    My feeling is this:

    If something works, it will "cure" or at least make more people feel better than a placebo. Western medicine, in order to be distributed goes through many, many trials to make sure that it actually does something.

    There are no such restrictions for traditional medicines (at least in the US). Anyone can say anything is a new cure, you find a few people who had it work for them, and pow: instant fortune.

    If traditional medicines work, excellent. More power to them. The danger lies in people believing they work when there have been no trials to prove they do anything except for placebo effect.
  11. May 3, 2004 #10
    True. The more advanced traditional medicinal are not unaware of the placebo effect -I'm apealing for open-mindedness. It's true that health is not a subject to be taken lightly. A danger also lies in people rejecting Or accpeting whole-heartedly anything without due consideration. It's called stereotyping and is against the scientific spirit.
    I think we agree on this - but the problem lies in the fact that when the theoretical explanations of the way the medicine operates is not done in modern scientific terms. People are sometimes put off by the explanations (and yes...I know...also by the con artists and hoaxes..).
    Last edited: May 3, 2004
  12. May 3, 2004 #11


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    My view of the overall value of "traditional" medicine comes from the difference in average life expectancy from now vs 100 years ago.
  13. May 3, 2004 #12
    I know this will sound controversial, but life-expectancy is pretty useless when you got a low quality of life. As for 100 years ago - let's look further back because 100 years ago I'm guessing traditional had disapeared (of whatever there was left of it) in the Europe and America. I have a feeling the statistics are different for China for example - before the traditional medicine had almost been totally replaced by modern medicine.

    At the risk of sounding brash I will take a stab at saying - there is almost nothing in modern medicine that traditional medicine didn't have an equivalent treatment for. I am very sure the latest technology has developed modern medicine far beyond traditional techniques in certain areas and in the recent decades. But a Lot had already been dealt with fully 100's or even 1000's of years before being taken up by modern scientists. Would you agree>
  14. May 3, 2004 #13
    I heard somewhere that the old method of using maggots is still in common use because the maggots eat through the dead tissues and leave the living tissues alone. Its probably more uncomftorable than an IV solution but if it works, then it works.
  15. May 3, 2004 #14


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    Not even a little bit (and no, 100 years is all you have to go back). Just because there was a treatment, doesn't mean that treatment did anything. What you are calling "tradition medicine" is unrecognizable as such.

    How would traditional medicine deal with (for example):



    A bullet (arrow) in your chest?

    I really think you take it for granted how extrordinary modern medicine is. Things that 100 years ago were pretty much guaranteed to kill you are now either nonexistant or easily treatable.
    Last edited: May 3, 2004
  16. May 3, 2004 #15
    They can't actually say it's a cure, and you can often tell that they are careful not to make any claims in that direction. But they can have the testimonials and let the consumer draw the erroneous conclusion. "I took XX and got better" is not the same as "XX cured me," but that's the direction they want you to go.
  17. May 3, 2004 #16


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    Something is pretty much always better than nothing. Also, we're not talking just a small difference in life expectancy: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/tables/2003/03hus027.pdf In 1900 it was 47 (and remember, thats even including the fact that someone born in 1900 did get the benefit of some 20th century medicine depending on how long he lived). Today its 77. In the US, quality of life in old age is measured at retirement - something people today look forward to and the average person born in 1900 never lived to see.
  18. May 3, 2004 #17
    Without meaning any offence towards to the traditional medicinal community in the USA I want to say that it is more pseudo-traditional medicine. I don't mean to make out as if traditional medicine and modern medicine oppose each other ,because they overlap.

    russ_waters: I will get back to you on the three examples you have given. Though I have no qualifications in medicine whatsoever I am expressing my opinion on the
    topic. I am confident traditional medicine had made some progress on the health problems you cited.
  19. May 3, 2004 #18
    You're right on the life-expetectancy statistics. Maybe it can be made better by allying with traditional medicine?
  20. May 3, 2004 #19
    Ok. Some quick searches on Google for Smallpox, Appendicitis, and chest-bullet-wound haven't shown much stuff. The bullet-wound is kinda unfair on ancient traditional medicine don't u think :D - I'll come up with something.
    But I wanna ask you something russ_waters - do you know how ahead-of-their-time the Chinese or Arab became in medicine? We we're still lessons from it during the late 1800s to the early 1900s. There are still a few things here and there that they're better than modern medicine @ I reckon. I'll give examples to illustrate he point. :D
  21. May 4, 2004 #20
    Homeopathy believes almost everything in modern medicine is bullcrap, me too. Excluding its ability to treat things like bullet holes everything in modern medicine is bad in my opinion. In 1900 1/4 of U.S. physicians practiced homeopathy. Now it's getting more famous but it's getting a bad name because it's hard to do it correctly and doing it right means less money.

    There's lots of different traditional medicines and weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. History isn't always passed on. History isn't often read when it is passed on. I am Canada!

    You bring a tear to my eye =(

    Traditional medicine aren't great money makers otherwise they'd be owned by the pharmaceutical companies who already own medicine. Unless you're thinking about those a dollar a pill penis enlargement pills touted as traditional whatever medicine.

    I am confused.

    Anyway, I think life-expectancy went down because of the industrial revolution. I'm also of the opinion that long long ago a sicko ancestor of us decided to torture an animal by roasting it and then take a bite out of it and said Hmm, that's delicious. Now we got clogged arteries. When I look at the things I am given by living in this suburbia hellhole, I realize, there's nothing increasing my life-span from living in this hellhole. They give me tapwater, woohoo! Modern medicine hides the illnesses from modern livestyle so you can keep on working for the giant corporations bent on world domination. Statistically vaccines do jack. Smallpox can kill itself. Get high on adderall. Get high on marijuana. Hurray for legal pillpushers, for illegal pillpushers, for everyone! Life-expectancy? I don't expect people to know 1/10 of the ingredients of the food they ate for breakfast let alone suspect annual rates of death can significantly increase when aliens blow up half the world. Because of modern medicine there's an increase of chronic diseases and decrease in acute diseases. Surprise!

    Money is the goal of modern medicine. If you disagree with me then you are an enemy of the REVOLUTION LAW ARMY Please see this thread.

    There are lots of alternative medicine crap you could learn, there's so many factors in determining life-span and taking into consideration how medicine works is one of them. You owe it to yourself not to believe at face value what crap people heard on sitcoms and regurgitated. I spread freaking new-age propaganda and I make me sick. I just want to say there's no reason why you haven't gotten a book on alternative medicine at your local bookstore.
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