This week’s Question is yet another spin-off of last week’s post about naturopaths.
Before I get to this week’s silliness, I’m going to take a moment to be a little more serious. Obviously, I have major qualms with naturopaths prescribing medications. And I have to admit a lot of skepticism about the scientific basis on which much of their treatments and diagnoses have been established. However, as some guy once wrote, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy. I don’t believe that medicine has a monopoly on the truth, and I will admit there are things we need to do better. If there are “complementary” or “alternative” practitioners who are genuinely applying the scientific method to their own practices, then I commend them to their work. Fair enough?
That said, there are a whole lot of quacks and frauds out there. I’ve written about “applied kinesiology” before, and as far as jaw-droppingly preposterous woo goes, it’s among my favorites. But it’s only one possible option in a diner-sized menu of gimcrackery and mumbo jumbo. Often these treatments and methods have sprung up out of concern surrounding various high-profile maladies, both real and imagined, none of which I feel especially motivated to list just now. (Sometimes when I get specific the comments get a mite spicy.)
We don’t encounter many of these treatment plans at my current practice, because we have a pretty strict “no woo” policy. However, once in a while we’ll get some kind of report from an alternative practitioner of some kind or another that makes us bang our heads against a wall. And sometimes, after prolonged banging, we think “well, if you can’t beat ’em, maybe join ’em?”
However, as they say in “Gypsy,” you gotta have a gimmick. In the exciting world of pseudo-medical smoke and mirrors, it’s not enough to latch onto someone else’s idea. No, one must come up with something new to stand out from the crowd. So my colleagues and I will sometimes try to concoct our own exciting new non-traditional treatments, which we will start offering here in our office for a reasonable fee any day now.
The idea that has gained the most traction, and has become a running joke for a couple of us, is what we’d be calling “cranial rinsing.” During this highly technical procedure, the patient is vigorously immersed up to the shoulders in a large vat of ice water, repeatedly if necessary. This provides a neurocognitive “deboot,” allowing the brain and body to recalibrate. It’s good for all manner of ailments and infirmities, from piles to palpitations, hives to hysteria. We’d be happy to book you an appointment. Because disentangling and re-coordinating an out-of-whack mind-body nexus can take quite some time, patients should give treatments plenty of time to work, and should be willing to come in for weekly sessions over a period of months or years without expecting to see obvious benefit.
(Note — it’s not funny to imagine doing this to real kids. But we would be happy to offer our services to certain parents.)
So that’s this week’s question — what would you add to the Saunders Protocol? What’s the voodoo that you’d do so well? Submissions should be both so ridiculous and transparently phony that it beggars belief anyone would pay for them, but also have a scientific-enough sounding benefit to be billable to insurance.