Medical Quacks

Medical Quacks?

Trevor McDonald of newscaster fame recently featured a programme concerning health practitioners, one being a Dr Gillian McKeith who heralded a Channel 4 programme called: ‘You are what you eat.’

I was intriged by the ITV programme – ‘Tonight with Trevor McDonald’. Although I had not seen Dr Mckeith’s series myself, I had been asked various questions about her health advice and having had to re-advise my worried friends and family, I couldn’t help but be interested in the expose of this therapist.

I then mentally switched off from the programme (as my knitting had gone awry) but I thought I then went on to hear the reporter suggest that one could not trust alternative therapists and that one should only get advice from one’s GPs. I thought it was a shame that Dr Gillian McKeith’s alledged practices had brought the alternative therapist into disrepute.

Firstly, let me state categorically that as an alternative therapist, I always advise my patients to consult their GP if they have any concerns about their health. Which they did in some cases and then came back to me.

However, I have to say that it was my own experiences of consulting GPs, that encouraged me to look for alternative solutions about my health some years back. That was why I consulted alternative practitioners and became one myself. During my career of life, I was feeling very ill and consulted my GP who took one look at me and asked me to complete a questionnaire in a Woman’s magazine. The GP then triumphantly declared that I was suffering from depression, as the magazine article seemed to suggest. The GP did grudgingly take a blood sample at my insistence, which later showed that I was a tiny bit under the norm as far as red blood cells were concerned. The GP wanted me to have some anti-depressents so convinced that I was depressed. I saw another GP and it was then that a second blood test was carried out to test the amount of iron in each blood cell and I was found to be very anaemic.

This was nearly 14 years ago now and an unfortunate incident, although I remained pragmatic about GPs. GPs, I decided, are not God. They are there in a capacity to give advice. It is up to me, the individual, to accept that advice, challenge it, or seek a second opinion. However, the incident led me to query the medical profession that I had until that time held in high regard, as if they were God. I also wanted to find out why I suffered from anaemia and so I was led to research and enquiry into alternatives.

Now as a practitioner I still remain pragmatic. The GP is a wonderful practitioner. They are generally good at diagnosis. They should be everyone’s first port of call where health is concerned. However they are not infallible. And the individual should be responsible for their own health and seek out other opinions about their condition and decide for themselves which therapy works. Or do you want to remain a baby in this ‘nanny’ state of ours? But I will issue a word of warning – a crucial health concern could be missed if you do not consult your GP as well.

There are alternatives to our National Health Service. Alternatives that are as ancient as civilisation itself. Some treatments that are seen to be alternative now, like massage, were used by the health service at the time. During the time of the 1st world war – massage was always used after surgery to stimulate the blood supply and speed the healing process. It was a very successful treatment but time consuming. As patient needs increased the nurse giving massage was replaced by electrical stimulating machines and so physiotherapy was born. And now the physiotherapist is so busy that their time constraints allow less and less time for the patient. With alternative practitioners you are at least allowed adequate time for a full diagnosis of your condition and time for the treatment itself. Hippocrates advocated the use of massage and food to heal and was considered the Father of Medicine. In this fast world of ours, cheaper and quicker healing methods have replaced Hippocrates’ time honoured successes, to the detriment, in some cases I feel, to the patient.

Which ever professional you seek, whether it is a GP or a plumber the same rule of thumb applies. Seek a professional that has been recommended by someone you know and trust. If you don’t know anyone then check the professional out through their professional organisation. Listen to their advice and then take some time to decide for yourself if you are happy with that advice. Get a second opinion if you are uncertain. With the use of the internet it is easier and easier for us to lay hands on facts and figures although with therapists like our Madame McKeith it is a little more confusing. However please remember the health professional is not God and cannot perform miracles and sometimes one is ill and it takes time to heal … God willing.

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