Hope for some REAL change

The first medical conference I organized on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) was held back in 1991. And I remember being particularly impressed with the evidence supporting CAM for multiple sclerosis (MS).

Now, the whole nation is witness to these effects. Mitt Romney’s wife Ann was diagnosed with MS 14 years ago. But she has since made a remarkable comeback. And, as it turns out, she owes a great deal of her success to CAM.

In fact, in an exclusive interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN last week during the Republican National Convention, Ann and Mitt’s son Ben Romney, M.D., commented that alternative therapies are responsible for his mother’s wellbeing today.

Among the therapies Dr. Romney cited as beneficial for his mother were acupuncture, reflexology, herbal medicine, and animal-assisted therapy. (For example, Ann has spent a great deal of time caring for and riding horses). 

When the insensitive political attack dogs attempt to ridicule Mrs. Romney for her equestrian achievements, have they ever stopped to consider its therapeutic benefits for her?

My father-in-law (a newspaperman, not a physician) liked to quote Ronald Reagan (who, in turn was quoting Winston Churchill) when he said that “the best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse.”

I certainly found that to be true when recovering from chronic fatigue myself.

The ever-affable Wolf Blitzer (our former neighbor in Chevy Chase, MD), commented, “We know it works.”

Well, we certainly know that. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the government medical bureaucracy is still trying to deny it.   

While evidence has mounted on the failures of mainstream medicine and the success of alternatives, little meaningful change has come from Washington over the past quarter century. With rare exception, there has been no real leadership from politicians, bureaucrats, or even academic physicians and private philanthropists “committed” to CAM.

And unfortunately, over the past four years, the administration in Washington has only shown the American people the wrong end of the horse when it comes to healthcare.

But perhaps we can finally “hope” for a real “change” in the government’s attitude towards alternative medicine when the Romneys get to Washington, thanks to Ann’s personal experience. 

If nothing else, we simply need the bureaucrats to cut the red tape, get out of the way, and let sensible American consumers continue to vote with their feet and pocketbooks as they seek the only true healthcare reform. Affordable, effective, and safe alternative therapies.