Prying open one eye in the land of the blind

Since Insiders’ Cures is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, we like to keep an eye on our two local hubs of medicine–Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. JHU is one of the top private medical schools in the country. And the University of Maryland, of course, is our tax-supported state university.

Like the rest of academia, both institutions have grown tremendously in recent decades. They have even made some room to bring in complementary/alternative medicine–up to a point.

But there is a great deal of staff turnover at these organizations. Except the top. So it can be hard to keep up with new programs. Or to even see one through.

Plus, as I pointed out in my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, these “integrative” medicine centers are not sufficiently integrated into their main medical centers. And the left hand rarely knows what the right hand is doing.

We recently saw a perfect example of this.

Delia Chiaramonte, MD, with the University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Medicine recently reviewed my book Your Emotional Type with Michael A. Jawer. Her review ran in the May/June 2013 issue of Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.

In our book, Michael and I examine seven different mind-body healing techniques. We also explain that not everyone responds in the same way to these techniques. For example, acupuncture may work for your migraines. But it might not work for your spouse’s migraines.

To learn which technique will work best for you, you must first determine your “emotional type.” (To learn which type you are, take this short quiz. It’s also in our book.)

You must know your emotional type before trying a mind-body healing technique. It’s the only way to make sure you get good results.

Unfortunately, most people don’t know their emotional type. And they don’t know its importance for finding the right therapy. So they pick a mind-body technique quite blindly. Or, an “integrative” medicine practitioner blindly selects one for them.

As a result, the technique may not work. This helps perpetuate the misconception that mind-body therapies may be ineffective.

The truth is, they aren’t ineffective. They’re just not effective for everyone.

My colleague, Joyce Frye, DO, described this quandary quite perfectly in a recent interview with Everyday Health. She said, “It’s not a question of if you should use these alternative and complementary therapies. It’s a question of using them correctly.”

Dr. Frye contributed several chapters to my medical textbooks over the years. And  she was briefly associated with the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. (Again, typical of high staff turnover.)

As you can imagine, I was excited to see the Center for Integrative Medicine review our book. Indeed, researchers there just recently reviewed the effectiveness of mind-body techniques. And they uncovered the same results predicted by our emotional boundary concept.

So what did Dr. Chiaramonte have to say months later about our book on emotional boundaries?

The overall review was quite favorable. But at one point, she stated, “Those looking for firm evidence for the authors’ claims will be disappointed.”

Ironically, Dr. Chiaramonte needed not look any farther for that evidence than right outside her own cubical at our local state university.

As I just explained, researchers at her very own medical center had already reviewed mind-body therapies. And they proved our emotional boundary concept, as we published in the March 2013 Insiders’ Cures newsletter.

In the end, Dr. Chiaramonte said our book, “encourages us to move away from ‘one size fits all’ medicine and may lead to research that one day will explain why some people do not respond to complementary therapies even when they entirely expect that they will.”

Ah, here we go again. Scientists love to run around in circles. We always need more research proving what we already know. It’s the inevitable conclusion of every research study and review.

Of course, this helps keep “integrative” medicine practitioners employed in the first place. In fact, these “integrative” centers can’t make the bottom line on revenues from medical practice alone. And that’s because the economic model doesn’t work when large, expensive, complex medical centers and hospitals offer CAM therapies.

At least this review recognized that mind-body therapies often don’t work, even when patients and therapists alike “entirely expect that they will.”

Right now, except for hypnosis, most doctors have absolutely no basis whatsoever to  decide which CAM therapy to offer which patient. Except that the patient shows up, and the clinic happens to have X, Y, or Z therapist on staff. Of course, the patient has to pay for their therapy out-of-pocket too.

So…

When will “integrative” medicine stop stumbling around blindly and at least open one eye?

Or better yet, at our local state university, perhaps one “hand” could check with another “hand” to learn what their own reviewers have already proven? And maybe, just maybe, it could do this before concluding that we still need more research to prove it!

Sources:

1. “Review of Your Emotional Type: Key to the Therapies That Will Work for You by Michael A. Jawer and Marc S. Micozzi Rochester VT: Healing Arts Press; 2011. ISBN-10: 1594774315,” EXPLORE May/June 2013, 9(3): 181-182

2. “Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Crohn’s Disease,” Everyday Health (www.everydayhealth.com), 11/28/2011

3. “Hypnotherapy,” University of Maryland Medical Center (www.umm.edu), 5/7/2013


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