The Kootenays are renowned for liberal thinking and relaxed lifestyles. Fertile ground for tolerance has also attracted a prodigious number of alternative health offerings. Dozens of online and shopfront businesses offer everything from naturopathy to ear-candling.
Most offer nutritional advice, suggest physical exercise and lifestyle changes. Some may even include meditation and mindfulness in their offerings. Most, however, are unable to cross the basic scientific threshold of efficacy in other portions of their practices. When their claims of equivalency to scientific medicine and healing are made, these ‘alternatives’ become potentially dangerous.
Naturopathy for example rejects germ theory. It insists that infectious germ activity during illnesses are the result of, not a cause of disease. It supposes that a ‘vital force’ exists and can be supported, manipulated and harmonized to affect the body healing itself.
Homeopathy postulates that diseases represent a disturbance in the body’s ability to heal itself and that only a small stimulus is needed to begin the healing process. Core to homeopathy is dilution. Made from one part of a substance it is diluted with either nine or ninety-nine parts of distilled water. It is theorized that the smaller the dose, the more powerful the effect.
Traditional Chinese medicine includes various forms of of herbal medicine, cupping therapy, acupuncture, massage, bone-setting, exercise and dietary therapy. Described as “fraught with pseudoscience,” the majority of its treatments have no logical mechanism of action.
In Reiki, the practitioner is seeking to transmit ‘Universal Life Energy’ to the client. It is a form of energy healing in which hands are placed just off the body or lightly touching the body or can be done long distance. The intention is to create deep relaxation, to help speed healing, reduce pain, and decrease other symptoms.
The liberal thinking and relaxed lifestyle in the Kootenays ought never overwhelm rational thinking insofar as our health is concerned. Integrated energy therapy, crystal healing, reflexology, ear-candling and those mentioned above all bear a great deal of skepticism when claims of ‘healing’ are offered. For all intents and purposes it appears that ‘Alternative Medicine’ is simply an ‘alternative to medicine.’