Friday, May 18, 2012

Snake Oil Pulling

So, I am not totally opposed to naturopathic medicine or anything. It's interesting, my family is 50% crunchy-granola-hippy-flower-child-new-age-touch-therapy razzmatazz but also 50% science-minded skepticism. A firm background in the harder-core sciences coincides with a strong belief that we don't know everything there is to know. But, when it comes down to it, we just aren't gullible enough for most of that crap.
Now, I am not saying that trying the natural methods to fix something that is wrong with you is a bad idea. I successfully treated a moderate flare up of my chronic depression with St John's wort for a while, and I have had luck using garlic oil to help an ear infection (I didn't have health insurance for a while, can you tell?) and hey I am still willing to take valerian and flaxseed oil and whatever. But, the point is that this stuff has been subjected to actual clinical trials. I didn't start taking the flaxseed oil until I had read the extremely dry scientific papers about omega-3.
Anyhow, the point is that having a chronic health condition is like painting a target on your forehead for people who have read about a guy who read about a guy who had an aunt who tried something for her arthritis and wow now she is cured. Wow, guys. I am super impressed. My neighbor tried telling me that my problems would all be solved by drinking a glass of water with a spoon full of baking soda in it four times a day. That is basically like chugging a whole tube of Airborne every day. Which might feel like a scouring-pad of blessings when you are catching the sniffles and have a sore throat, but otherwise? Really? Yeah. But, this was also the neighbor who asked me what natural methods I was using to treat my cat's hyperthyroidism. I am using the method of giving her the drugs she needs to take twice a day for the rest of her life because it's proven to work and hyperthyroidism is fatal, thanks. I won't dick around with my pet's health even in cases when I might dick around with my own. Your cat/dog can't tell you that your tricks aren't working.
So, anyway, the latest-greatest in the world of treating your illnesses (whatever they may be) naturally is "oil pulling" which is benign enough that I suppose it won't do you all that much damage if you are in to it. But, that is about all I can say for it. If you haven't heard of oil pulling yet it basically means you take a bunch of (vegetable or seed-based) oil in your mouth and swish it around for twenty minutes every day. Now, I can see how this might be good for your oral health, okay. Because it rinses off some of the crap that flossing leaves behind (and nobody really flosses enough, right?). But there is no bloody freaking way in heck that it will cure my rheumatism, give me crystal-clear skin, and change the spark plugs in my car all at the same time (you know what I mean).
Now, if you have conducted a double blind study and have proven that this works on everything in the whole world, then great! When you have that paper published let me know and I will buy a copy of the New England Journal of Medicine that week. Until then, I don't really want to hear about how it "draws the toxins from your body" because dude, seriously? That is not how your body works.

(Also? It triggers my gag reflex just TALKING about it! Gross, dudes!)


  1. I adore you, you make me laugh and I completely agree with you. Keep writing! I look forward to your posts every day!

    1. Thanks! It's nice to know that my babble amuses someone besides me :)

  2. The only natural remedies I believe in are herbal teas, and those have very specific uses with things that aren't as difficult as my fibromyalgia or your rheumatoid. Just recently I had some tea last night that actually worked in putting me to sleep and making me feel rested upon waking. And I actually woke up with relaxed muscles instead of tense ones, but that's probably because I actually slept well! Fibromyalgia is just way too difficult to treat with water and baking soda...

    1. I like valerin to help me sleep/relax the muscles. It's pretty good. The blessing with valerian is that you can get it in pills now. When I was a kid my mother would give it to us as a tincture. It smells and tastes so bad that as soon as she mentioned it we would suddenly get "very sleepy" and think we could probably fall asleep just fine on our own, thanks