I am about to enter into a nursing program and so have been taking an introductory course on it.  For this course we had to attend presentations made by senior nursing majors that were essentially designs for research projects based on peer-reviewed articles but not actually carrying the research out in the real world.  This is the senior project and it places an emphasis on "evidence-based practice," which has been important in elevating nursing as a profession.

While looking at these presentations, I decided to go over to the one that talked about Therapeutic Touch (TT).  I thought at first that it was talking about the effects of a hands on approach to nursing that was examining the effects of touch on patients.

Nope.  It was actually about TT as a way to manipulate some sort of energy field that somehow extends beyond the human body yet isn't one of the fundamental physical forces or anything else that is recognized by science.  I held my tongue since his evaluator was listening at the time and the presenter noted that the evaluator knew all about it.  I was staring at them because it was so odd to see an open display of belief in something with, as far as I know, no evidence to support it (apart from religion).

I remember watching an episode of Penn & Teller Bullshit that dealt with new age medicine and such.  In the episode, they have a girl on who has/had the Guiness world record as the youngest person to have research published in a medical journal.  At age 9 she showed that 21 practitioners of TT did worse than chance at being able to blindly guess whether her hand was over their right or left hand.  They only guessed correctly 4.1/10 times on average.  That happened in '98.  Yet studies continue to be done on the effects of TT while still making the claim that practitioners can sense a universal human energy field or something and then make a patient better by manipulating it.

This seems like a horribly unscientific thing to do for a profession that is trying to back up its practices with evidence-based research.  It's false and gives patients false hope.  If the benefit of it is the placebo effect, then it should be taught in such a way that practitioners know this and understand how to use it without teaching a lie to a patient.  However, it appears that proponents of it are still making miracle claims.

So I suppose I'm nervous that I'm going to have to fight against bullshit like this while learning and while practicing.  I want to be able to call "bullshit" when I see something like this, but I think that it would ruffle to many feathers.

Does anyone here work in nursing (or medicine) and see anything like this?  What are your thoughts on TT or other "alternative" or "new age" "medicines"?  Have you ever dealt with nurses or doctors who insist on wasting your time with these things?

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I don't think anyone's arguing that physically touching someone or showing them undivided attention isn't an effective healing mechanism. The problem is when someone incorrectly says that a specific technique is what's doing the healing when there's no clinical research to back those claims up. It's intellectually dishonest.

Benefits from physical contact, showing of concern and attention and so forth? Sure, it's well documented that it has benefits.

Benefits from magical aura manipulation and 'adjusting chi'? No evidence, no clinical research, no demonstrated effects at all. 

Flim-Flam is Flim-Flam...but...a great full body massage with a happy ending is Nirvana.


Oh, and I was thinking "Here we go..."

Don't have time, and don't particularly care to deal with trolls. :P

I don't thing Gregg is a troll, even if he DID make the same joke I did.

Yeah, but Greg's Greg, and you're -- you.

As I read back thru that exchange, I think Stephy called Unseen a troll.

But then again if you type comments into the cyberspace long enough somebody at sometime will call you a troll...I see it more as a merit badge then something negative. :)

With all due respect to Unseen, which falls well into negative numbers, I have never been called a troll, and am not sure how that would be considered a "badge of courage."

It's really fun though, if you get the right people egging you on.

Case in point: http://horseysurprise.tumblr.com/

Dear, I'd be careful getting started with Unseen...lol. He's...a character. I'll admit that half the reason I'm posting here is to brag about having an atheist girlfriend. :D


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