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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Yeah, I have had an osteopathic doctor for my sinus problems and he was very good.  I liked how he dealt with me.  However, I've met a few of the students here and they have mentioned this TT thing as well.  Thankfully, though, they have to pass the same exams to become doctors as a regular MD (as far as I know)

This is just one more example of what I keep saying: that education - especially science education - in this country is appallingly poor.

Along those same lines, a Congressional panel began yesterday questioning administration officials, asking them about media reports that they have been covering up visitations from extraterrestrials.  Seriously!

Those "media reports," of course came from sources like Glenn Beck and Alex Jones - looneys of the first order.

This would be funny if it weren't so frightening: we are being governed in this country by absolute IDIOTS. 

Don't let the charade of government confuse you. Many of our elected officials are idiots. However, we are not governed, but ruled, and by very intelligent people. Business is still getting done even though our government is stuck in a gridlock...it's just not the kind of business most people want to see. Investigations of ET are just one of the more inane episodes of the political pagentry that keeps the masses distracted.

This from England.....

Yeah, I've been hearing about homeopathy (mostly from James Randi).  I don't know if it has a hold in major medical establishments in the US yet, but I have seen some of the "products" on the shelf in the medicine area of our stores.  I think that this would be a great video to show to people to explain it.

I think I need to start brushing up on alternative medicine in order to be prepared for meeting it...

TED Talk - enjoy!!


A professional nursing program is essentially touting New Age religious horseshit? Someone should talk to the state licensing agency responsible for nursing schools.

As far as I can tell, there's no official coursework in it.  However, TT is addressed at some point in the program (most likely in a class that isn't devoted to it).  It's probably not required to learn about it to pass the RN-NCLEX exams, so it would probably be looked at as an elective course if anyone does teach it.

We should start an atheist band called the Woo Fighters.

When did massage become "alt" medicine? It's not in the same category as anything presupposing nonsense like auras or souls.

Massage to help muscle aches and other mechanical fatigue is not 'alternative' medicine.  Massage to cure cancer, or any infection is most certainly 'alternative' or whatever they call 'woo' these days.  It depends on the affliction that the therapy is targeting.  Acupuncture certainly works for some things, but definitely not for others.  Antibiotics won't cure a viral infection.  Ibuprofen won't cure heartache.

The waving of hands over an area of body without physical contact however, only cures a shortage of money, and that works for the practitioner, not the patient.

And so much of the 'works' with alternative medicine tends to fall under either the placebo effect or the (acknowledged) beneficial effect of personal contact and care as opposed to clinical detachment. The actual treatment does nothing at all at best or is unhealthy (or even dangerous) at worst.


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