12 June 2009

Oh Jeebus

The infiltration of woo into medical academia continues apace : Respectful Insolence
BALTIMORE - At one of the nation's top trauma hospitals, a nurse circles a patient's bed, humming and waving her arms as if shooing evil spirits. Another woman rubs a quartz bowl with a wand, making tunes that mix with the beeping monitors and hissing respirator keeping the man alive.

They are doing Reiki therapy, which claims to heal through invisible energy fields. The anesthesia chief, Dr. Richard Dutton, calls it "mystical mumbo jumbo." Still, he's a fan.

"It's self-hypnosis" that can help patients relax, he said. "If you tell yourself you have less pain, you actually do have less pain."

Alternative medicine has become mainstream. It is finding wider acceptance by doctors, insurers and hospitals like the shock trauma center at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Man this is disgusting.  I did a significant chunk of my residency at shock trauma, and it was a pretty rigorous place at the time.  It's really disheartening to see quackery infesting that institution too.  Orac has (as usual) much more, and is much more eloquent that I could be, so I'll leave it there and encourage you to just go read what he wrote.


  1. Sigh. I'm new to your blog, but this I had to comment on.

    I know a lot of people who swear by reiki, including one woman who performs it on her cat (!).

    If it helps people relax, go for it. One of the downsides to "therapies" of this sort (other than the obvious fact that they do absolutely nothing), however, is that there always seems to be an accompanying condemnation of anyone who utilizes Western medicine.

    I've had rheumatoid arthritis for 23 years, since I was 2. I've found incredible relief with a number of recently developed drugs. But the number of people who tell me I should just give them up and try their birch-bark supplements, accupuncture or other who-knows-what, is shocking. Or that I must have had a toxic lifestyle to get this disease. Right. Because I spent most of my first 2 years getting high and eating cheese-dogs.

    Sorry, this is a long comment from someone you've never heard of. This just fires me up.

  2. I was taught the basics of reiki as well as 'healing touch' in nursing school. It was presented as something that nurses could learn to help their patients. We had to test on the basics of reiki (including doing some of the stuff).

    I'm sure you'd be shocked to learn that I wrote a letter of complaint. I was pissed to say the least.

  3. Ug, do NOT remind me. STC is still a pretty rigorous place with excellent nursing staff. Experiencing how good the nursing staff at STC made me realize how horrid it is at most of the other places they send us med students as part of out training. The Reiki stuff is basically led completely by the nursing staff, but I think there is one "CAM" doc associated. I blame the fact that we have a whole CAM institute. Again, UG.

  4. I agree entirely. Shock Trauma Infested With Evil Spirits

    And don't forget Homeopathy Week - Shouldn't it be Diluted?

    word verification - mythur

    It is psychic. This couldn't possibly be a coincidence!


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