Sheri Laine is an author, Diplomat of Acupuncture and the president of Eastern Medical Arts, licensed Acupuncturist, Herbalist and Nutritionist. Sheri focuses on Integrative Lifestyle Medicine. She is a frequent speaker at national conferences, a blogger and columnist for Counselor magazine, and a regular contributor to Recovery View online journal. Sheri Laine also developed the L.A.I.N.E System: Learn, Align, Inform, Natural and Energy. You can check out her website here: http://www.balancedenerqi.com/.
Now, we are all about the science here, so we can understand why some people might be a little sceptical of what effectively might be a placebo. However, even paracetamol can be a placebo, but an effective one that can help people feel better. You see, even placebos can have their place in medicine!
With proper scientific inquiry and an open mind, we feel that many alternative medical methods can be demystified and integrated with other medical treatments. Whilst there is no definitive evidence that treatments like acupuncture work for severe pain, there is evidence that acupuncture can be effective for fibromyalgia, chemotherapy- or postoperative- induced nausea and chronic headaches. Of course, acupuncture will only work effectively when done by a licensed practitioner. Avoid unlicensed practitioners like the plague – they are quacks and may well end up making your condition worse!
Much of Sheri Laine’s work centers around the Chinese concept of “Qi”. Qi literally translates as “breath”, “air” or “gas”, and is often used to mean “energy”, “life force” or “energy flow”. The idea is that every living being, from plants through to animals, have qi. This concept is found not only in Chinese medicine, but also martial arts. Similar concepts can be found in Hinduism and Buddhism – known as prana, for you yoga enthusiasts out there.
Whilst all this might sound a little unscientific and even somewhat “Jedi-ish”, we would like to remind people that learning about one’s pressure points and circulation system can prove to be extremely useful to know about – whether it’s giving (and hopefully receiving) massages or in self-defence! There are also significant benefits to practising Yoga, and the effects of meditation on the brain are well known (if contested to a greater or lesser extent).
Anyone who knows anything about medicine and illness will realise that one of the biggest causes of sickness is stress. Related to stress is fatigue and pain; and, the more fatigued you are, the more you’re likely to get ill. The mind is an extremely powerful organ, so anything that helps ease pressure on it – even if it’s a placebo – can prove beneficial. Perhaps unsurprisingly, happier, stress-free people are less likely to get sick and/or recover from sickness a lot quicker.
This means that it is probably best not to call all traditional Eastern medicine a “placebo”. The first reason for this is because it is a bit of a misnomer to call medicine today “Western medicine” – it is “medicine”, plain and simple, with science and evidence being the backbone. Traditional Western medicine involved potentially hacking people’s limbs off for no reason and poisoning them with lead. Before the late 1800s, most doctors were quacks who got away with all sorts of nasty things due to their money, power and status.
The second reason is because, if we take “Western medicine” to mean “whatever works, with the evidence to back it”, this would naturally mean involving practices that might well seem alien to us. We here love the Western Enlightenment and all the positives it has bought, but attached to that is a love of all the Eastern philosophies that helped influence the Western Enlightenment and realising that the best science, maths and medicine comes from everywhere!
We here at Dr. Frank want evidence-based and rational medical treatments, preferably with as little invasiveness as possible. In order to elevate the conversation, this means looking at all medical systems with an open but critical mind, not one beholden by ideologies. So go on and join the discussion, and tell us how you feel.