on holism

image by virtualreality on Flickr
image by virtualreality on Flickr

“If holistic-health advocates were content with encouraging sensible preventive medicine or with criticizing the economic organization of American medicine, we might be enthusiastic, but they are not. If the movement were without influence on American life, we would be indifferent, but it is not. Holistic medicine is a pablum of common sense and nonsense offered by cranks and quacks and failed pedants who share an attachment to magic and an animosity toward reason.

Too many people seem willing to swallow the rhetoric—even too many medical doctors—and the results will not be benign. At times, physicians may find themselves in sympathy with the holistic movement, because some fragment of the rhetoric rings true, because of certain practices and attitudes they encounter in their daily work with colleagues and patients, or because of dissatisfaction with the economic and social organization of medicine. One hopes they will speak bluntly, but it does no good to join forces with cranks and quacks, magicians and madmen.”

C. Glymour and D. Stalker from “Engineers, cranks, physicians, magicians”; N Engl J Med. 1983 Apr 21;308(16):960-4

One thought on “on holism”

  1. Sure, like everything else, there’s no BS filter on the Internet quacks. I’m rather fond of Andrew Weil, who has an MD and an ND. He makes no excuses — “If you break an arm, have pneumonia — go to the emergency room!” but recommends a healthier lifestyle as well.

    Caveat emptor, like everything else. Keep ahead of the real research, stay informed, and you can get a lot out of what you find. If not, you get hurt. How is this different from other areas?

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