Fads vs. Science in the Field of Alternative Medicine

The Fad Juices, Fruits, Supplements, Electromagnetic, Ionic, Energetic Therapies, & Alternative Healers & MLM Companies that promote them

I was at a party the other day and I noticed for the umpteenth time people wearing anti radio wave necklaces and bracelets, medallions with special powers to heal and ward off bad energy, and people eating some of the oddest concoctions of foods around.

I was drawn into a conversation about a particular berry and mostly the main MLM that provides the beverage. This person made a comment that I found not only offensive, but inaccurate and I associated it with the epidemic of the culture at large. People will believe anything they are told as long as it is only partially true, and they will not, for the most part, do further research to verify claims. This person claimed that his multi-level marketing company was the ONLY company to have done double blind research on its juice product and none of the other companies had done so – thereby verifying the efficacies of his brand and denying the quality of all other brands or companies. Oh, the other products and brands may be good, but his company is by far and away the best on the market today. I am not saying anything positive or negative about that particular product or any other product for that matter. What I am saying is that the conversation is not based in truth or fact but in folklore and hyperbole.

We are moving into an age where people are running away from modern medicine because of the side effects and costs associated with most forms of our modern health industry. People are starting to come back towards the folklore medicine and naturally derived products. Due to the massive movement toward these natural means of health and wellness, those of us in the field of “Alternative Medicine” have a responsibility to our customers and to our communities to offer products that have credibility and fact behind them. We have chosen to be the caretakers of our communities and as such must take that responsibility very seriously and with a heightened level of humility and honor if we wish to hold the rank of healer that our ancestors held in the highest respect.

Having been in the field of Alternative Health and Medicine for the entirety of my adult life, I have seen scams and fads come and go. I have seen companies and products rise from nothing and fall back down into the abyss – mostly because the products they were selling were over played, over marketed, and over promoted, and completely under researched and under scientifically studied and proven. When will the alternative health industry realize that in order to have ANY credibility in the marketplace and any legitimacy, they will have to begin doing clinical trials, advanced scientific research, and regulate at a pharmaceutical grade standard the production and manufacturing of products.

One of the biggest problems in the industry is the lack of standardization. Companies do not use the same potency, extracts, or parts of a product in each batch. They do not test the mix of synergistic products to validate that the mix is even and in exact proportion to what is on the bottle. They do not verify potency of the product for due to seasons, soil conditions, and any number of other variables including shipping, products will tend to lose potency. Most companies do not utilize the extracts of an herb, instead they use the whole herb; yet the extracts are the active potent ingredient in most cases that creates the action in your body that you are seeking. The extracts are also much more potent in smaller doses.

I have become both wary and skeptical regarding the vast levels of “Snake Oil” sold and touted within the industry.

Although I do not hold a view that Western Medicine or Western Thinking is the end all be all of medicine (in fact in another article I will expound on the lack of evidence and efficacy in most modern day treatments as well), those who do hold the view that the Western methods are deliberately not designed for cures but for money making treatments only have ignored some of the great benefits that modern day science has given us.  One of these great benefits is the ability to do studies that can give very accurate data about the efficacy of a given treatment or substance. In the case of an herbal- or plant-derived formula, there are studies that can be done to determine the benefit of the individual plants, and then one by one adding in other products to create synergy studies on how they work with each other. In the realm of electromagnetic therapies and energy therapies, there are double blind studies as well as sophisticated tracking equipment that can measure heat alterations, circulation alterations, and then take blood, urine, and saliva and even hair and DNA samples to judge before, during, and after treatments.

This amazing ability of Western science and modern technology when brought together in a synergistic way with alternative therapies can then lead to a heightened level of PROOF POSITIVE results that then gives each modality a greater story and even more so a faith that the claims are fact and that the stories are real.

In order to accomplish something like this however, both parties must work with each other rather than against each other. The goal must be a common one. The monetary gain of treatment should be secondary to the greater good of a cure. Fads are only fads because for the time they are unproven to be either correct or incorrect. As soon as fact falls, the fad fades or becomes main stream thereby losing its moniker FAD.

Imagine being a snake oil salesman back in the old west – having hundreds of testimonials by people who had true faith, yet having no backing of science as proof. You could make dollars upon dollars selling false hope and not be doing a bad thing necessarily, but also not quite doing the RIGHT thing. Now a family comes to you and the child has a disease that cannot be cured by your Snake Oil. Yet that false hope has caused the family to forego other forms of proven treatment for the claim of a cure. The child dies and the snake oil has failed. Multiply this by hundreds of thousands of women and children and fathers and brothers dying due to claims that have no basis in science other than that of folklore.

See the difference between the snake oil salesman and the FAD SCIENCE salespeople is that FADs can now be studied and either proven or dis proven by modern methods of science. It takes a little extra money and a little ingenuity, but if we began systematically studying folklore and putting it to the test of science, we would not only have a greater acceptance for the true efficacy of a given treatment, but we would also have more people truly Healthy and living a lifestyle that is focused on maintaining that. If we take care of ourselves and feel good and healthy within our own bodies, the likelihood that we would spread that around to our neighbors is greater. We treat ourselves with that sort of respect and awe, and all of a sudden we begin to treat others well and we then treat our planet with respect and it multiplies on and on.

I implore the manufacturers of herbal supplements and some of the more modern electromagnetic and energy therapies to take the time and spend the money and study in a scientific way all of your products and treatments. Come back to us with PROVEN SCIENCE that is INDISPUTABLE. Your FACTS will outsell all of your claims and folklore and stories for years to come. I also implore those that give grants and invest in science and technology within the health field to do so with companies who would take the time to make sure what they are doing is accurate and factual. Lastly, once we get accurate factual information, utilizing procedures to standardize the products and treatments will set us above the rest. So many of our manufacturing companies do not use the latest testing and standardizing equipment thereby putting out an inferior product with an ingredient that is substandard to its tested efficacy.

Science is not the enemy of natural medicine; it is by every sense of the imagination the binder that will connect our modern medicine with ancient traditions, rituals, and folklore. It is only with science that we can prove our claims and provide our people with the best chance for survival in the upcoming generations and, most importantly, it is the only way for us to be selling real medicine rather than just being another snake oil salesman pushing the drugs of wishes vs. the reality that while hope is great medicine, we all like it to work whether we believe in it OR NOT.

Copyright Ari Gronich 2010

Owner of Achieve Health USA




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