Friday, October 15, 2010

There is no Scientific Proof of This But...

Woody Allen recently quipped that he is against old age. There’s no advantage to it. While I don’t feel “old” per se, I cannot deny the fact I am aging and most likely somewhere in the prime of my life. As regular readers know I am an avid jogger. I always have been, dating back to the time I used to run marathons in my late-teens and early twenties.

A few months ago, my right hip began to bother me. It wasn’t a persistent pain, but a sudden, sharp one that would come and go without apparent reason. I figured this had something to do with arthritis. On top of this, my knees are not what they used to be and I started getting this kind of bloated feeling in them often after I ran. While I’m listing complaints I should throw in that for the past 18 months the first knuckle on my right hand was also hurting in a dull, continual fashion, often making it difficult to open smaller twist-off containers like those on bottled water.

I don’t complain much (at least about what I consider to be minor aches and pains). I figure it comes with the terrain of aging. I keep running and try to remain as active as possible. But, my ears perked up about two months ago when Jennifer’s dad was telling me that he had a similar ailment in his hip and that it had vanished a few days after he started taking organic apple cider vinegar.

So, I thought I would give it a try. I did a bit of research online. Enough to know there is nothing out there that scientifically confirms this “remedy” does anything at all of benefit to the human body. The scientific community remains skeptical. I also discovered that people take their vinegar a multitude of ways, but mostly with a bit of honey and water.

I have always been more of the straight-shooter type. So, I decided to give it a try with just two tablespoons (mixed with nothing) first thing in the morning. It is not the most pleasant way to start the day, but I wanted to see if the vinegar would work in a pristine application. So, I started my mornings with my double-shot of vinegar, made coffee, when upstairs to wash my hair, came back down after letting the vinegar sit, slightly burning, on my esophagus and stomach for 5-10 minutes and had my first cup of coffee.

I repeated this rather obsessively for several days. By day three the pain in my hip was reduced to a barely detectable sensation. Next, my knuckle on my hand became completely usable and pain-free again. After a couple of weeks, I no longer felt discomfort in my left knee (though my right knee is still not 100% it is much better) and my hip pain completely vanished.

Now, I consider myself a rational person. I am always interested in the latest scientific information on health, astronomy, archeology, cognitive science, and a wide-range of other topics. But, in recent years, I have come to discount the scientific method itself as just another form of human prejudice. Sure, the method accomplishes remarkable things like landing us on the moon and virtually wiping out a host of diseases that used to commonly plague humankind, but I also know that much of how the human body works, for example, remains unknown.

Human beings are healed without any apparent medical explanation. Human beings die without any specific medical explanation. My personal experience is that more times than not physicians are little more than glorified automobile mechanics. They make educated guesses based upon often flawed reasoning or scientific studies that are in need of revision. They probably help far more than they hurt. But theirs is not an exact science. As a rule, they certainly like to elevate their frequently inadequate knowledge to god-like status for themselves.

Occasionally, the good ones work miracles. But, almost all of them believe that if there’s not empirical evidence supporting a treatment then they remain skeptical, sometimes passionately so.

Well, I’m an empiricist too about a great many things. However, nothing trumps my direct personal experience. You might believe my hip and knees and knuckle no longer hurt due to the conveniently labeled “placebo effect” but I would disagree. There’s no evidence that by suddenly taking apple cider vinegar I got all this relief from some kind of “faith” I had "projected" about it beforehand. The truth is, I was experimenting, I had no expectations. The results, in fact, were so pronounced that they shocked me.

My results were so favorable, Jennifer gave it a try. She said she experienced no relief at all. So, just like any other prescription or drug, your results may vary.

Apple cider vinegar is not the only “home-remedy” I’ve tried that has achieved positive results for me in my lifetime. 6-7 years ago I started taking Serrapeptase on a daily basis. At the time I had a ganglion cyst on my right wrist. For many years the cyst came and went. Then it came and stayed...and grew...over a period of time. My chiropractor (oh! another voodoo profession according to most physicians who desire to monopolize health care) was touting the advantages of this digestive enzyme to me.

What made me want to give it a try was its supposed advantage for your cardiovascular system. The enzyme is the secretion that silk worms use to chew their way out of their cocoons. Supposedly, it has powerful qualities for clearing out the plaque build-up in your circulatory system.

I still don’t know if it really helps my heart with plaque. But, about three months after taking it routinely, my cyst vanished and has never returned. My chiropractor told me that there are studies in Europe (not scientifically accepted of course) that indicate Serrapeptase is good for benign masses in women’s breasts and all sorts of other lumps and bumps that occur in the body.

The trick to Serrapeptase is that you have to take it on an empty stomach. Otherwise, your body treats it like a digestive enzyme. It will certainly aid in digestion but very little of it is absorbed in the bloodstream that way. Whereas, on an empty stomach it is almost completely absorbed into your circulatory system where it is, in turn, transferred throughout the body attacking masses and plaque wherever it resides.

My cyst has not come back in 6 years after hanging around for more than a decade.

Again, I make no claims for anyone beside myself. These are my experiences with treatments frowned upon by the orthodox power monger medical tyranny…er…community. So, both apple cider vinegar and Serrapeptase are normal parts of my rather robust supplemental regimen which is designed to work with my focus on diet and exercise.

When it comes to my health I firmly believe no one knows better about me than myself. I remain open to input from a variety of sources including information gathered through my annual physical with my personal physician, who thinks a lot of what I do is a waste of money. But, I follow a great deal of his advice as well. Physicians might have overblown egos and a rather myopic view of the human body but that doesn't mean they have no insights to offer.

The truth is I have rarely suffered an illness of any kind over the past dozen years of following my supplements, my tendency toward the CRON approach to diet, and exercise. Jennifer and my daughter may get colds or viruses while I get a mild runny nose or something.

I have noticed a greater tendency toward seasonal allergies than I used to have, however.

At any rate, the laboratory of my body is a fairly stable balance of both accepted and non-traditional approaches to health. Other factors I try to remain cognizant of include stress (I practice yoga), overindulgence (particularly of alcohol, though this one is pretty much taking care of itself - I simply can’t party like I used to), and getting enough rest (which means more rather than less these days).

While physicians know a lot, they don’t know as much as they think they do. The scientific method is but another form of religion, albeit a rather spiritless one. It is a system of belief that needs constant reevaluation. I am certainly not going to remain passive where my health is concerned and let someone else figure it all out or dictate to me what I should be doing just because such-and-such sample of such-and-such study says so. The only validity in health is yourself. Believe otherwise at your own risk.

1 comment:

Becky said...

I loved this blog and your thoughts on health and the medical system!