Why I Don't Roll My Eyes at Alternative Treatments Anymore

I used to secretly (OK, sometimes not so secretly) roll my eyes at people who poured money into alternative therapies or swore by specific diets or vitamins. If there wasn’t robust medical literature to back something, I wasn’t buying it. That is, until I found myself buying miso soup on a 100-degree day for the potential benefits of seaweed on my neuropathic pain (as advised by my acupuncturist). Or until I found myself falling asleep every night to my pain relief hypnosis app. Or until I found myself calling the compounding pharmacist, who I’m on a first-name basis with, to ask whether he had any calf-liver pills. That must have been a sight — me standing on a busy street corner yelling into my phone, “C-A-L-F liver, like the cow.” Ultimately, I didn’t proceed with that one, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, I now understand that when you’re desperate for pain relief, you’ll try just about anything. That’s not to say that I don’t still immediately go to PubMed or “Doctor Google” to research whatever has been proposed to me (once a skeptic, always skeptic-ish), but I’m a whole lot more willing to try things. I don’t care if the relief I might find is only due to the placebo effect. The placebo effect can be powerful and, at this point, I say bring it on.

Moving forward, I will try my best to refrain from judging others’ regimens, however strange they may seem. I will instead hope that they are getting relief from whatever it is that plagues them. And I ask that next time you see me buying copious amounts of blueberry juice while on the phone with my acupuncturist, you do the same (hope I get relief, not buy blueberry juice).

This blog was previously published on The Huffington Post.

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