There are fashions in health in the same way as there are on the catwalks. One day a miraculous new product catches on, and a myriad of copycat potions and supplements follow suit, all claiming to offer the solution to the ailment of the moment. Medical research discovers new evidence and confirms and debunks all sorts of beliefs about the effectiveness of treatments on a continual basis, so there is a constantly shifting landscape of new trends in treatments. Are health fashions based on science or are they the product of good marketing, and how can you tell the difference?
Conventional versus alternative
Healthcare and wellbeing are markets worth billions of dollars, and despite the advances in medical science made over the last hundred years, there are still ailments which don’t have cures, and chronic conditions that, although not life-threatening, can cause tremendous, intractable suffering. There’s no wonder that a vast industry has grown up supplying remedies for these conditions. Those who live with them often find that although conventional medicine may help, it can’t relieve them of all their symptoms, and thus they are driven to look for any alternative as means to alleviate their pain. The basis for many alternative therapies are found in the wisdom and experience of thousands of years of herbalist treatments, and therefore there may well be true in the claims. However, without the scientific study of every medication, doctors and therapists cannot assure patients that these treatments are effective. On the other hand, there are well-known cases of drugs that had been passed as safe after undergoing testing, which turned out to have unforeseen side effects.
Avoid or embrace?
It’s so tempting to try the latest herbal aid for relieving osteoarthritis if your hands hurt so badly you can barely use them. If you have eczema, the promise of cream that will clear up your skin sounds irresistible, but can you trust the marketing hype? The safest way to answer this question is to pay a visit to your health specialist first. A good dermatologist like Stefani T. Kappel MD will know about the latest treatments, the evidence to support them and how they may react to any other medications you are taking. If there are good reasons to avoid the treatment, they can tell you. However, if they have no cause for concern, then you can see for yourself and give it a try. Most physicians are open to alternative possibilities if they have reason to believe in the efficacy of the treatment and may well be interested in observing your progress with an over the counter remedy.
If you get the green light (or don’t get a red light!) from your doctor, it’s then your choice as to what you want to try. Make sure you try one thing at a time, so you know what is affecting your symptoms and be sure to follow the instructions to ensure you are administering the treatment safely and at the optimum level. It’s not wise to follow health trends blindly, but if you do a little fact finding first, you could find something that helps to ease your aches and pains.