A Good Asthma Treatment, or Quackery?
You often hear
about a new health treatment claim, and wonder if it could be the
answer that will help you or someone you love feel better. But is
it a safe, healthy option, or is it quackery? Quackery is the
promotion or selling of health products that sound good, but don't
really help, and may even be harmful. These tips can help you
avoid being taken in by a quack product, treatment, or individual:
- Just because it sounds scientific, doesn't mean it is. Promoters of quackery will frequently use scientific terms and quote (or misquote) from scientific sources. Some actually have real scientific training, but have left
the reputable scientific community.
- Beware of cure-all supplements.Although some diseases are related to diet, most are not. Don't listen
to any promoter who says that asthma is caused by faulty nutrition, and their supplement will cure you. Don't be
taken in by products that say they can treat or cure many unrelated diseases. There is no such thing!
- Doubt the testimonials. If someone claims to have been helped by an unusual treatment, ask yourself
and your doctor whether there might be another explanation. Asthma
frequently has symptom-free times. They might have used
traditional medicine along with the unusual treatment, and are
giving credit to the unusual one. Maybe these people were not
diagnosed correctly and never had asthma at all. Also, some of the
people may be actors, and are not being truthful about their
treatment and cure.
- Watch the wording. Sometimes quack treatments will promise to "detoxify" your body, "balance"
its chemistry, "bring it in harmony" with nature, or "drain
the asthma" from your body. Others might promise to strengthen
"weak" lungs, to help people who suffer from asthma. These
ideas cannot be scientifically studied to allow other
researchers to try and reproduce (get the same results from)
their study data because their claims and methods of gathering
data are so unclear in the first place. The quacks then state
their treatment works even though they have no real reproducible
proof, which is the only way reputable science is done.
- Avoid the conspiracy theories. People
who are promoting unusual products often claim that the medical
profession, drug companies, and the government are working
together to hush up whatever treatment they are trying to sell. It
is not logical that large numbers of people would oppose the
creation of treatments that might someday help themselves or their
loved ones. No one has ever proved such a conspiracy theory.
- It's a "secret cure" for a reason. Quacks
may keep their methods secret so that others can't prove that
they don't work. True scientists want to share what they have
learned as part of the process of medical science. Why not share
a new treatment for asthma? If it really works, the discoverer
would become famous, become wealthy, and have a feeling of
accomplishment by sharing it with others.
- Placebos can seem like they work. Through the power of suggestion, belief, expectancy, and diversion of
attention, patients given useless treatments often have relief.
This is called the placebo effect, and some of these effects can
be actual changes in the person's physical condition while
others are changes that the patients can feel, even though there
has been no change in their actual disease. Placebos never cure, and they can only have an effect in the
- Look closely at herbal treatments. Many people think herbs are a natural way to treat diseases, and that
they are always "safe." In truth, many herbs have hundreds or even thousands of chemicals
that have not been fully studied. Some may turn out to be
useful, but others may be toxic. The United States Food and Drug
Administration (USFDA) has approved some herbs for certain uses. However, the USFDA, which regulates prescription drugs, does not regulate most herbal supplements. It just doesn't make sense to take a chance on herbs, when treatments for asthma
exist that are safe, scientifically proven and work well.
- Think about "think for yourself." If the promoter is asking you to "think for yourself" instead of
believing what the rest of the medical community believes, watch
out! Similarly, if they say that the treatment will work for you
even though it hasn’t been proven to work on others, don't buy it.
- Don't let them use your emotions.If you don't feel like your doctor is helping you enough, don't
run to unusual treatments. Talk over your feelings and concerns with your doctor, and if you still
are not happy with your care, then it may be time to obtain a second opinion from another physician. Quacks count on
your desperation to sell their products.
- Look at their facts. If the "evidence" is made up of testimonials, self-published
pamphlets or books, or items from the popular media, you should stay away from the product.