Richard Dawkins has a BBC Documentary called The Enemies of Reason, which you can watch on Google Video–I linked Part 2, where he examines how medicine has fallen to the unfortunate grasp of “alternative medicine” and crystals, magnets, and other bovine scatology.
Two very good points he makes toward the end:
- Alternative medicine therapies in general center around providing full attention to the individual, often providing an hour-long therapy for a hefty fee, when traditional physicians can only offer 15 minute visits for actual medical management. I’d figure the placebo effect of being able to let go of the hurry of the world for an hour is pretty damn therapeutic, too–and if physicians could offer hour-long visits, you’d probably see much better health trends and quality of life, too.
- While many of these therapies rely on “ancient secrets” (“ancient” meaning before germ theory was developed) of India and China and the East, those in the India and China today, now with new found wealth and economic prosperity, are developing their Western medicine infrastructure and training doctors in Western medicine more and more.
Worth a watch.