Therapeutic Touch and Homeopathy
(Printed in the Towanda Daily Review on 9/16/97.)
Health care has, over the centuries, progressed to a science that requires treatments to be proven effective, not merely claimed to be so. Such proofs usually require double-blind clinical trials to both minimize bias and to identify placebo effects. Yet two treatments, therapeutic touch and homeopathy, persist because proof of effectiveness, for reasons that escape reason, is not required.
Therapeutic Touch (TT) is based on the assumptions: that an energy field extends a short distance from the body; this energy field is smooth and uniform during health; this energy field is distorted during illness; the energy field is detectable by a TT practitioner; and a TT practitioner can correct or adjust the energy field. None of the five assumptions have ever been clinically or scientifically verified.
Homeopathy is based on the assumption that whatever causes a malady will also cure it if significantly diluted, even if dilution removes all traces of the original substance. The "active" substances are usually only claimed to be effective, and then claimed to be more effective even when diluted into oblivion. Amazingly, the FDA does not require homeopathic remedies listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia to be proven effective, as it does for all other drugs and treatments making similar claims.
Homeopathic remedies and TT have never been shown to be more effective than placeboes. Yet patients are led to believe that they are receiving clinically and scientifically verified treatment. Hopefully, such treatment doesn't interfere with or preclude sound health care; also hopefully, such treatment costs the patient little or nothing -- precisely its worth.
Am I outraged at the claims made for homeopathy and TT? Somewhat, but not as outraged as I am for again not getting in on the action. I can learn TT in about three minutes since no one can prove if I'm performing it correctly or not. With homeopathic remedies, I can have an infinite supply for about three bucks. I'll also be certified by Reverend John L. Ferri who, in addition to being the founder of the internationally recognized Church of the Profit($), has categorized images for a Brazilian plastic surgeon to aid in breast augmentation and restructuring, and has most recently founded the Institute for the Delusive Investigation of Therapies (IDIOT.)
So if you want to be almost massaged, almost medicated, and almost cured, see Reverend Ferri. At no additional charge, you will also get a real massage and some real medication (pronounced Scotch). Our motto at IDIOT is, "It may not cure you, but as long as I get paid, who cares."
John L. Ferri