T Nation

Ode to Alternative Medicine

Thank you for never backing down from speaking the truth @Zeppelin795. I wrote this for you. Stay woke!

Take this shot, my doctor told me
This terrible affliction, it won’t bother thee
Hold fast said Zep, your doctor is a shill
Don’t listen to him, or you’ll pay a steep bill
Smoke this joint instead, it has special powers
Its just a plant you see, but you’ll be high for hours
Now it makes sense, I say after a toke
Thank you oh Zep, most righteous, most woke

Now I’m woke too, and high as a kite
Others don’t see, but I know I’m right
I’ve drank from the fountain, I’ll share it with you
Great truths I will speak, great things I will do
Naysayers abound, but they are just sheep
Blinded by greed, they cannot think deep
Doctors are fools, their training a joke
Unlike great Zep, most righteous, most woke


Lol, fucking incredible !10/10, Would read again.


What on earth is the allure of alternative medicine? The words are like profanities to me, along with socialism and Bono.

You’re not a level 10 vegan so you just can’t understand.

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Just a tried and true member of the sheeple. They love blind dolts like you. Your stupid poem exposes your ignorance.

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C’mon Zep. I was literally singing your praises! What part of my poem got your positions wrong? You don’t like vaccines, you do like pot and you know better than doctors, right?

I believe it makes people feel superior. Like members of an exclusive speakeasy, they are “in the know” or “woke”. This makes them smarter than the easily-fooled general population, and they get to signal their superior virtue by trying to spread their beliefs. They get off on telling people to “do their research”, as it makes them appear to have done some kind of diligent academic work to arrive at their position.

Most of the people who I have interacted with are a dangerous combination of stupid and confident. They are all laypersons as well, believing themselves to be better informed than people who have spent years or even decades diligently studying the important details required to understand complex topics.

I believe most of the motivations for buying into and spreading this crap are highly selfish.


Quick side question. Do you actually dislike marijuana or are you just trolling Zep?

Mostly trolling Zep, but there are things I like and things I don’t like about marijuana. It is legal in my state of Maine, and I voted in favor of that. I believe it absolutely has medical applications as well, but I stop FAR short of calling it some kind of “miracle drug”.

My father died of lung cancer after a stage IV diagnosis, and he spent one of his last weeks of (relatively) good health with me at a lake house here in Maine. While illegal at the time, I had a friend make him up a batch of low-sugar pot brownies. He had them on a few nights, along with some drinks by the fire, and it was pretty fucking awesome to see my dad having such a good time with me and a bunch of my friends who would stop in to hang out and enjoy the day. For a few hours he was in a good mood, eating like a horse and acting like his old self. The pot brownies definitely helped.

The only reason he was still alive was because of the aggressive chemotherapy and radiation he received, which gave him a few more months of good living after a period of terrible illness after the diagnosis.

What I take extreme issue with are the people who present medical marijuana as some kind of panacea, or anything other than a complimentary treatment option. If my father had been given cannabis instead of chemo I never would have had that special week, yet there are people in Zep’s camp who espouse exactly that.

I know a LOT of people who use it. Most just like to get high, but I think it can definitely help certain people in certain circumstances. I absolutely support further research.


I am really really sorry to hear of your Father’s passing, but I am really glad you got to have that great week to say goodbye. People like Zep absolutely anger me because of the way they push things they can’t even hope to understand


Exactly, which is why I believe most of what they do isn’t about helping people or generating better outcomes, but feeling better about themselves. I think that sort of relatively benign selfishness is what’s going on with most of the people I’ve personally interacted with. Everyone wants to feel like they are special, and pretending you are smarter than a doctor is a good way to do it. Or, for the people who acknowledge doctors are smarter than they are, you can always feel more virtuous than a doctor because you aren’t driving around in a BMW 7-series paid for by Big Pharma Shill Bucks. Because most doctors are corrupt shills who hide the TRUTH!

People like Zep fall into this category, and I’ve met plenty of people like him. These self-styled new-age prophets of feel-good pseudoscience are a zealous bunch of shallow-thinking blow-hards who do way more harm than good. Take the case of medical marijuana. How much further along could we be if it wasn’t being aggressively backed by the same crackpots who espouse the evils of vaccines or believe that cancer can be killed by eating more kale?

Then you get to the truly malevolent alternative medicine people, who prey on people’s desire for good health for personal gain. These bottom feeders get people all riled up about “Big Pharma” but how often do you hear that camp scrutinizing “Big Alternative Medicine”. Its a huge industry of snake oil salesmen, and one I find personally sickening. I wonder how much of Steve Job’s money ended up in his woo masters’ bank accounts.


This is a personal topic for me. I hate to admit it, but out of desperation, I succumbed to the temptation of the quacks. I’ve always been an extremely physical person like most people on this forum, and I move around a lot as well with my job. I pushed myself for 40 years and never had a problem with recovery, but in March of 2012 my body decided it needed a break and something snapped. Overnight I became this overly sympathetic mess. I could not sleep and my resting heart rate went from the upper 50s to over 80 in a matter of days. I soon learned that training was making it worse, so I stopped for a few weeks and things improved a little, so I started training again and that was a big mistake. The symptoms returned along with a few others. I started having heart palpations and tachycardia. I’ve been battling this for 5 years and the doctors do not have an answer, other than treating the symptoms. They are honest and I appreciate that, but I was a wreck and wanted answers. So, I went to the google magic machine to find them and find them I did! I started to believe all the nonsense I found online and convinced myself that traditional medicine was a waste of time and money and I was sure to have a stroke or heart attack because of the poison I was taking. I tried all the various concoctions and new age bullshit and none of it worked. I’ve tried every herb, special diet, vitamin, sleep hygiene, meditation, message therapy, yoga, psychotherapy. You name it, I tried it. The only thing I got from this was a smaller bank account and a revelation that the body is a very complex machine and when it breaks sometimes the best Science in the world doesn’t have a cure.

To make a long story short, I’ve got the problem under control by treating the symptoms with a mild sedative when needed and a lot less physical activity. The days of training to failure or heavy volume are gone. I’ve lost some muscle mass, which I’ve come to accept, but I have my heart rate back down in the low 60s and I’m sleeping much better.


@toddrc Thanks for sharing, and I think you bring up a great answer I overlooked when addressing…

Simply stated, hope. Like you said, medicine doesn’t have all of the answers, so I think it is natural to look elsewhere. The trouble is, as you noted, the only thing that gets cured is the dangerously low levels of cash in David Wolfe’s bank account.

I also know people who, taken as a whole, are very decent, and also happen to sell woo. A gal I know is a reiki practicioner and massage therapist. I think massage is pretty legit, as long as you don’t go making magical claims about what it does (i.e. detoxify the GMO’s in your chakras). I go pretty regularly and I find it helps keep me feeling good while I beat the crap out of my body with barbells. If nothing else, it is a peaceful, relaxing hour that feels great.

This gal I know doesn’t, to my knowlege, make any special claims about the healing power of reiki other than it will make you feel better. I don’t think she’s marketing herself to cancer patients or anything like that. But would she take their money for treatment? Probably. That’s just my guess though.

Reiki practicioners, as a group, make some pretty bold claims. This is from a Reiki FAQ.

Reiki heals by flowing through the affected parts of the energy field and charging them with positive energy. It raises the vibratory level of the energy field in and around the physical body where the negative thoughts and feelings are attached. This causes the negative energy to break apart and fall away. In so doing, Reiki clears, straightens and heals the energy pathways, thus allowing the life force to flow in a healthy and natural way.

Bullshit, but mostly harmless bullshit. I boil most of this down to “getting attention from someone else usually feels good”. Sounds a lot like what the gal I know does.

Click over to the anecdotes about Reiki, and you’re getting into some troubling stuff.


Heart healed. Reiki helps Hodgkins Lymphoma. Reiki and Prostate Cancer. Reiki heals infection. Reiki heals a stroke. Reiki heals depression and back injuries. Ligament healed by reiki. Collarbone grows back with reiki. Cancerous tumor healed. Multiple sclerosis healed. Tumor dissapears.

Are you fucking kidding me? I understand feeling desperate and hopeless. Medicine couldn’t do anything for my father except give us about 9 more months with him alive. How many people in that situation look to reiki and other types of woo when doctors tell them the harsh truth?

That’s what makes it so predatory. You have a lot of very nice, friendly people who put up a front of being all about love and light and positive energy. Maybe they really believe that they are doing good, like the nice Jehovah’s Witnesses I have next door. Unfortunately, by any objective measure they’re just taking your money and waving their hands around your body. People believe in this stuff and that’s fine, sort of like getting a tarot card reading if that’s what you enjoy. But the moment someone starts accepting money from people who are looking for real, tangible results for serious medical conditions, they join the ranks of bottom feeders.

So much bullshit out there, and it sells.

If people think Big Pharma is bad, they should really take a closer look at Big Alternative Medicine.


I agree with this for the most part, but where I might disagree depends on what you consider “alternative medicine”. My wife has a host of autoimmune disorders that traditional medicine has completely failed to address. She finally started seeing a naturopath and began improving for the first time in years. (There was no incense involved; just assessment, prescriptions/supplement suggestions and follow up).

So while I discount homeopathy and the general snake-oil bullshit, I disagree that traditional, modern western medicine is the only game in town.

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I wouldn’t go that far either, but the trouble with naturopaths is the lack of evidence for its effectiveness. Did your wife improve because of her naturopath visits, or in spite of it? I’m not fishing for an answer from you, but giving you something to think about.

Here’s the problem with naturopathy. Can anyone identify the biological mechanisms that caused the improvement? Can it be tested and independently verified? Is it even safe? Has your wife’s success been repeated on other patients? For all of the good ideas espoused (improved diet, for instance), how much bullshit do you need to wade through?

You don’t need to look far to find these kind of anecdotes like you just shared. But for every “success story” like your wife’s, how many people were separated from their money in exchange for absolutely nothing of efficacy? Even worse, how many people sought out naturopathic cures for conditions that traditional medicine is well-equipped to treat?

Verified through blood tests and, of course, how she was feeling. She wasn’t expecting much of anything and discounted anything “alternative” prior, but she was at her wits-end with the specialists she’d seen (she’d be told one thing by one, then the opposite by another).

I’m not advocating anyone throw their complete faith behind any naturopath, per se, and know there’s plenty of people who have parted with a lot of money with nothing to show for it. But I also know many people have been ill served by close-minded doctors who think they have all the answers.

I am neither overly trusting nor skeptical by nature, so I’m not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater since I’ve seen first hand how naturopathy helped my wife. I also think she got lucky and chose a provider with a good head on her shoulders, a respect for modern medicine, and a good understanding of autoimmune disorders.

By the way, I’m sorry to hear about your father. My wife’s father died from lung cancer two years ago. A horrible disease. I went with him and my BIL to buy some medical mj for him; it was a fun day. He was always a bit skeptical, though, and never really indulged to the level that your father did, unfortunately. I think it would have given him a brief respite from the agony I knew he was in.

I was in a very similar situation a few years back, I even posted on T-nation about it - I foolishly tried to hold my own with my kids in several endurance sports, did some grappling and followed Dan John’s 10 000 swing program all at the same time.

Not the smartest move, to say the least. Soon I was deep into overtraining territory. I started waking at 3 am with my heart racing, palpitations and drenched in sweat. Also, my resting heart rate shot up to 85-90 bpm which was freaking me out. Soon I was having regular anxiety and even full blown panic attacks with accompanying tachycardia - in other words, I was a mess.

And here is that I experienced the slippery slope that usually leads one into alternative medicine - you start googling stuff trying to find the miracle cure by yourself. Is it magnesium? Better take some more. Is it zinc? Nope. Better go buy some St. John’s Wort, that’ll help.

Fortunately, I had a medical professional in the family who intervened after seeing my symptoms so this ordeal lasted only a few weeks for me. I did my bloodwork, saw that my CTK levels were higher than in professional athletes and was prescribed a low dose sedative for a month. Of course, my knee jerk reaction was “I don’t need a sedative, I’m not crazy” but the MD patiently explained that it’s just for helping me fall sleep to enable my body to recover.

I was lifting weights again two months later and all the symptoms disappeared within a few weeks never to reappear. Now I’m much more careful with my overall workload and have switched mainly to weighted and bodyweight calisthenics.

The moral of the story is that a self diagnosed magnesium/zinc deficiency is not a substitute for a qualified medical professional.

After this experience, I can understand how some people, perhaps more susceptible or facing bigger health ordeals, can fall into the “the magic of healing crystals” trap, for example.