Alternative Medicine Redux

For my 12th birthday, my mom took me to a run down apartment block in the valley where a woman who pretended that spirits kept interrupting her attuned my aura, taking me from average 7th grader to 2nd level reiki master in about 20 minutes. She then handed me a pink binder with copies of the secret reiki hand gestures stuffed in acetate page protectors, told me I had an old soul, admonished me for lying to my mother (which I was sure proved her psychic ability), and sent me on my way.

And that’s all it takes to be a faith healer.

Obviously, this lady was a con artist. The fact that she was a friend of my mom’s was clue one. The only sure way to find a shyster is to introduce them to my mother. If she comes back saying they seem like someone who’s known her for years, they’re dirty like e, coli poop.

In all honesty, the entirety of my faith healing experience is in the context of my mother’s wacko friends. A man who put a pill bottle in my left hand and, by pushing against my right hand, determined which pill I should be taking comes to mind. So maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe I should consider the source. What if, just like other professions, there are good and bad alternative medical specialists, and I’ve only met the bad ones?

It does seem plausible. I’m not here to mock anybody’s livelihood.

Maybe there are good reiki healers out there in the world, but at the end of the day they’re only as legitimate as I am, no matter how they got their training. Because I’m still a 2nd level reiki master. I can practice reiki on anybody I want. I can chi-heal this entire world. If I tried to be a doctor based on the same qualifications, I’d be practicing medicine without a license, and I’d be in big trouble.

The same logic applies to herbal medicine. If herbs work the way we’re supposed to believe they do, the fact that I can just stroll into any nature store and grab whatever dangerous cocktail I want off the shelves willie nillie indicates to me that they’re not that serious. If I need to show ID to buy Advil Cold and Sinus, while any old fool can walk out with a cart full of Valerian Root speaks volumes.

Add that most of the herbal remedies I’ve ever heard of are prescribed by people who’s medical training consists of typing he phrase “herbal cure for” into Google and…


…it seems more and more like alternative medicine is on unsteady ground.

Of course there are exceptions to this rule: When I know for a fact that a folk remedy works because I’ve tried to on myself and it fixed me. I’m not completely closed-minded, I just don’t buy into every Google search cure that comes along.

So far, the remedies that I know work are:

  • Copious amounts of raw garlic when you’re sick or getting sick
  • A yogurt culture pro-biotic ingested via mouth when one is on anti-biotics in order to prevent yeast infection

That’s kind of a short list, considering how much of my life I spent with hippies and no health insurance or extremely shitty health insurance.

2 Replies to “Alternative Medicine Redux

  1. Being Mexican, did you ever visit a “curandera” who rubbed you all over with an egg? I remember having this done at least once, so it probably happened more. My mom was super Catholic but also super Mexican so when I got sick she took me to Lala, the curandera. They rubbed an egg all over your body while praying the Lord’s Prayer over and over again. The bad juju or whatever goes into the egg, you crack it and it tells you who curse you.

    1. No, but when I was a kid, I had terrible growing pains in my legs, and my dad would spend hours rubbing them with a paste he made from fresh chilis. It was the most expensive icey hot in the world.

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