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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/9619/a-misesian-holistic-md/

A Misesian, Holistic MD

March 16, 2009 by

Health and Nutrition Secrets is a book by Russell L Blaylock, MD. Dr. Blaylock is a board-certified neurosurgeon who “has recently retired as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi. He has practiced neurosurgery for the past twenty-four years and runs a successful private nutritional practice.”

According to one of the reviews on Amazon, his book is “a 459-page holistic instructional manual and guide for improving personal health while avoiding common toxins and other environmental health hazards.” What’s so exceptional about the book is the fact that Dr. Blaylock mentions Ludwig von Mises three times, as well as F.A. Hayek, and he recommends Human Action as a “magnificent defense of true capitalism.” Libertarianism and free markets have always meshed well with natural-holistic medicine and nutrition because they all hold that individual health matters should be conducted free of state intervention and coercion from special interests and the corporatist elements.

Thanks to Gary Halpin for the tip. His wife, who is reading the book in the course of her studies to become a natural practitioner, recognized the Mises name from her husband’s t-shirt.

{ 23 comments }

Curtis March 16, 2009 at 9:18 pm

That pretty much rocks. Kind of tough to throw things like Mises, Human Action, and Hayek into a book entitled “Health and Nutrition Secrets” so a big hat tip to Dr. Blaylock.

Matt R. March 16, 2009 at 10:13 pm

I am completely into holistic health and nutrition, and the last thing I want is the government to mandate my decisions. Mises and this movement mesh well together.

Matt R. March 16, 2009 at 10:13 pm

I am completely into holistic health and nutrition, and the last thing I want is the government to mandate my decisions. Mises and this movement mesh well together.

Matt R. March 16, 2009 at 10:13 pm

I am completely into holistic health and nutrition, and the last thing I want is the government to mandate my decisions. Mises and this movement mesh well together.

Florian Kren March 17, 2009 at 3:12 am

So austrians do not see any problem with a doctor, who prescribes for a 2 year old child with 40 degree celsius fever, sugar pills with the parents having no idea whatsoever about the idea – called homeopathy – why those sugar pills should lessen the fever?

And with people selling healing stones?

I see a problem there because both is fraud in the sense, that the seller is selling a product, that cannot have the advertised effect and instead produces at most a placebo effect.

Since in medicine there is so much fraud, i think its right, for the state to force providers of medical services to either show from natural science, that an effect is possible or better prove the effect with medical studies. And if neither is given, then the producer must inform the customer, that his product is according to natural science without effect. Of course customer is still free to buy.

I think that this is justified, because up to 1910 a random patient going to a random doctor had a chance of less than 50% to actually have a positive health effect. So most of the time, the treatment did either have no effect or even negative effect.

The argument, that the market would solve this problem is invalid, if you look at blood letting. It was the standard medical treatment for nearly 2000 years and it is scientifically beyond doubt, that it was in the vast majority of the cases dangerous or even deadly.

The reason for the whole problem is that due to the self healing abilities of human body its very hard for the individual human to decide, whether the medical treatment had a positive or negative effect.

Of course all the state should enforce is that medical providers tell their customers, whether or not natural science is in any way supportive of the offered treatment. If a patient wants to take sugar pills to get rid of pneumonia he is free to do so.

TLP March 17, 2009 at 3:44 am

Austrians shouldn’t side with everyone just because of the press.. would you side with Benny Hinn?

It’s the same thing.
Quackery in medicine is not someting you’d want to be associated with.

The quacks are in fact a by-product of socialism.
Real medicine is heavily regulated and expensive for the private companies to run (that’s why they have to resort to shady marketing practices, to make up for all the money they lose because of regulation), while the quackery gets a free pass.

Florian Kren March 17, 2009 at 3:48 am

And there is actually something, where even a libertarian state must enforce medical treatment and that is pandemic diseaeses. Somebody infected with the black death is constantly emitting dangerous material and therefore is like anyone who emits dangerous material required to reduce the risks to others. If for whatever reason he does not do this, the state (or in a anarcho society all others) is allowed to enforce the necessary behaviour.

Since pandemic diseases can be contained if a vaccination is spread wide enough through the population, state is allowed to enforce vaccinations at least for very deadly diseases.

I remember a case, where a unvaccinated child had measles , played with a vaccinated friend, who of course did’nt get measles but carried the disease home and his baby brother, who was to young for vaccination, died.

What kind of enforcement would be senible i do not know, but the state is allowed to ensure that against especially deadly diseases a large enough part of population is vaccinated, so that a pandemic is unlikely to happen.

Trevor Clark March 17, 2009 at 5:12 am

Dear Florian Kren,
Your assertion that “Homeopathy” and “healing stones” fall under Naturopathic or Nutritional medicine are absurd. Homeopathy is one of many alternative medical systems. Homeopathy is a far different thing from Naturopathy. Kind of like Democracy and Socialism, they are both political systems yet they are two separate ideological beliefs.
On a second note. You seem to believe that people are too stupid (yourself excluded) to get on the internet and research the herbal medicine and its suspected medicinal chemicals. Before 1910 people did not have the wealth of information available to them as we do today. Thanks to the wonders of the computer age we have access to medical studies and ethnobotanical research on natives use of herbs. Both of which I find to be usefull.

Florian Kren March 17, 2009 at 6:06 am

“Dear Florian Kren,
Your assertion that “Homeopathy” and “healing stones” fall under Naturopathic or Nutritional medicine are absurd. Homeopathy is one of many alternative medical systems. Homeopathy is a far different thing from Naturopathy.”

I didn’t say that. But complete stop of all medical regulations, as the article seems to advocate for, would include Homeopathy and Healing Stones.

“You seem to believe that people are too stupid (yourself excluded) to get on the internet and research the herbal medicine and its suspected medicinal chemicals.”
But even if one could have found on the internet information that this guy on Wall Street is likely to be running a giant Ponzi scheme, that does not change, that he committed fraud. And unfortunately this is not something of intelligence, but a problem of knowing the truth. If you are ill for 1 week, then visit a doctor get some medicine prescribed, take the medicine and are well 3 days later, how can you determine whether the medicine had no effect, was helpful or harmful?

You cannot, this can only be determined if several patients with a similar diseases are observed and some get the medicine and others don’t. If the group with the medicine gets healthy faster, the medicine is likely to have an effect, if not then probably not.

For this reason medicine is plagued like nearly no other thing with quacks and fraud, because an individual alone has a very hard time to correctly decide, whether or not some medical treatment was successful.

And no i’m not intelligent enough, myself i once got a medicine prescribed and it made me feel worse and i suspected, that something went wrong and stopped taking it. Doctor talked me into continuing and after taking it for a longer period of time it had the desired positive effect, i was fooled by short term effects. The only confidence in such circumstances is, that it is scientifically proven to work, it is important for patients, that they know whether or not this is the case.

2 parties contracting with each other may not lie, a homeopath claiming or implying, that science is well behind homeopathy(and many do this) is lying or not qualified for the job, in which case the lying is done by implying he is competent in medicine.

And i have little quarrel with naturopathic and nutrional medicine compared to homeopathy, because with the former 2 at least something is ingested in amounts that is plausible to effect the body in relevant way. I don’t know whether the effect is positive, but i do know that taking a few gram of Vitamin C or of plant material compresed into pills have an effect on the human body.

But homeopathy is about taking sugar, pure sugar pills, a gram of sugar cannot on its own have any medical effect if ingested. And even worse with drinking a small bottle of water.

Florian Kren March 17, 2009 at 6:16 am

“this can only be determined if several patients with a similar diseases are observed and some get the medicine and others don’t.”

I forgot, of course it can also be determined if the chemical effect of the medicine on the body is well understood, but i was talking in the context of homeopathy and healing stones, where this is obviously not the case.

Matt R. March 17, 2009 at 8:16 am

Homeopathy is not about taking sugar pills.

Reason March 17, 2009 at 8:39 am

Under medical anarchy there likely would be third and fourth parties, advocates, insurance companies, drug testers etc., that would hedge against fraud and quackery in the doctor-patient relationship. It is the arbitrariness, sometimes wrong, sometimes criminal, of the state that would be taken out of the equation in an anarchic situation.

Of course, there are no fool-proof methods of stopping all criminality all of the time- but denying medical criminals statist protection is worth affording them attempts at private opportunism.

Evelyn Halpin March 17, 2009 at 10:38 am

When you consider for a moment medication related deaths versus holistic supplementations, http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/42/19/8 I’d rather side with naturopaths for chornic conditions any day. The medical establishment practices “early detection.” Holistic practioners practice “prevention”. This country spends a rediculous amount of mony on “health care” (and I use that term loosly – it’s more like – sick care) and is one of the sickest countries in the world. We’ve got it all wrong – from our eating habits, to our overdependence on drugs for a quick fix and not getting to the root cause of the problem. And if you trust the government to decide what’s best for you with regards to health…your asking for serious trouble.

Florian Kren March 17, 2009 at 11:18 am

@Reason
I agree, that might be possible. But i do not see how from such a system could arise a effective vaccination and pandemic containment. Especially the last point might in some cases mean forcing some people to do something against their will and that pretty quickly. That seems unlikely to me for a mutual agreed contract between insurance company and customer.

“Of course, there are no fool-proof methods of stopping all criminality all of the time- but denying medical criminals statist protection is worth affording them attempts at private opportunism.”

Full agreement, in germany there is a law, that forces companies providing medicine to argue plausible, that their product works as advertised and has no serious side effects. The law names 3 alternative medicines – homeopathy among them – that are exempt from any requirement to show, that their service works as advertised – that is awful.

@Matt R.
Right it is also about taking small dose of water or alcohol. But the claim of homeopathy is that this sugar, water or alcohol somehow carries information or sort of effect from another substance, that was diluted into the sugar, water or alcohol in such a way, that its guranteed that not a single atom of the substance is still present. The only possible explanation for this, some mystic force which remains inside the medium even after the original substance is gone.

And relying on a mystic force for effect has obviously nothing to do with science, its on par in terms of healing with sacrificing a cow to soothe some god, in both cases the only reason it might work would be the presence of a mystic force.

Therefore any homeopath claiming, that homeopathy has some foundations in science and claiming, that he has knowledge about medicine is , is lying one way or another.

As far as i know some 10-20% of german doctors believe that homeopathy is more as less consitent with using antibiotics and therefore are either lying or feigning competence.

Matt R. March 17, 2009 at 11:56 am

Well, I’m happy to have a choice in what I take for my health, although it’s a shame that the FDA and drug companies have colluded to the point that natural remedies can’t even be considered.

Florian Kren March 17, 2009 at 1:33 pm

@Matt R. and Halpin

My Problem is more with homeopaths and not with naturopaths and homeopaths are according to wiki a subgroup of naturopaths.
from wiki:

“acupuncture and oriental medicine ”
Sticking needles into someone will affect his health and very likely the level of pain he feels.
“botanical medicine ”
There are are a large range of plants, which effect health. ´
“nutrition (examples include vegetarian and wholefood diet,[21] fasting,[21] and abstention[21] from alcohol and sugar) ”
What one eats and how much has a great effect on health.
“physical medicine (includes naturopathic, osseous and soft tissue manipulative therapy, sports medicine, exercise and hydrotherapy) ”
All these things are known to effect health.
“nature cure – a range of therapies based upon exposure to natural elements such as sunshine and fresh air ”
Fresh air and sunlight can effect health.
“psychological counseling (examples include meditation, relaxation and other methods of stress management[21]) “”
As mental condition effects health methods that try to manipulate mental condition can effect health.

With all these i do not have much problem, most of them i do not want for me, but if someone else wants it and some trained medic think its good for his health who am I or government to decide, because all of this effects health, therefore there might be circumstances where the effect is actually positive. That to decide is between patient and doctor.

“homeopathy”
Sugar pills, water and alcohol if taken in small quantities do not effect health in any way, because its only a small change of what we normally ingest anyway. The only reason why it might effect health is some mystic force. Do it if you want, but dont fool people by calling it medicine or actually try to link it to science.

@Halpin
“And if you trust the government to decide what’s best for you with regards to health…your asking for serious trouble.”
No, i dont ask governement to decide i ask science to decide.

Just like i think claiming to be a serious aviation company with up to date planes, when the planes are maintained by singing shamans invoking spirits to keep the plane functioning, is a form of fraud, i consider it a form of fraud if someone claims that by diluting a substance 1 to 10 30 times in a row he still has some sort of effect from the original substance.

And with all the other naturopathic practices science has a hard time to decide, if and what is nonsense as all use techniques which are proven to effect health. Therefore science cannot decide there anything except to investigate further.
(BTW nutrition actually sounds quite sensible a lot of diseases could be prevented by adjusting eating and drinking habits – but now im off to eat a burger :) )

Matt R. March 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm

I go to an integrative MD who is much more open-minded about prevention and recommending vitamins, herbs and supplements to treat/prevent an illness versus drugs. I think it’s a good model since you get the best of both worlds.

Forgotten Man March 17, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Florian, what is your familiarity with homeopathy?

It does sound pretty ridiculous and I myself thought it to be quackery for a long time. This was based mainly on perceptions held by other people (they say it is quackery, so it must be!).

This is purely anecdotal, but I myself found my way to it through the failure of allopaths. About 5 years ago I had a wart on my right hand. No big deal, but then one day on the boat, I got a dozen or so tiny cuts on that hand. Within a few days, all of the cuts had a wart in their place. The allopath told me that it wasn’t because of the cuts (some coincidence, Doc!) and sprayed my hand with liquid nitrogen, which did practically nothing for my cause. After a couple of years frozen liquid torture at the hands of allopaths, I decided to start looking for alternative remedies online.

I tried every old wives tail in the book and none worked, even the Apple Cider Vinegar (which burned liked heck when left on overnight!). None worked. So I came across homeopathy. I self remedied myself and it didn’t work. The warts came back.

But then I realized I was not taking the correct one and tried another. Within a day, the warts I had on my hand for 3 years started to turn black and within a week or two they had all fallen off.

Now this could have been a placebo effect (but why was there no placebo with the allopath remedies or even the previous homeopathic remedy?) or even a complete coincidence.

But I think that is unlikely.

I recently went to a homeopath for my sinus problems that I have had for 24 years. Within a week I was able to breathe through my nose and no longer need to take Claritin or Sudafed or whatever else, anymore. I do not believe this to be a coincidence. Maybe it is a placebo effect. Even if it is a placebo effect, I am glad I took it because I was getting no placebo effect from the allopathic “cures”.

The whole idea that we must know how something works in order use it is a backwards idea.

Stefan Guta March 18, 2009 at 4:08 am

Actually, I became interested in austrian economics AFTER reading the books of Dr. Blaylock.

He has publised 3 books, one on excitotoxins, one on alternative/nutritional cancer therapy and the one mentioned in the article above. All of them are excellent, and, from my experience as an MD, some of the best in the field of nutrition.

Please note that Dr. Blaylock has nothing to do with homeopathy, acupuncture etc. He is a board certified neurosurgeon, with an interest in the field of nutrition, and everithing he publishes is backed by strong research. He is one of the most knowledgeable and pertinent critics of allopatic medicine, and should one read his books or see his conference presentations, it would be clear why.

Please go to video.google and search his name, you will find quite a few interesting clips.

Matt R. March 18, 2009 at 10:21 am

I subscribe to Blaylock’s newsletter. It’s an excellent publication for those looking to improve their health.

DogBreath March 18, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Wiki:
Naturopaths are trained in scientifically unproven treatments, including homeopathy, a part of naturopathy’s core curriculum, which is typically considered a form of pseudoscientific quackery,….

Buyer beware!

Brian Macker March 18, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Homeopathy is quackery. If it were true the east river would be a free source of medicine, since it is a dilution of every kind of allergen known to man.

Matt R. March 19, 2009 at 10:47 am

So focusing on treatment versus prevention, along with shoving drugs on people, is the best option?

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