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Energy Medicine – Eastern and Western Perspectives

Medical Research Documentation Issues

Here are some thoughts on the subject of medical research to verify/document efficacy of alternative therapies.

The first and most important issue is money:  who has it and what are they willing to spend it on?  This doesn’t require a lot of thought.  The vast majority of medical research funding comes from the pharmaceutical industry, pure and simple.  Or perhaps, not so pure and not so simple, depending on your perspective.  A second major source would be government supported studies, such as through the NIH. A third source would be from various philanthropic foundations.

But regardless of the source of funds, ALL of them of them rely on some type of selection process.  Funds are not unlimited.  Not all requests for grants can be honored.  There has to be some type of formal criteria to pick and choose who gets the grants, where the monies go, and for what purposes.  The selection is not done in a vacuum, nor is it done by just one person.  Committees are almost invariably involved. 

Selection criteria is both objective and subjective.  Objectively, the research for which the grant is being requested must fall within the parameters of the grant providing organization. A drug company is not about to fund research into the effects of traffic congestion on the life span of the automobile engine.  They might, however, fund research into the effects of traffic jams on the jangled nerves of the motoring public if such research allowed them to market a drug to sooth such jangled nerves. 

Subjective criteria is a bit more insidious.  Peer review is a very prime consideration here.  Peer review and peer pressure cut across the board, in all aspects of the process.  There is the obvious give and take, back and forth, you experience with any committee setting.  There is also an element of social ostracism for anyone proposing anything outside of the norm.  Except in this instance, ostracism can take the form of character assassination and the utter destruction of someone’s career.  Doesn’t happen?  It happens ALL the time, in every discipline, not just medical research.  The more entrenched the “conventional wisdom” is, the more bitter the back-stabbing and in-fighting.  Quite frequently, careers and reputations that were made from taking certain earlier positions lead to enormous resistance to any change that calls those reputations or positions into question. 

One form of resistance is to throw roadblocks in the way, such as efforts to prevent research that challenges the conventional wisdom or to prevent its publication in journals pertaining to the subject.    You can’t believe some of the behind the scenes pressure that gets applied at times in cases like this, in all disciplines.  Medical research is no exception.  If anything, given the enormous amounts of money at stake, it is probably one of the worst.

Having said the above, how does any or all of it relate to me, given the number of people who have suggested to me that I try to secure grant money for research? 

Well, right up front, my ability to attract research funds would be extremely limited.  How willing would any drug company be to fund someone whose stated goal is to put some of them into receivership? If just a fraction of some of the specific points and techniques I know how to do became WIDELY known, it would literally trash the bottom lines of several of them.

Government funds?  Here is a not at all improbable scenario:  funds denied, not because there was belief by the selection committee that the research results would be without merit but specifically because they WOULD BE with merit.  It would/could be in the guise of an economic policy issue/decision because of the potential damage to the drug industry.  In other words, the decision would be based on relative economic harm to an industry instead of relative health benefits to/for the general public.

The greatest potential source of funds for me would be from some bodywork related organization such as AMTA or AOBTA – American Massage Therapy Association or American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia.    Another potential source would be from some philanthropic organization.  The problem with this, however, gets back to the selection committee criteria and who sits on the committee.  For medical research funds, the probability is high that the deciding votes would be cast by a medical review board.  Enough said.

Even if I were able to attract research funding, the publication problem still remains.   And the issue is not just publication “somewhere.”  It is publication in one of the major medical journals.  That simply is not going to happen.  If I chose to do so, I could put a string of letters and credentials behind my name.  Unfortunately, they are not ones that mean anything to medical journal editors.   Let’s face it – if organizations such as JAMA don’t like things from chiropractors, how much less are they going to like anything from someone like me?

I fervently believe that change WILL happen.  But it is not going to happen by operating within the establishment and playing by their rules.  It is going to come about from grass roots efforts; that ripple in the pond effect over time.  It is going to come about by more and more people, fed up with the establishment, seeking alternatives on their own.  Ultimately, it will be the financial impact on the medical establishment of people going elsewhere that will finally bring some of this into the mainstream.  It will be enlightened self-interest on the part of the medical establishment that will do it – there is a very large piece of the financial pie that they are missing and they will want their share.  To some extent, this is already happening.      

But for me personally, I have neither the energy nor the inclination to fight a stacked-deck system.  My interests lie in getting the message spread to those who can immediately benefit from it – those who can and will apply the knowledge for themselves and those around them.  I will talk all day to anyone who wants to listen and learn.  I won’t waste one lungful of breath trying to convince some doctor with blinders and a closed mind.

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