Be Careful with 'Alternative' Therapies

Be Careful with 'Alternative' Therapies

(Article contributed by Home maker, Ms.K.Saundarya, Chennai)



Due to adverse reports about modern allopathic medicines, a lot of many people are moving towards alternative therapies and healing techniques. But have you ever wondered how effective these are? The point to be noted here is that almost everyone wants to make money by exploiting the fears of others. This is a sad but also a bitter truth.


In their attempt to find a solution to their problems, people start believing in alternative therapies without bothering to verify their effectiveness. They forget that they may not be moving towards healing or getting cured, at all. People who get swayed by all the positive feedback and heaps of praise on social media about a service are often gullible. 


Let me narrate my own encounter with alternative therapy when I was struggling for months trying to correct a ruptured heel (it is a condition called plantar fasciitis). An ayurvedic centre in Pune, that follows a Kerala-style ayurvedic treatment, sent me on a wild goose chase for close to 65 days. The doctor's charges were nominal (Rs100 for consultation) but what is the point if the medication prescribed is useless? I spent close to Rs3,000 on different types of oils, painkillers and a diet that restricted all milk and milk products.  


When there were no results, despite religiously following the treatment prescribed, I approached an allopathic doctor in the neighbourhood. He scoffed at my decision and questioned me about why was I skating on thin ice by running after alternative therapies without knowing whether they would be effective or not.  Luckily for me, I was in the liminal stage of my ayurvedic treatment and so I had no reservations about dumping all those oils and painkillers and embracing allopathy. Now, two months later, I am relieved. My pain has vanished and I am in the pink of health.


Readers, please do not think I am undermining the alternative healing techniques. No, I am definitely not. Nor am I suggesting that allopathy has all the answers. It does not. However, I am only trying to caution -- for every one therapist who is earnest and genuine, there are 10 others who make a fast buck, comfortable under the thought that they are accountable to none. 


Out of curiosity, I approached the same ayurvedic doctor again. He was smart as ever. He put the blame on me saying, “Madam, you are not following the diet that I prescribed. Sometimes, ayurvedic treatments may take 6-8 months to show a positive impact. I shall do one thing. I will write you one more ‘kashayam’ that is priced only at Rs850 and I am sure that this will work well for you. Needless to add, I ran away from there as fast as I could.


Sound therapy, bell therapy, flower therapy, salt therapy, water therapy, fish therapy - innovations like these are not bad per se. But, when they are untested and the orientation is skewed more towards extracting money and less towards recovery, the problem begins. I have begun aerobic exercises now. I have been training for yoga under a gentleman who collects only Rs300 for a three-month course in yoga, read a lot and listen to music. I meditate whenever I have the time and I have come to believe that self-healing is the best form of healing.


The experience of one of my cousins with hypnotherapy in Mumbai was also not so great. These people seem to be taking money for talking to you and not ‘counselling’. They market their services very well using testimonials from a few customers to lure new prospects. After you pay through your nose, will these people even refund half of your money in case their treatment is ineffective? 


So, dear readers, be aware and beware. There is no need to drain your hard-earned money for these, so-called, experts who have no basis for their pricing. Often, there is a cartel and each one of them has a quid-pro-quo kind of arrangement. There is a nutritionist near the Mumbai-Pune highway who supposedly follows a “holistic” approach. She charges Rs12,000 for a 45-minute consultation and promises that further consultation can be provided on Skype or WhatsApp. How has she arrived at this price? No idea. If her treatment fails, she will conveniently blame the patient and move on to another patient.