Another push for quackery in the military

Army urged to do more with alternative medicine techniques.

When the pills didn’t work, Army Brig. Gen. Rebecca Halstead teamed up with her chiropractor to find a holistic solution to her chronic pain.

And that worked.

“Success is a team sport,” she said at last week’s Foundation for Chiropractic Progress 10th anniversary gathering at the Rio hotel-casino. She was referring to her chiropractor teammate, Dr. Carol Ann Malizia.

“After a three-year journey with her upon retirement, I take no prescription drugs. I take whole-food supplements. I go to my chiropractor routinely, which restores functionality to my nervous system,” she said […].

Her chiropractor is able to restore functionality to her nervous system??

As Dr. Harriet Hall so succinctly put it in one Science-Based Medicine article, “Chiropractors really don’t have anything much to do with the nervous system: they work on the musculoskeletal system with manual adjustment techniques.”

“Instead of letting the disease define you, you take on the disease. So she took me under her wing and started to teach me how to take care of myself, which is ironic because in the military we take pretty darn good care of ourselves.”

No article extolling the virtues of alternative medicine is complete without at least one line of quack-speak.  Gen. Halstead appears to be fluent.

Based on her experience, Halstead said the military needs to put more emphasis on alternative medicine techniques and less on prescribed drugs, its traditional way of treating illness.

Thankfully, anecdotal evidence is not yet grounds to justify a massive shift in military resources.

What she learned from Malizia was that her diet of bland foods she had to eat after her three abdominal surgeries – potatoes, pasta and bread – would keep her stomach from aching but at the same time would warm up her body and cause inflammation.

“It was the inflammation that got the fibromyalgia out of control,” she said.

What the General describes is a false cause. According to her she changed her diet based on her chiropractor’s recommendation and “poof,” away went the pain. No consideration seems to have been given to the fact that the decrease in pain also correlated with her retirement from active duty.

This isn’t the first attempt, nor will it be the last, to push quack medicine on the military.

  4 comments for “Another push for quackery in the military

  1. Bobbi Snow
    January 22, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    It doesn’t matter if she retired and her pain went away. She was probably suffering from stress, as well as physical and mental fatigue. Regardless, I see my own chiropractor 4 times a month. Now that my Medicare covers it, I find that I rarely have headaches, my back pain (from a 30-year-long injury) is less, and my days are more productive. Chiropractors are not a waste of time & money. When my spine is aligned, I don’t feel my 67 years nearly as much or as often.

  2. Chew
    January 22, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    I derive the same benefits from not sleeping in a bed. I moved into an unfurnished apartment a few months ago and after a week of sleeping on the floor I noticed I never woke up with a backache. I used to get one at least once a week and my 2 or 3 times per week headaches has dropped to one headache in three months. All that without giving money to a quack.

  3. Andrew
    January 22, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    It does matter if she is claiming, and she is, that a simple switch in her diet resulted in the reduction of pain without her first considering any lurking variables. In her case, the reduction of pain happened sometime after she retired and after she started taking whole-foods supplement. How does she know the reduction in pain is due to those supplements, and not from her own body slowly recovering from a career filled with stress and fatigue?

    I would never make a blanket statement that chiropractors are a total waste of time and money. They can provide beneficial services, such as in areas of back pain like you experience.

    With that said, there is a reason during my time in the auto-insurance field we referred to them as “quackopractors.” Regardless of how minor or severe the accident, when a patient decided to seek the services of a chiropractor, we knew we would end up paying out the full maximum benefits in their health coverage. We didn’t have that type of problems when an insured went to an M.D. or D.D.S.

  4. KitchenKnives
    January 22, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    What annoys me about this is the use of the word “urged”. It implies importance and, well, urgency. Taking alternative medicine has never been urgent and it never will. The best thing about it is once you’ve resigned yourself to it you can take your time, ’cause whether it’s now or next year, it’s not going to help you either way.

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