Thought for food
February 8th 2008, 15:25 | Bryan Hubbard
Forgive the metaphysical tone, but what is Man? It is one of the most fundamental of questions, and its answer would determine many things, not least of which the way we treat disease.
In the West, medicine is based on the standard bio-chemical model, and, with the rise of the specialisms, an increasing focus on the body's individual parts. It has become the dominant approach almost everywhere other than a few pockets of resistance.
So it's surprising to read that another healing system, based on a completely different view of Man, seems to be working rather well. The British Medical Journal this week reports that acupuncture raises the success rate of IVF treatment by 65 per cent. The finding is based on seven solid scientific trials involving 1,366 women, and the researchers say the result is "statistically significant", which suggests that it is far above the placebo effect.
Now how can this be? Acupuncture doesn't work with the standard bio-chemical model, but instead sees Man as an energy system.
So who's right?
The final arbiter in all such things is, of course, Prof Edzard Ernst, that scourge of all things alternative. He told a journalist at The Times newspaper: "Much of the observed effect could be due to a placebo response. IVF may not seem to be 'placebo-prone' but it probably is."
Thoughts affecting the body? So, it's true - Man is an energy system after all.