English: A graph of age-adjusted percent of adults who have used complementary and alternative medicine in 2002 in the United States according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am afraid my letter this month is a very short one and most probably not worth publishing, but . . . I have been working hard on my course (the science of happiness) and busy marking exams, preparing classes, and working with students. But just this week someone at the university suggested I apply for an open tutoring post in the Pharmacy Management program. The subject is Medical Anthropology. It is open for anthropologists, of course, but also for philosophers! One requisite is to write a five-page essay. I thought of a topic brought for discussion many times here: alternative medicine. So I am using Doctor Harriet Hall’s articles, a good article from 1998 by Doctors Kaptchuk and Eisenberg “The Persuasive Appeal of Alternative Medicine,” and a report called “Colombia’s Alternative Medicine Characterization” made by some universities with collaboration from alternative medicine organizations.
Interesting that in the latter, the authors dedicate a whole chapter to debunk the idea that science and the scientific method is the “only way” to know the world. Lots of complicated words, citations, all to conclude that alternative medicine is valid because the world is complicated and unpredictable. Well, I have something to write about now!
I realize meditation is viewed as alternative medicine and this week we are precisely talking about meditation in the Science of Happiness course. But in the course they are citing serious studies that involve the concept of neuroplasticity to show how mediation could have an impact in the brain and the experiencing of positive emotions. The caveat is that this is an early science (research on the effects of meditation in the brain) so take everything a little bit with caution and just experience and see how you feel. Hey, it is not costing me anything, I don’t see any possible bad side effects, so I am going to try it! But I would definitely not try “color” or “quantum” therapy. I wish I had my essay ready to send it as my letter!
Maybe next month…