Friday, September 29, 2006

SolarisCare - Evidence Based Woo

The Mind&Body supplement in the West Australian for September 19, 2006 contains two articles espousing the wonderful work being done at the SolarisCare Foundation. Apparently, this is the new name for the old Brownes Cancer Support Centre at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (the linked website appears to have last been updated in 2004).

The first article is "Tackling Healing Feet First" about the wonderful magic of reflexology. Consider the logical impossibility of the following:

Maybe try reflexology, an ancient therapy that applies pressure to the feet and hands to promote natural healing within the body. Reflexology is considered a complementary, not alternative, form of therapy and was developed in the early 1900s.

It seems in altieworld that 1900 is "ancient".

The article doesn't claim reflexology cures anything, only that it is "used alongside" real therapies "to assist with symptoms of illness" (funny, EoR thought alties always lambasted real medicine because it only dealt with the symptoms, not the illness) such as migraines, back pain, arthritis, stress, hormonal imbalances and cancer. The Solaris support centre manager, David Oliver, is quoted as stating reflexology is not a cure, while the state director of the Reflexology Association of Australia (EoR imagines their AGM involves a lot of footsies under the tables) Anne Young claimed reflexology "was very successful in strengthening patients' spirits". Presumably, that's as measured on the ISO standard Acme spirit-o-meter.

More of this fatuous propaganda appears in the second article, "REDUCING CANCER ILLS" with the subheading:

New WA research is showing the benefits of complementary therapies not only for cancer patients but for their carers too.

EoR is always pleased to see research providing new information about disease, and new ways of tackling them. Research such as that discussed recently by Orac where breast cancer patients (in an admittedly small study) who only used alternative therapies had vastly poorer outcomes than those using conventional treatments. So, what new research has SolarisCare come up with to prove the efficacy of their magic methods? Yes, it's the altie gold standard of a customer satisfaction survey, as bravely pioneered by desperate homeopaths.

Cancer patients who have undergone complementary therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology and reiki at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital's SolarisCare centre have reported a massive 50 per cent improvement in their symptoms. More than 800 WA cancer patients, who collectively received more than 2000 treatments at the centre (previously known as the Brownes Cancer Support Centre), were asked to respond to a research survey. David Joske, director of the SolarisCare Foundation and head of haemotology for Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, said the five years of research data into the effects of using complementary touch-based medicine alongside standard medical treatment had shown it was an overwhelming success.

"Overwhelming success"! "50 per cent improvement"! It's like an advertisement for soap powder. Dr Joske, however, is no fool and knows his science:

"We are using a scientific approach to consider the possibility that within each of us lies a form of energy that can be harnessed to benefit our health," he said.

Like fairy dust, EoR presumes. Or perhaps he could investigate the possibility that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists within all of us (it does, but science isn't going to prove it).

EoR would like to know: where has this customer satisfaction survey been published? How many surveys were not returned? What was the customer satisfaction level from those who gained no benefit or died?

The article is accompanied by a photograph of a Mind&Body regular, "Pranic healing therapist Rae Yorg treats carer Beth Douglas at the centre". Can you see the magic invisible undetectable woowaves?

Pranic woo

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