Friday, October 06, 2006

Veterinary Science Making Giant Strides Backwards

Dressage Today is a reasonably straightlaced equine magazine, with woo only ocassionally creeping in at the edges, but the October 2006 issue has nearly two full pages of woo, sadly. Worse, it's by a vet. Worse, it's by Ingrid (daughter of Olympic rider Reiner) Klimke's personal travelling vet (also the vet for the German Olympic team). Strangely placed in an article on "Ingrid Klimke explains her long-range plans for developing young horses into fit, supple and happy individuals" - it seems the only reason to put the two together is that Dr Gösmeier travels around with Ingrid giving lectures and clinics on her magic treatments and selling her books.

Dr Gösmeier's bio in the magazine states

After qualifying to practice veterinary medicine and kinesiology she sought training in TCM, studying in Switzerland and China.

Oooh... Kinesiology... And Switzerland seems a strange place to study TCM. Wouldn't that be the place to study TSM (Traditional Swiss Medicine)?

According to this world famous vet

Every horse is a combination of the five types - wood, earth, fire, metal, water - and each type is linked to an organ and reflects a wide range of characteristics. [...] Because a horse's type never changes, it is very helpful for prognosis and treatment plans.

Unfortunately, the article doesn't say how to determine your horse's "type" (maybe a body tap or lumbar puncture to see which element comes out?). EoR also wonders whether, if your horse is a specific type, does that mean it's missing the associated organs for the types it's not?

Dr Gösmeier states that stiffness in the morning may not be arthritis after all:

It may be more of a type conflict; this horse may hate his stable neighbour and will be stiff in the morning from being angry all night.

She also promotes the amazing curative benefits of acupuncture, acupressure and bach flowers. Acupuncture must only be done by a trained veterinarian, she warns (presumably, if you do it yourself, the horse might explode), but you can perform acupressure without supervision. But only if you follow the necessary preparation:

Stand up and rub hands together briskly, first palm to palm and then back to back, followed by 'knocking' each fist firmly against the opposite arm, going up from wrist to shoulder on the inner surface and from shoulder to wrist on the outer arm.

By this stage your horse should be looking at you with a worried look, even if all the people around you aren't.

Bach flowers are good because, like homeopathy,

both are diluted to such a degree that it is difficult to imagine how either could produce any effect at all.

Well, yes, you'd imagine a trained veterinarian would want to question whether they did work or not, given that premiss. She tells us that they are, however, not a cure-all (nor, she points out, is acupuncture):

quite good for treating mental or temperament problems - not illness.

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