Modern Medicine Dismisses Skill

Well at least health skills in patients. Health behaviors are requested from patients, but only unskilled ones! For instance, in asthma and obstructive pulmonary disease, no breathing skill is taught or even considered. In diabetes, eating (more than just avoiding something) might be considered a skill, but patients are told to eat anything and just keep adding insulin. And of course, in the voluminous area of inflammatory disease (which includes most ‘auto-immune’ disease) patients are steered away from any social, spiritual, or even breathing or kinesiological skill that would reduce physiological stress or inflammation. Drugs of course, are the epitome of ‘unskilled’ interventions–certainly unskilled for the recipient and perhaps largely unskilled for the prescriber.

It wasn’t so drastically that way say 50, 40 or even 30 years ago. I don’t think allopathy is intrinsically against patient skill. Why the change? Well Big Pharma has certainly been a factor. It funds most research and it certainly won’t fund research on drug-less skills in living. Traditional health recommendations, like rest, relaxation, vacations, enjoying life, breathing slower, romance, meaningful hobbies, eating for true pleasure, etc are not based on double-blind studies and so it is now considered malpractice to recommend them. Physical therapy, formerly a storehouse of advice and training in posture and movement, is now treated as a crutch and wheelchair dispensary service.

Also skills are hard to make into independent variables for research because some participants might not really master the skill (and some of the ‘controls’ might already being practicing the skill) In this way, skills are never proven ‘scientifically’ and so no longer get recommended. Over the last few decades, health skills have been lost in the mainstream, and in medical education.

Michael Samsel

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