Part 3: From fact to fiction; putting the healer’s claims to the test

As soon as I got home from the alternative healer’s office, I began researching some of the concepts Bruce (again, not his real name) had talked about with such conviction.

  • Epigenetics and hair testing, the one bit that seemed “science-y” turns out to be “unscientific, economically wasteful, and probably illegal” according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • Water memory: “contradicts current scientific understanding of physical chemistry and is generally not accepted by the scientific community”.
  • Ozone therapy: “no known useful medical application”
  • Live blood analysis: “no scientific evidence that live blood analysis is reliable or effective, […] a fraudulent means of convincing people that they are ill and should purchase dietary supplements.”

Oh dear.

It has been a week since then. I’ve been taking 27 supplement doses a day, on top of my regular medications, which take me up to 30. I’ve cut down significantly on alcohol, gluten, dairy and processed foods, and upped my water and green tea. I’ve swapped my usual chocolate and cake for nuts, fruit and bliss balls. I’ve put limits on my phone apps and have been much more disciplined about not looking at my phone a couple of hours before bed. 

Photo by Ella Olsson on

And I feel… immensely better. Hardly surprising, with all those lifestyle changes, is it? Perhaps I just needed someone else to tell me to do the obvious. In any case, my energy has lifted enormously. I haven’t had any 8pm bedtimes and my afternoon naps have all but disappeared.

But at an annual cost of $4,200 for the supplements alone, my current course of treatment is unsustainable. It also hasn’t been a cure-all. Looking back at that list I made of 14 maladies (I quickly add a few more that I’ve just thought of), there are still a fair few to deal with.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on

It’s time to bring in my next expert. This time I’m focused on some of my physical issues: a painful lower back, and tension in my neck and shoulders. 

Back in London I saw an incredible woman called Andrea Rippe (real name!) who practised osteopathy in Kennington. Every time I left her I honestly felt a foot taller. So although I have lost what little faith I ever had in Bruce, I’m ready to give his suggestion of osteopathy a go.

I know some see osteopathy as “alternative”, but there is at least some evidence showing its efficacy for neck, shoulder and back pain. In New Zealand, osteopathy has been funded by ACC for over 35 years. In other words, it’s verging on the conventional. Besides, let’s be honest: if something works, it works, and I don’t mind too much how it works.

Four years ago, doing my yoga teacher training in Bali, a lump on my wrist was bothering me. I had already been referred for an operation in the UK, and had a procedure done on it in New Zealand. Neither worked, and it came back each time. My yoga teacher recommended a local traditional healer, who had fixed one of her chronic pain problems. I gave it a go. There was a lot of agony as Nyoman slapped my legs and arms hard with a wooden paddle, and twisted my toes to the point of excruciating pain. Four years later, the lump hasn’t come back. How on earth it worked, I have no idea. But it did. All that to say, I’m willing to give things a go.

Nyoman – or Papa – at work on a willing victim

In this series of articles – The Wellbeing Quest – I’m recording my efforts to beat my fatigue and other health issues. It’s lovely to see you here.

Next time: Beyond my back: getting more than I bargained for with an osteopath.


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