Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : May 9, 2017 Contents PAGE 22 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2017
I admit to being a sceptic. If someone pronounces a new scientific breakthrough or a cure for
a disease, or proclaims the existence of UFOs or extra-terrestrial life I remain skeptical. I
need to be convinced on the basis of objective evidence and the application of scientific
Working in the health sector a person becomes attuned to all sorts of quackery practiced on
gullible individuals who are prepared to hand over their hard earned cash for unproven
alternative therapies and medicines. Worse still, this is even supported by our education
system through the provision of courses in such areas as Homeopathy, Naturopathy,
Chiropractic and other pseudo-scientific nonsense.
Recently my anti-quackery radar has been detecting an upsurge in patients being sent to
doctors by Naturopaths and other non-medical practitioners to obtain a referral for
pathology tests. This presents a dilemma for the doctor: do they go along with this nonsense
and order unnecessary tests or do they resist and disappoint the patients who have been led
by the 'alternative health' practitioner to believe that the tests are needed? This sort of
activity leads to unjustifiable costs both for the tax-payer funded health system and for the
Why is it that so many of us get sucked in by pseudo-scientific quackery such as homeopathy,
reiki, crystals, reflexology, iridology, naturopathy, chiropractic or are prepared to purchase
no end of dietary supplements to cure anything from Carpel Tunnel Syndrome to Cancer
without any convincing evidence that they actually work? Quack, Quack, Quack.
Most, if not all, claims made for alternative or complementary therapies are not just
unsubstantiated but are bereft of any evidential basis. John Dwyer, Emeritus Professor of
Medicine at UNSW considers the claims made by chiropractors and others to be “dangerous”.
I can hear people now reading these words saying to themselves that this or that 'therapy'
helped them. The relationship between body and mind is complex and one affects the other,
this has been the subject of studies by eminent neuroscientists such as Fabrizzio Benedetti
who has made a lifelong study of the Placebo Effect. Any sense of improved well being from
these alternatives will be a 'placebo effect' and there is at present no convincing clinical trial
data to support the idea that Complementary and Alternative therapies provide real health
benefits. It is true that there are some therapies such as acupuncture and massage that can
lay claim to a long history of use and there is evidence, albeit anecdotal, of a health benefit.
Also various well conducted studies have shown the practice of meditation to be
Without properly conducted clinical trials we cannot know for sure if a complementary
therapy, alternative therapy or medical treatment actually works. We also cannot know what
risks may be involved.
Some things you can do to reduce risk from complementary medicines, products and
l Ask the practitioner what the risks are associated with the treatment. For example,
extreme chiropractic movement of the neck has been linked to stroke, an outcome that is
well-documented in medical literature and is probably under-reported.
l Look for “Listed Aust R” which means a product is considered low risk and has been
assessed for safety and quality
l Look for “Registered Aust R” which means the product is considered higher risk but has
been assessed for safety, quality and how well it works (according to the manufacturer)
l Tell your GP if you are taking complementary medications. There may be harmful
interactions or the effectiveness of the prescription drugs may be compromised by the
complementary medications. For example, gingko and chamomile may increase the risk
of bleeding in people who take anticoagulant drugs such as Warfrin or anti-inflammatory
medicines such as Aspirin. They may be 'natural' but even some herbs can cause
miscarriages in pregnant women.
Avoid the temptation to self-diagnose and self-treat as there is real potential to do indirect
harm to yourself by delaying appropriate diagnosis and treatments. It is not unusual for
people to “Google” and try complementary therapies and medicines in an effort to cure
themselves when the sensible thing would be to see their doctor first. In the case of serious
conditions such as cancer or cardiac problems delays in diagnosis and treatment can result in
complications or death.
Unlike medical practitioners, Complementary therapy practitioners in Australia are largely
self-regulated. While professional associations exist, membership is generally voluntary;
three exceptions in Victoria are Acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners and
Chinese herbal medicine practitioners that are legally obliged to register with the Chinese
Medicine Registration Board. If you have any concerns at all about any complementary
medicine, or therapy ask your doctor who can either advise you or put you in contact with an
appropriate organisation or government body. (The views expressed above are those of the
author only and do not purport to represent the views of the Wonthaggi Medical Group or its
References: Benedetti, Fabrizio (2008) Placebo Effects: Understanding the mechanisms in
health and disease: 9780199559121: Medicine & Health Science Books @ Amazon.com
Bebedetti, Fabrizio (2010) The Patients Brain: The Neuroscience behind the doctor-patient
relationship, ISBN-13: 978-0199579518, Oxford University Press
Solomon P et al (2002) “Ginko for memory enhancement: a randomized trial”, in JAMA,
2002, Aug 21; 288 (7):385-40
Edzard, Ernst Professor (2013) “Complementary medicine (CM): changing attitudes”
Haggan, Megan (2016) Integrative Medicine 'Health Fraud and Quackery', AJP.com.au,
Barrett, Stephen MD (2013) 'A close look at Naturopathy' in Quackwatch
Guardian Newspaper(2012) Report by Alok Jha May 14 2012 “Dangers of Chiropractic
42 Murray Street, Wonthaggi
25 a’Beckett Street, Inverloch
By John Turner
B Soc. Welf., Master Intl & Community Development, MAICD, MAAPM
(Article courtesy of Wonthaggi Medical Group, 42 Murray St, Wonthaggi)
BASS Coast needs more paths, but which ar-
eas should be prioritised?
Last year, the Aspirational Network Pathways
Plan identified 53 potential paths for Bass
And now the community, and visitors, have
had their chance online to nominate areas
where paths are needed.
The online map, created to understand where
people walk, run and/or cycle in the shire, has
been inundated with hundreds of messages
supporting or opposing path ideas.
For example, an idea for a track from Inver-
loch to Cape Paterson has received more than
100 comments online.
Amanda Daemen commented that it was a
“I've spent many hours worrying that my fam-
ily members return safely after running this
“Having a path will be much safer. The views
from the track will also be a great tourist at-
“Bring it on!” Ms Daemen wrote.
On the same idea, an anonymous user said
they were “not keen on any removal of vegeta-
Dalyston residents wanted to see paths in
their town and many other users suggested
ideas for paths in Inverloch and on Phillip Is-
The council and Tract Consultants have also
been hosting a series of community engagement
sessions to gain feedback on the plan.
At a session at the Wonthaggi Library on Tues-
day, May 2, Bass Coast residents Aileen Vening
and Pauline McGregor had a discussion about
which paths should be given priority.
“From Cape Paterson to Inverloch, it’s like
our own little Great Ocean Road.
“It’s equally as stunning,” she said.
Ms McGregor said any path that is built needs
to be wide enough to fit professional and recre-
ational cyclists, as well as walkers and runners.
The Aspirational Pathways online consulta-
tion has now closed.
The council will accept any written submis-
sions or phone calls until 5pm, Friday, May 12.
The council’s phone number is 1300 BCOAST
Bass Coast residents Aileen Vening and Pauline McGregor attended a community engage-
ment session in Wonthaggi about the Aspirational Network Pathways Plan. mm0119187
A DEDICATED staff member at Ritchies
SUPA IGA in Wonthaggi is checking out
of her job as service supervisor after 35
Gaile Fincher began as a casual worker
packing shelves and soon moved her way
up the ladder to service supervisor.
To some staff she is a mother figure, al-
ways happy to have a chat and act as a
mentor for younger generations.
She also raises the morale at work and
always has her chin up.
Gaile said she’s ready to retire, with a trip
to Thailand with her family already booked.
“I ’ve worked with a lot of people.
“I thought I’d be working with my grand-
son, who’s 13, ” she said, laughing.
“I come in on the weekend and I’ll be
shopping and I’ll start straightening up
the newspapers,” she said, adding that she
will miss her colleagues.
Store manager Paul Cox said he knew af-
ter just two weeks of working at the store
that he’d have to get along with her other-
wise he’d be in all sorts of trouble.
He said she has truly “done the hard
“I t’s amazing, isn’t it?
“I ’m happy for her, but also sad that
“She brings up the morale in the place
and you can have a good laugh and chat
with her. ”
He has worked at the store for a lot less
time than Gaile has, in fact 30 years less.
While the two have had their ups and
downs, they’re good friends and will miss
seeing each other at work.
Gaile will continue to come in to shop
and have a chat, so customers can take
comfort in the fact that they won’t be see-
ing the last of her.
The team at Ritchies SUPA IGA in Wonthaggi wish Gaile Fincher (third from left) good
luck and thank her for 35 years of service. Mm051917
Gaile checks out
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