Magnetic bracelets, like most alternative medicine, are a contentious issue. Mainstream medicine hates anything that sounds like it’s remotely connected to anything “alternative”. They say that they are the experts and it is their carefully stage-managed, double-blind, controlled studies published in peer-reviewed journals (owned by an oligopoly of publishers who prevent scientists from republishing their own work) that should call the shots.
And they have little time for any uppity member of the public who dares to pit their personal experience – or “anecdotal evidence” as the experts call it – against the “solid science” of the healthcare professionals.
But should we really be quite so deferential to the so-called experts? We tried that with the financial experts and look where it got us. We were led (up the garden path) to believe that there was a small clique of financial giants who towered head and shoulders above the rest of us and who knew better than us what was good for our financial health. And then it all came a-cropper in 2008 – just as it had in 1929 and at various other times when the Big Boys got it badly wrong. And once again – as usual – they came back with that tired old excuse: we weren’t stupid; we were just unlucky.
And that’s the way it is with experts. When they’re right, it’s because they’re smart and clever and knowledgeable and oh-so-well-informed, steeped in scholarship, learning and wisdom that the rest of us couldn’t even begin to understand. No one should ever dare to suggest that they got it right simply because they were lucky. But come disaster hour and they’re quick to land the first punch by telling us that while their success at calling the shots is due to their almost unerring wisdom. Their failure cannot be credited to lack of wisdom. No, it is a case of: when we’re right we’re smart and when we’re wrong it’s because lady-luck threw us a googly (curve-ball is the best approximate analogy, if you’re an American).
In the case of the financial realm, some of those Goliaths of Mamon (the businessmen if not the academics) can at least claim that they have actually made money themselves, proving that they must know what they are doing, to some extent. That they have also lost money – in many cases – they are quick to gloss over.
But none of this applies to the medical community. Can we honestly say that healthcare professionals are healthier than the rest of the population? Some are. But some plainly aren’t. I remember once being told by a nurse, after I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, that I had to lose weight. I am 5’6″ and at the time I weighed nearly 14 stone. But the nurse who gave me this cautionary advice was slightly shorter than I weight about 20! Of course, she meant well, and I wouldn’t have dreamt of making any crass remarks about the pot calling the kettle black. But it served as a salutary reminder that whilst the experts may indeed know best – sometimes- the old adage “physician, heal thyself” rings true.
So why then should we defer to them on the subject of magnetic therapy. Were they not the ones who once told us that blood-letting works? (It might for dictators, but not for doctors!) Should we not, instead, simply listen to our own bodies? And if our bodies tell us that magnetic therapy works for us, then why should we be dissuaded from wearing a bracelet that costs maybe £10 or £20, or even more, instead of adding our names to a weighting list or jumping the queue and splashing out hundreds, or even thousands, on mainstream medicine that frequently fares no better.
Of course there’s always painkillers… but don’t even get me started on those!