Health

What the health?

Health
Written by dona

What is health?

Everyone is talking about the new documentary, What the Health? The film explores and decries the state of modern health care in Japan. The film labels traditional Japanese medicine (JTMs) as quackery and dangerous. While we understand that most people have a knee-jerk reaction to anything that smacks of pseudoscience, this case is different. JVMs are not being openly mocked and ridiculed by mainstream culture; JTMs are being systematically excluded from it. Many of us grew up with these traditions.

They shape our culture, language, and cuisine. These ancient healing practices need to be acknowledged for what they truly are: valuable, life-saving traditions that deserve to be preserved for future generations. We do not believe the film has produced any evidence that supports its claims against JTTs or other alternative therapies. In fact, many of the assertions made in the movie are blatantly false or misleading — for example: * False statement: Alternative medicines can’t help treat infectious diseases like tuberculosis * False statement: Alternative medicines can’t help treat chronic conditions like diabetes * False statement: Alternative medicines can’t help prevent cardiovascular disease

What is health?

The new documentary film What the Health? explores and decries the state of modern health care in Japan. The film labels traditional Japanese medicine (JTMs) as quackery and dangerous. While we understand that most people have a knee-jerk reaction to anything that smacks of pseudoscience, this case is different. JVMs are not being openly mocked and ridiculed by mainstream culture; JTMs are being systematically excluded from it. Many of us grew up with these traditions. They shape our culture, language, and cuisine.

These ancient healing practices need to be acknowledged for what they truly are: valuable, life-saving traditions that deserve to be preserved for future generations. We do not believe the film has produced any evidence that supports its claims against JTTs or other alternative therapies. In fact, many of the assertions made in the movie are blatantly false or misleading — for example: * False statement: Alternative medicines can’t help treat infectious diseases like tuberculosis * False statement: Alternative medicines can’t help treat chronic conditions like diabetes * False statement: Alternative medicines can’t help prevent cardiovascular disease Health

Why JTMs are important to Japanese culture

JVMs are a core component of Japanese culture. They go back thousands of years, and they are deeply woven into the fabric of modern Japanese life. JVMs have been extensively studied and proven to be highly effective in treating a range of ailments. Since ATMs are not FDA-approved, however, they are largely ignored by the Western medical establishment. This is an opportunity for medical professionals and healthcare reformers to explore an ancient, effective, and safe practice that can benefit all people.

JVMs can play an important role in building bridges between the Western and Eastern medical worlds, and between different cultures. JVMs have also been used in conservation efforts, as a tool to teach traditional ecological knowledge to students and to help communities adapt to climate change. ATMs need to be a part of discussions on how to respond to the health challenges of our era, and how best to protect and care for the planet.

What we don’t know about alternative medicine

There is a lot we don’t know about alternative medicine. Studies have shown that when ASAM-accredited physicians use CAM, patients do better. This is because CAM use is often associated with unaccredited practitioners, who have received no formal training to provide medical care. CAM can also be dangerous when it’s used in lieu of traditional care, or when it’s used in place of proven therapies.

CAM can be a useful addition to traditional medicine, but it should not be used as a replacement. Further, CAM’s alleged life-saving powers don’t hold up to scrutiny. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has evaluated CAM and found that “none of the interventions evaluated by the agency have sufficient evidence to support their use in the United States for the treatment of any condition.” CAM is not a reliable source of health care, and it is time-consuming and ineffective.

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The downfall of the film: Lack of evidence and misleading arguments

The filmmakers of What the Health? claim to have “decoded the Japanese health care system” and “revealed the truth about traditional medicine in Japan.” However, these claims are based on an exaggerated reading of a few health studies that are misleading at best and are refuted by the film itself. Further, the filmmakers omit information that would have supported the case for ATMs, such as the fact that Japan is the only country in the world with no obesity epidemic; the fact that the Japanese have the longest life expectancy in the world; and the fact that Japan has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world. The filmmakers also make misleading claims about the safety of vaccines and other Western medical care. For example, they promote the idea that vaccines are unsafe and ineffective. They also claim that traditional Japanese medicine is safer and more effective than Western medicine when this is not supported by evidence.

Conclusion

What is the Health? is a misleading, deceptive, and dangerous film. The filmmakers rely on cherry-picked data and ignore information that would support JTMs and the safety of vaccines. They seek to demonize and vilify alternative therapies, which pose no real threat to public health. JVMs do have their risks, but so do many medical practices we take for granted. JVMs can play an important role in building bridges between the Western and Eastern medical worlds, and between different cultures. They also have a role to play in building a more sustainable and equitable healthcare system. JVMs need to be a part of discussions on how to respond to the health challenges of our era, and how best to protect and care for the planet.

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dona

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