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All About FibromyalgiaA Guide for Patients and their Families$
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Daniel J. Wallace and Janice Brock Wallace

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195147537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195147537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 June 2021

Behind the Hype: Unproven, Experimental, Herbal, and Innovative Remedies

Behind the Hype: Unproven, Experimental, Herbal, and Innovative Remedies

23 Behind the Hype: Unproven, Experimental, Herbal, and Innovative Remedies
All About Fibromyalgia

Daniel J. Wallace

Janice Brock Wallace

Oxford University Press

Advocates of practical though controversial lifestyle approaches have always found a sympathetic ear in the United States since the time folk practitioner Sylvester Graham’s principles of health, nutrition, and fitness (in addition to inventing the Graham cracker) achieved cult status in the 1840s. Heroic, misguided therapies were administered by allopathic (mainstream) physicians throughout the nineteenth century. This created fertile ground for promoters of patent medicines and nostrums to those escaping organized medicine’s use of leeches, cupping, phlebotomy (blood drawing) knives, and brutal laxative regimens. During the Progressive Era, medicine started to improve with the establishment of postgraduate training programs at Johns Hopkins University just before the turn of the century and the regulation of medicines as part of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. The final revolution occurred when two-thirds of the medical schools in the United States closed following revelations of their inadequacies by the investigative Flexner Report funded by the Carnegie Foundation in 1910. Despite these changes, however, the appeal of alternative therapies to the American public continues unabated. The previous two chapters have described how mainstream, organized, conventional medicine approaches fibromyalgia. Even though their therapies usually provide significant relief of symptoms and signs, traditional physicians to some extent must regard themselves as failures. In the United States, one person in three has consulted a complementary medicine practitioner. These individuals spend $23 billion a year on this approach, $13 billion of which is out-of-pocket and not reimbursed by insurance. This exceeds all expenditures on hospital care in the United States. A 1996 Canadian study found that of several hundred fibromyalgia patients, 70 percent purchased unproven over-the-counter rubs, creams, vitamins, or herbs; 40 percent sought help from alternative medicine practitioners such as chiropractors, massage therapists, homeopaths, reflexologists, or acupuncturists; and 26 percent went on special diets. Since it is logical to believe that people who are tired and hurt want to get better, it follows that some fibromyalgia patients will try anything that is not harmful to improve their medical condition. This chapter is dedicated to patients who wish to “look before they leap” into nontraditional therapies.

Keywords:   Canada, Flexner report, Great Britain, adrenal cortex, breast milk, calamus, dialyzable leukocyte extract, fatty acids, gamma globulin

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