Alternative treatments no substitute for medical help

I was shocked to see a chiropractic pop-up "clinic" offering "free spinal scans" to shoppers at a supermarket recently.

It was even more shocking to see these "scans" done on the spot by staff dressed casually in T-shirts, jeans and running shoes - essentially salesmen trying to get shoppers to sign up for "treatment" packages.

This is unprofessional. How can a cursory "scan" enable anyone to determine how many visits are necessary for treatment to be effective?

It is understandable that people who wish to get fitter are keen to seek gentler, drug-free and less intrusive forms of treatment.

While chiropractors and what they do may be widely accepted in some countries, people with genuine spinal problems should consult medical professionals like orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists.

The proliferation of alternative healthcare practitioners, many of whom dish out unsanctioned, unregulated and unproven forms of treatment, is a serious concern. They could do more harm than good. I am sure many of these practitioners are sincere and believe in the efficacy of their methods. But the public should conduct research and seek understanding before committing themselves to treatment at great financial cost.

Medical intervention cannot be replaced by aura cleansing, seaweed soup or crystal healing. People who are ill can be desperate in looking for cures. I hope the Health Ministry can issue educational leaflets or conduct workshops to keep the public informed.

Michael Loh Toon Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 03, 2016, with the headline 'Alternative treatments no substitute for medical help'. Print Edition | Subscribe