The current trend toward alternative medicine is often credited to the anti-vaccine movement, but the flawed U.S. health care system and companies that sell these treatments leads people to seek these other options.
While alternative medicines do not always work, instead of shaming people who seek these treatments, people should shame the companies that sell them as well as the inadequate health care system that leads people to seek other options.
There are several forms of alternative medicine such as healing crystals, essential oils and herbal supplements. These treatments are often thought of as being complementary form of medicine to the customer’s standard health care. However, alternative forms cannot be a complement to healthcare if there is no adequate standard healthcare to begin with.
From inadequate response to the pandemic to high costs which serve as deterrents and to reliance on crowdfunding websites for medical care, there are multiple ways in which the current standard health care system is failing. People shouldn’t have to plead their case for medical bills on a crowdfunding platform or forego treatment due to the high cost.
The high costs of health care is what often leads people to turn to alternative medicines such as crystals, which are considered to be a source of healing in some alternative medicine circles. Many people joke about the trend of crystal healing and shame those who consider it to be a real treatment or a substitute for actual health care.
However, this distracts from the reality that alternative medicine can be a response to anxiety and skepticism about the health care system.
While some people have listened to anti-vaccine propaganda, many people are skeptical about health care for understandable reasons. The health care system has a racist, sexist history that continues today. Women have been known to be misdiagnosed at higher rates than men while Black women die more during childbirth than white women.
People distrust doctors often due to bad personal experiences with them where they felt unheard and gaslit. This is why people may turn to crystals, herbal concoctions and other alternative medicine products.
The blame is not just on the health care system in the U.S. but also on the companies that take advantage of desperate customers who want health care in order to maximize their profits.
Many companies that sell crystals, supplements and other alternative treatments are just taking advantage of these customers. Their goal is to make money, not treat patients. The treatments are often inaccurately advertised as well, with companies often selling fake crystals and watered down treatments. Customers who buy these treatments often do not even get what they paid for.
Rejecting these treatments should not include scorning people for engaging in the consumption but companies who market these products and the health care system that creates the demand for such products to exist.
Christopher Hernandez is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]