You’ve got symptoms you don’t understand, or maybe you’ve got a diagnosis, but the doctor was vague about what you can do to help yourself. The pills don’t work, or you get side-effects. So what do you do?
You go surfing. Without taking lessons, or checking the currents, or watching out for sharks, you launch yourself into the Pacific rollers. The internet is a wonderful playground, where you can meet all sorts of people and find out anything you need to know. But there certainly are sharks, and reefs, and very deep water, and a lot of the information you’ll come across is not really information at all. Not all the people are quite what they seem, either.
It’s really more like a vast bazaar than an ocean. Some stalls are offering information and education, but a lot more are trying to sell you something – and those are the ones with the bright colours, the heartwarming stories, the pictures and the promises. When you’re ill, you’re vulnerable. You want someone to tell you that there is a solution, and if you just take this supplement or have this treatment, all will be well. And while we know that placebos do work, you may end up spending a lot of money for little benefit.
It’s certainly better to work with a healthcare practitioner who can sit with you, listen to your story, examine you if need be, and work with the changes as they occur. But if you still want to go surfing – and most people do – then at least get help from someone who knows how to interpret and evaluate what you’ll find out there. In the bazaar, you’d keep an eye on your wallet and watch out for shoddy goods. Where your health is concerned, you owe it to yourself to do the same.