09 June 2009

Alternative medicine goes mainstream

This one is really a window into our future:

BALTIMORE (AP) - At one of the nation's top trauma hospitals, a nurse circles a patient's bed, humming and waving her arms as if shooing evil spirits. Another woman rubs a quartz bowl with a wand, making tunes that mix with the beeping monitors and hissing respirator keeping the man alive. They are doing Reiki therapy, which claims to heal through invisible energy fields.
Imagine that future: hospitals without the expensive electronic paraphernalia, without all these machines with lots of lights and buttons that go ping incessantly. No expensive-looking surgeons strutting around, with their green smocks and rakishly askew face masks. No continuously ringing phones and scratchy voices over the loudspeakers (the news will be passed by telepathic waves). No expensively colored pills, lozenges and gel caps in these hated plastic saucers, ruining your family finances, destroying your country's economy and playing havoc with your gastric juices.

Only seedy looking matrons with card packs, crystal balls and strangely smelling liquids in assorted bottles and vials. Add an owl on the shoulder, black cat on the other, and you get the picture, I guess...

Magic surgeons from Philippines will replace or repair your gizzards without actually cutting you up and stitching you back afterward. Your anesthesia will be performed by Uri Geller over TV. The camel urine in your daily medicine dose will be nicely attenuated by belladonna extract, and you really don't want to know what herbs does that old hag with a crooked back, one eye and lethal halitosis put in your tea. As for the dental problems - oh boy, you never dreamed of the easiness and smoothness of getting your remaining molars out by that trained chimp with steel fingers.

One thing, I guess, will hardly change: the bills sent by your new age health provider to your old age health insurance company. Add a pinch of new age magic, and you may be amazed even more than you are amazed today by a $200 bill for a casually handed over aspirin pill.

Unless, of course, the insurance company will agree to take your deductibles in nature products you gather yourself in your backyard. Or in fresh chicken eggs from your best hen. Or whatever...