I know I spent a fair bit of time last week slapping down Mike Adams, creator of NaturalNews.com website. In reality, he richly deserved it, as he has richly deserved it many times in the past. Indeed, were I so inclined, I could devote this blog to nothing but the deconstruction of the quackery and woo laid down each and every day by Mike Adams and his merry band of quacks, much as Kim Wombles does with the anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism through her blog Countering Age of Autism, but I’d eventually get tired of it and so would you. Sometimes I do get tired of it.
This is not one of those times.
The reason is that Mike Adams has surpassed even himself. Apparently, not content with his rant against skeptics, he appears to want to describe for his readers the very philosophy of woo that drives him, if you will. Thus far, it it consists of three parts, How to Heal Yourself in 15 Days, Heal yourself in 15 days by recognizing your innate healing power, Heal yourself in 15 days – You are what you absorb. If Adams’ last effort was a black hole of burning stupid incinerating every straw man in the universe, his latest effort is just a black hole of stupid, sucking any hint of reason, science, and knowledge into its insatiable maw beyond its event horizon.
Can you really heal yourself in 15 days? Without using prescription drugs, vaccines, chemotherapy or surgery? Absolutely!
Your body strives to heal itself automatically, every single day. The only thing that really needs to happen for your body to begin healing itself is for you to remove the barriers to healing — the barriers that are holding you back right now.
That’s why you’ll greatly enjoy this 15-part article series by the Health Ranger, published here on NaturalNews over the next three weeks or so. This isn’t a rehash of the health tips you already know — eat right, exercise more, hydrate yourself, and so on — it’s a completely new way to look at how to unleash the healing potential you already possess.
15 parts. Oh, goody. I’m so excited. I get to look forward to more of this. If the first three parts are any indication of what’s to come, all I can say is that I need me some tinfoil (or something) to protect my neurons from the waves of cosmic stupid emanating from Adams’ website. You’ll see what I mean in a minute. Of course, Adams is doing this all out of the goodness of his heart, too. Apparently he wanted to write this as a book, but just couldn’t wait because it might take as long as a year to see print. Of course, the wag in me can’t resist wondering whether the real reason that Adams is publishing online is that no publisher wanted to take him on, although, given the level of pure quackery by Suzanne Somers published by a reputable publisher, I find it hard to believe that Adams couldn’t find a publisher somewhere would would think there’s money to be made selling woo to the credulous.
His first day consists of yet another bunch of strawmen about “Western medicine” basically designed to set the tone; you know, the same old spiel about how “Western” medicine doesn’t care about quality of life, how it’s all pharmaceuticals, how it defines health as “normal lab values,” all of which are gross distortions. Boring. I’d much rather move on to the second part, which is where the real woo gets started.
Oddly enough, the first part almost sounds reasonable. Adams marvels at how the body can heal itself automatically in resopnse to injury. This is true. Our bodies do possess a remarkable capability for self-repair. No one denies this. Indeed, physicians who witness it never cease to marvel at it. The next time you cut yourself or suffer a minor scrape, do yourself a favor. Look at it every day. Marvel at how it heals over the course of a few weeks to the point where you either can’t see it anymore or there is only a small scar. Truly, it is an amazing thing to behold. I myself as a surgeon see it every day on a much larger scale, and, back when I used to do larger cases, including big trauma cases, I saw even more impressive examples of how the body can repair itself.
Where Adams goes wrong is that he seems to think that human beings have a virtually infinite ability to heal. Worse, he takes on the typical “blame the victim” mentality so common among alt-med supporters. Basically, Adams believes that your body would heal if only wouldn’t get in the way:
If this is true, then why aren’t you healing everything else? Why aren’t you always in perfect health? The answer, as you’ve seen throughout this article series, is because we tend to erect barriers to our own healing. And we often misread the symptoms of sickness that are asking for help, “treating” them in a way that makes the situation worse.
Fact: Many “symptoms of disease” are actually the result of your body’s attempt to heal itself.
Well, yes, this “fact” is true to some extent, but not in the way Adams thinks. Fever, for example, is part of the body’s defense mechanism. However, Adams seems incapable of understanding that not all of the body’s reactions to injury or infection are adaptive. I’ll give you an example. Fever may help in fighting infection, but when a bacterial infection progresses beyond that to full-fledged sepsis, the body’s reaction actually becomes the problem, resulting in hypotension, organ dysfunction, and potentially ultimately death. Responses that are adaptive and defensive can spiral out of control if the insult is beyond what they can handle. A variant of this is known as the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). Basically, SIRS is the same set of reactions as sepsis, only without a detectable or documentable infection. We often see it after surgery, major trauma, and other serious injuries. The principle is the same for a lot of other conditions.
Of course, Adams has another view. To what do you think he attributes a lot of disease? Dehydration. Really. He blames it for asthma, for example:
A significant portion of the water loss experienced by the body each day is lost through respiration — a bit of water vapor is exhaled with each breath. So to conserve water, your body attempts to reduce water loss during respiration by constricting your bronchial tubes through the creation of histamines.
These histamines constrict breathing, making it more physically difficult. Modern (western) medicine misdiagnoses this as a disease called “asthma” rather than the true underlying cause which is often simply dehydration. So instead of prescribing water, which would solve the underlying water shortage and end the body’s creation of histamines, western doctors prescribe anti-histamine drugs that force the bronchial tubes to relax and ease air flow. This, of course, promotes further dehydration, leaving the patient in a more severe state of water loss.
Uh, no. To put it simply, asthma is a disease in which the airways are hypersensitive to certain environmental triggers. When exposed to these triggers, the airways constrict and spasm. Inflammation then follows. The whole idea that “water is an antihistamine” is a favorite bit of nonsense from woo-meisters like Adams.
If you really want to see Adams confused, check out his next example:
Another good example of this is high blood pressure. High blood pressure is often caused by something I refer to as “sludge blood” — blood that’s too thick and viscous to flow freely through the body’s small capillaries. So in order to make sure good circulation is taking place, the heart has to pump harder, thereby raising blood pressure. This is the body’s way of making sure this thick blood reaches all the cells throughout the body (cells that don’t receive blood will die, and that’s bad).
But healthy blood shouldn’t be so viscous. It should flow more freely, with less friction. When blood is properly hydrated and nourished with the right fatty acids (more omega-3s in particular), the heart does not need to work as hard to pump it throughout the body, so blood pressure automatically drops. (It’s like the difference between sucking water through a straw versus sucking honey through a straw… the more sticky and thick the honey, the more pressure it takes to move it.)
Western medicine completely misdiagnoses this situation and says that “high blood pressure” is itself a disease. And this high blood pressure is attacked with drugs that artificially lower blood pressure by forcing artery walls to relax.
Uh, no again. Hypertension has many causes, but dehydration isn’t one of them. In fact, the causes can range from physical causes (renal artery stenosis, for example), kidney disease, adrenal disease, or, most commonly, “essential hypertension,” a condition that is complex and poorly understood. Leave it to Mike Adams to pull the “One True Cause of Disease” gambit so beloved of quacks and declare hypertension to be a result of dehydration. Then, in a hilarious example of misidentifying the cause of disease, Adams concludes:
As you might have guessed, this then immediately causes circulation problems because the thick sludge blood is no longer reaching all the cells it needs to reach. That’s why people who take high blood pressure medications very often end up with circulation problems. Their underlying problem of “sludge blood” remains unresolved.
Could Adams be any more wrong? Wait, don’t answer that. I suspect that he can, although in this case he comes very close to perfect wrongness. Also in this case, note how he observes that people with hypertension often develop cardiovascular complications or peripheral vascular disease and concludes not that it’s the hypertension leading to these complications but rather the medications used to treat hypertension. That’s right, it’s those evil “Western” reductionistic doctors who are making you sick! It’s scientific medicine that’s “shutting off healing”:
And yet, sadly, that’s what most people do: They numb their bodies with painkiller medications. They shut down their immune systems with chemotherapy. They shock their neurology with vaccines containing inflammatory chemicals. They interfere, override and interject all sorts of artificial chemicals, procedures and unnatural therapies. This is what shuts off healing. This is what leaves patients unable to heal in the way they are capable of healing — automatically, unconsciously and with zero effort.
“Numb their bodies with painkiller medications”? Is Adams saying what I think he’s saying? Is he implying that we shouldn’t take pain medications when we’re in pain? He does indeed, at least to me. Maybe it’s more “natural” to experience the pain unfiltered and undulled by opiates or anything else. Personally, if I’m ever unfortunate enough to suffer an injury sufficiently painful that I can’t deal with it otherwise, I’m happily going to take a very natural remedy for it: Morphine or a naturally-derived opioid.
Of course, the rest of Adams’ rant posits the usual false dichotomy between “natural” (good) and “artificial” (very, very bad). Vaccines, medications, and every trapping of “Western” medicine to Adams are implacably evil, poisonous, toxic, and just plain yucky. In contrast, his “natural” remedies are clean, part of “nature,” and chock-full of that woo-ey goodness that’ll cure anything that ails you. Adams even claims that your body can “heal itself” of cancer!
There’s just one problem.
Adams posits that the human body is a near-perfect natural “healing machine.” If that’s the case, then why does anything go wrong with it in the first place? Lots of people become ill without having taken a single evil “Western” pharmaceutical or having undergone an “unnatural” therapy. How is this possible? Could it be…the toxins? I’m guessing that “detoxification” will be somewhere in one of the later installments. It’s a very safe bet.
In the meantime, I’ve run out of steam. I must be gettong old. I could withstand a much bigger dose of woo like this five years ago, when I first started blogging, but now I’m too wiped out and my brain too tired from having fought off the waves of burning stupid sent my way by Adams. I can’t move on to the next part of his series. I’ll leave that as an exercise for the interested reader, although I can’t help but point out that, contrary to what Adams says, food is dead, and any “digestive enzymes” in the food are destroyed by the digestive system before being aborbed.
Who said ancient vitalism is dead?