Why owl droppings cure CFS
For many years I have believed that just about any suggested 'treatment' for CFS might be shown to be 'effective', however crackpot. There are a several reasons why this might be so, including:
There are probably people diagnosed with CFS who are depressed. It may be primary or a secondary problem resulting from CFS. Depression can be a debilitating and distressing illness. If depression is helped to any significant degree by whatever means the therapy could be 'proved' an effective treatment for CFS.
Despite my impression that the Wessely School exaggerate the relevance of their theories; I do think it likely that their ideas apply to some people who have are given a diagnosis of CFS. So there might be some who are somatizing, phobic, neurotic, etc. It might also be that sensitization can develop in some people with CFS, so as with depression, these phenomena could occur as secondary effects resulting from prolonged pain, illness and neurological disease. Any intervention that helps to lessen the impact of these phenomena might be 'proved' to be effective in a proportion of subjects.
Many ill and disabled people are vulnerable. Their very survival may depend upon the direct or indirect support of others. This support has its basis in compassion - "pity that inclines one to help". Intolerance, impatience and prejudice are commonly encountered by the disabled and this certainly happens with CFS. Therefore it would not be surprising if some people with CFS were grateful simply for getting positive attention that acknowledges their suffering. Such gratitude could have an influence on how treatment effects are reported. It might be felt as ungrateful and maybe even dangerous for a client to report failure or negative effects of a therapy. Equally, they might exaggerate any benefits they felt out of gratitude. This might go so far as to make 'treatments' appear effective.
"Stay with me" effect.
This is so common in movies and dramas that it only needs explaining briefly. The bullet riddled victim is leaking fatally but the hero/ine says, "stay with me"; because we all know that by sheer willpower anyone can compensate for a quart of lost blood and ruptured organs. Death is optional. Therapists who exploit this idea that willpower can overcome death and disease leave their clients little choice: either improve (or say that you have) or be a weak-willed failure.
Self-serving bias effect.
By the time someone has paid hundreds of pounds for the latest 'lighten-up programming' or whatever, told their friends and family they are going to try it and dared to dream about a healthy future; they have a lot invested in the therapy succeeding. That 'lot' includes their ego - if it doesn't work they might look a bit of a twit. Perhaps they could blame the therapist if it doesn't work (if none of the above phenomena prevent this). Except of course, where therapists pre-empt blame by making it clear that any failure of the therapy is entirely the client's fault for not doing it properly. In which case all that's left is to change one's name and move to a different town.
It works! effect.
It's got to actually work for somebody, surely? Whatever the heck it is.
The owl droppings cure:
BioImmune Natural-Balance Compound
AMAZING HEALING COMPOUND DISCOVERED IN OWLS
Owls are mythical creatures renowned for their wisdom and healing powers. The Aztecs and Ancient Egyptians worshipped them, believing them to be guides that escort the spirits of fallen warriors to Valhalla.
In 1763 Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species and started evolution. Later scientists discovered computers and made technological progress. More recently, the majestic owl is once again the focus of scientific study. As WyseOwl Biotherapies' Chief Science Officer and noble prize* winner, Professor Chickpea explains:
"Owls excrete large conglomerations of animal bones, teeth, claws and other non-digestibles. This improbable feat is made possible by a special gland in the owl's bottom which releases complex chemical compounds. Science has shown that these chemical compounds relax muscles, veins and tissues, stimulate a healing response to rapidly repair any damage that occurs and an immune response to prevent infection. The compound not only contains a powerful painkiller that saves the owl discomfort, but also a dopamine stimulating chemical that actually makes the owl feel good about doing a number '2'. If this were not fantastic enough, the compound also cleans the owl's bottom and leaves it smelling fresh and fragrant.
"WyseOwl Biotherapies mix this compound with wax and cotton to make therapeutic earplugs, a chemical process permits the compound to pass through the ear into tissues close to the brain. While you sleep, your body undergoes extreme relaxation, your immune system and healing processes are stimulated and you wake-up feeling and smelling GREAT!"
Special introductory offer only £500 for a one week supply.
Caution - side-effects may include hooting, mouse-craving, perching and poverty.
(* Red Lion darts champion 88/9)
· Testimonials are no substitute for research data.
· Unless 'Case studies' result from properly conducted research, they are potentially even less reliable than testimonials when financial and other vested interests are considered.
· A scientific-sounding theory is no substitute for a scientifically established fact.
· If advertisements describe your illness accurately, it just means they read-up on the internet. It does not mean they understand or can cure your illness.
· Just because it is expensive does not mean it is any good.
· ANYTHING might produce a 'treatment effect' when applied to CFS, especially if loose diagnostic criteria such as the Oxford Criteria are used.
· All research into treatments for CFS should measure outcome using objective measures.