Alternative treatments: Hocus Pocus or legitimate cures?

When you’re chronically ill you tend to be subjected to some of the most bizarre advice as to how to treat your malady. Everybody seems to have a relative, or friend of a friend, that tried out this specific treatment and now swears by it.

Some of these recommendations are relatively harmless.

Other’s less so.

However, as time goes on suggestions that you laughed off initially start to look attractive.

Perhaps placing slices of onion in your sock at night really will draw out the bacteria in your body and purify your blood?

In the past few weeks a number of interesting suggestions have been made to me that the proponents of are convinced will help, if not cure me. The first is the magic cure-all – Apple Cider Vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar is currently proclaimed as the solution for many different ailments:

  1. Reducing bloating
  2. Increasing the benefits of vitamins and minerals in your food
  3. Canceling out some of the carbohydrates you eat
  4. Softens your energy crash after eating sugars or carbohydrates
  5. Keeps you feeling full longer
  6. Can help your muscles produce energy more efficiently
  7. Lowers your blood pressure
  8. Cleans fruit and vegetables
  9. Kills bad breath
  10. Deodorizes smelly feet
  11. Relieves jellyfish stings
  12. Balances your bodies pH levels
  13. Alleviates heartburn

Most of which there is no actual evidence for.

However there is limited evidence that apple cider vinegar can help with weight loss and weight management, and with managing blood sugar levels in diabetes but should be used with caution.

The one area that there does seem to be good evidence that apple cider vinegar can help with is that of digestive help.

However, it should be the cloudy unfiltered version that contains probiotics and diluted at a rate of 1-2 tablespoons in a full glass of water. Some also advocate adding a tablespoon of raw honey to this concoction to make it not only more palatable but also to sweeten the taste a little.

I will admit to trying this.

However personally, I think that I’d have to add about half a glass of honey to make the apple cider vinegar palatable enough to swallow!

For those that manage to drink this, I think that they fully deserve all benefits that come their way. It reminds me of Buckley’s cough syrup“It tastes awful. And it works.” ® – though I’m not convinced that it works!

A more physical suggestion made is one intended to get you fit and healthy in just 28 or 30 days – the Plank challenge. The theory is that by holding the plank position for slowly increasing amounts each day that you will build up your core and develop strength and endurance.

The theory is that by holding the plank position for slowly increasing amounts each day that you will build up your core and develop strength and endurance.

Having been housebound for the past few weeks, and finding that my general lack of movement due to difficulties breathing has led to my muscles and joints becoming increasingly more stiff and sore I thought that this was something I could try. The first day’s challenge is just 20 seconds.

So earlier today I got out my exercise mat (I actually do possess one), carefully set my iPhone to timer, and much to the amusement of my dogs carefully got into the plank position.

Do you have any idea how long 20 seconds is?

I can tell you that when you’ve been this sick – 20 seconds is about 16 seconds too long!

I made 5 seconds!


I think that it will take me an entire month to get to the 20 seconds starting point for this one!

I can’t see how it will do me any harm, though; so I’ll probably keep working this one. It’s worth it just to see my bemused dogs!

Another alternative treatment that seems to be increasingly recommended is to drink alkaline water. Several people have recommended this one to me.

The theory proposed is that cancer cells can’t grow in an alkaline environment so that by decreasing your body’s acidity you are increasing your chances of not developing cancer.

While the American Anti-Cancer Institute recommends drinking alkaline water as it’s number one natural product for cancer patients and cancer prevention, there is little evidence to support this claim, or any of the others attributed to alkaline water.

Regardless, it certainly doesn’t seem to pose any risks (unless you have a kidney problem when it should certainly be avoided) and there is some indication that it can help with soothing acid reflux, increasing oxygen levels and improved energy and metabolism; cleansing the colon; rejuvenating the skin; and lubricating muscles and joints.

How much of this is due to the alkaline nature of the water and how much is due to just drinking more water generally is unclear. However, as the taste of alkaline water is more palatable to me, than my local tap water, this is also one piece of advice that I’ll stick with for now.

I have to admit that I’m willing to try pretty much anything that might help my breathing at this point!

Having said that maybe I’m not quite that desperate. There is a long, long list of herbs that are purported to help with breathing difficulties. but I’m not willing to try these, yet:

Perhaps if my breathing difficulties continue unabated I will be willing to try these but for now, I will stick to trying to increase my Planking time, drinking the alkaline water for the taste and once in a while I’ll try the apple cider vinegar sweetened with honey.

But for the most part, I’ll accept the recommendations of my doctors and stick with their prescriptions and the one piece of advice that they all seem to be totally consistent on – that I need to rest and sleep.

I just wish that my body would get the message too!


There’s an old saying that when you’re awake when you should be sleeping, it’s because you’re in somebody else’s dreams.

I sure wish that whoever is dreaming of me would take some sleeping pills so that they sleep without dreams for a while and give me a break!


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