• Nick Gardner DC

Beware the Omni-Healer

Updated: Apr 22, 2018

In the world of healthcare we have specialists and we have generalists. A specialist has a specific and refined skills set which they put to solving a given set of problems. A generalist has a small or perhaps moderate amount of knowledge in a lot of different areas and can solve a simple medical case. They also know when they need to refer to the specialists. In my field, chiropractic, and other professions, there exists a unique type of practitioner who is the omni-healer or the specialist in every area of medicine. They have perfected something unattainable in medicine, mastery of all. Of course I am being sarcastic. These people have mastered nothing and have simplified all/most of the world of medicine, conveniently, to fit into their small skill set. There is a small group in nearly all alternative medicine practitioners that you need to be aware of and watch out for. They believe they have found a cure-all and their methods are fantastic for all ailments. Run from these people.

At best these people will take money from you with non-productive therapies over long periods of time. At worst they will distract you from getting the true help you need from an appropriate specialist. Delaying a legitimate cancer or infection treatment could result in very serious negative outcomes for a patient. Don't take vaccine advise from people with no real training in immunology or biology. Don't believe people when they claim they can cure cancer. Please, just don't do it. It is entirely appropriate for you to ask for evidence whenever an omni-healer claims to be able to heal an ailment that seemly has nothing to do with their profession. All true medical professionals should present you with a treatment and express outcomes in likely scenarios. It is rare (can't even think of one) in medicine to find a treatment that is effective for all people. I tell my patients that initially we are going to have a trial of care to ensure that chiropractic and other therapies are helpful for the management of their case. I feel that is appropriate, chiropractic care does not help everybody and I am not going to pretend or delude myself into thinking that I can help everybody. Any practitioner spewing certainty needs to be looked at with extreme prejudice.

Specialists are very important. Even smart people often overestimate their knowledge in fields in which they have no training. This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. People of low ability in a field often are so incompetent they underestimate how little they don't know. In fact the only way to truly know how little you know is to be an expert at something. Lawyers don't try to argue the merits of medical case, they bring in expert witnesses. Look for specialty in healthcare providers. Find someone who is good at treating the problem you have. Got low back pain, find someone who specializes in low back pain. Got neck pain, find someone who specializes in neck pain. Rarely is their someone who can treat a complex case of neck pain and low back pain and do a great job at both. And I'm only talking about pain in the back in neck. If you think someone can be a pain expert, and a liver expert, and a brain expert and a neurological expert and an arthritis expert you need to safe guard yourself and hear this message. Experts would not exist if it was possible to be master of everything. Beware the omni-healer!

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