Tuesday, March 22, 2016

No doctors available? Hire a Druid healer.

Faced with a failure to attract doctors to their area, authorities in six Brittany villages have turned to a druid to provide patient care. The druid won't prescribe medicine. Instead he will offer such natural remedies as healing plants and stones to residents suffering from stress-related ailments.
When I saw this headline it fascinated me. Much of the following is from a French news site. The druid, being called a faith healer, has already given his first consultation on Friday out of an office in the town hall of La Roche-Derrien. According to its mayor, the town of some 1,000 people has repeatedly advertised for a general practitioner to serve the area but failed to attract a single application. Enter Gwénael Trochet, an 'ancestral healer'. Mayor Jean-Louis Even says when Trochet, a druid, expressed interest, he and the the mayors of five other nearby villages were wary at first but eventually agreed to see him. Even says they agreed to hire Trochet in the end, partly as a means to draw attention to the fact they couldn't attract doctors to their communities but also because they say there could be value in Trochet's services - for now at least. Authorities have given him a one-month trial contract, making an office available to him once a week. Patients will pay 25 euros for a consultation. In an interview with the Telegraph, Trochet said he couldn't replace a doctor, but as a druid has ancestral knowledge of natural remedies, breathing exercises and the healing properties of plants and stones. He told the Telegraph he had cured about 100 people suffering from stress-related ailments since he started practising in 1993. Meanwhile Even says the mayors haven't given up hope of soon finding qualified GPs who are willing to move to the region. He cites his town's beaches, cinema and skating rink as assets and says there are none of the traffic jams seen in France's major metropolitans. For years the country's medical profession has been experiencing shortages in such pockets as Picardie, Haute-Normandie and Poitou-Charentes. Doctors’ unions refer to these places as "medical deserts", or places where there are fewer than 324 doctors per 100,000 inhabitants. Cara - Tuesday


  1. Interesting idea, Cara! Of course in Southern Africa no one would raise an eyebrow at the idea of a 'traditional healer' and many do good work with plants and other remedies. Most keep away from black magic. The most serious problem is when they persist in trying to treat patients with ailments requiring significant intervention - HIV for a start.
    But let's not sneer at them and their clients. After all, there is the placebo effect. And how many of us use or at least have tried acupuncture, herbal supplements or homeopathy? You can't produce scientific arguments for them either.

  2. I am a huge believer in acupuncture and physical therapy. Stan, care to weigh in on the efficacy of YuJun Shao's treatments?

    They also might think of getting a nurse practitioner. My GP has one in her office and I like seeing her. She takes her time with patients and brings in the MD when needed. Alternative medicine can't do the things that Western docs can do, but they have their place, especially when one is looking for a less invasive procedure or one without the nasty side effects of many chemical solutions. Many human ailments respond quite nicely to them.

  3. Well the RCT standard for acupuncture will never be reached as no acupuncturist worth his/her salt would ever do exactly the same thing to 100 people in any trial. Acupuncture; 75% of patients show a score drop of 6 or more with reference to pain- vastly outperforming gabapentine or pregabalon. 3000 years of medicine in there- we have a lot to learn from it. And the recent research of Butler/Mosely re brain function, is tending to suggest there's much more to 'placebo' than meets the eye... or the nerve ending!

    1. My favorite medicine is the placebo. What the placebo effect proves is that the human body can be "tricked" into curing itself. I wonder if we will ever learn how purposely to send it signals to fix the problem.

  4. Michael here, don't blame Stan! I admit don't know much about acupuncture, but I know many people swear by it. What I've read about WHY it works doesn't make sense to me, but I'm not a medical person.
    I've tried homeopathic remedies. Once it worked dramatically well and thereafter not at all.
    There is some evidence that powdered rhino horn does lower fevers, but not as much as aspirin.
    My point was just that we also use alternative approaches to medical care, and so we shouldn't automatically reject other cultures that use different things. That doesn't imply we necessary want to try them. Body parts anyone?