Should colleges teach alternative medicine? -

Should colleges teach alternative medicine?

If someone wants to pay $3,439 for a Intergrative Energy Healing Practitioner Certificate, they probably know what they’re getting into


Cranial Sacral Therapy—Is it for you?

That’s not a question. Rather, it’s the name of one of the many continuing education courses at Vancouver’s Langara College that are somewhat outside the realm of your traditional syllabus.

Yesterday, a Globe and Mail article shone a light (perhaps through a crystal?) at the bevy of medical courses offered, and how it is riling some feathers in the medical community and at the college itself.

“There is not a single peer-reviewed controlled study backing up any of the treatments taught in that program, and it is an embarrassment to Langara,” Dale Beyerstein, a medical professor at Langara and UBC, said in the article.

For his part, Doug Soo, the dean of Continuing Studies at Langara, cited the courses as exploiting a niche market that Langara fills a demand for. He also noted that the practices taught in his school have been studied by the U.S. government. And when asked about Beyerstein’s complaints, he said the manager of the energy-healing program at the college debated him, and “as many people applauded for her as for him.”

There are a couple of points to make here. First, Doug Soo is a dean of a college. Call me crazy, but if challenged on the academic legitimacy of a program, I don’t think most deans wouldn’t cite the Applause-o-meter as a justification for their decisions.

But at the same time, the extensive array of programs have been approved by Langara’s board. Not to mention that the courses in question are part of the continuing education program, run for-profit, so it’s not as though public dollars are going towards the courses (whether Langara’s reputation is taking a hit is another matter, perhaps).

Fact is, if someone wants to pay the $3439 to take a “Intergrative Energy Healing Practitioner Certificate Program”, they probably know full well what they’re getting into. And if Langara doesn’t offer courses of this ilk, this is Vancouver we’re talking about—I’m pretty sure someone else would fill the void.


Should colleges teach alternative medicine?

  1. Does being approved by a College’s own board really mean anything? Shouldn’t institutions have their courses and degree programs peer reviewed by other institutions, in order to bring it into line with academic standards? Peer review has its flaws, but if an institution is calling itself a “college” shouldn’t there be some form of quality control to ensure what is being taught has some academic or professional credibility?

  2. Of course colleges should teach “alternative” medicine. But only the kind of alternative that is scientifically proven – to work. We should only teach that which works and improves our patient’s health and lives.
    But, I am afraid, once something is scientifically proven, it ceases to be “alternative”. Right?

  3. YES! Colleges& Univ. should teach an alternative way to so called western medicine, but the outcome of such is only as good as the teachers are. Myself for instance, had studied Trad.Chin.Med. in Japan for 3 years, then mastered Ayurveda in India & Sri Lanka. God, I have seen “experts” in this field who did more harm than good. Just because somebody is from China or India does not make him a better and more authentic teacher/pratitioner. Trad. Doctors from such countries have not succeeded to convert/adjust their system to the needs of modern society but rather stick to stone age old findings and approaches which are of little use in modern times. Only very few of them are familiar with Western life style, social issues, work & family stress, food habits etc. etc. to which their system must be individually custom-tailored first. HOLISTIC MEDICINE has become a catch phrase, but who really pratices 100% (w)holistically? Does a health consultant truly look into the CAUSE of the disorder or just suggesting a treatment? How many of them investigate the family background, childhood, history, working & family environment etc. BEFORE applying any therapy?

    If any of the readers of these lines knows of a really good college or university that offers courses (post-grad. or short seminars to outsiders) at reasonable fee, please let me know. I shall reward your effort.