An important health principle you can learn from a French barber

In 1537  a French barber named Ambroise Pare was trained as a battlefield surgeon and sent to the Siege of Turin.

At the time, the accepted method for treating blown-apart limbs and splurting blood was to cauterize the wound using boiling oil and/or hot irons. Pare was so horrified by what he saw that he came up with an incredibly simple alternative: the ligature.

Put simply, he would identify bleeding arteries, clamp them, and then tie the ends with silk threads.

Historical records show that ligatures were used by the Romans and the Arabs in much earlier centuries, but the skills had been lost in the sands of time.  Sadly, even with the “new” proven methodolgy,  it took many years—and countless lost lives—for Pare’s work to change people’s attitudes. A full 100 years later surgeons were still using boiling oil and cauterizing wounds!

The health principle one would do well to learn from this is that the accepted, conventional, medical-authority-method of doing something is not always right. Whether it is bringing an end to the barbaric practices of blood-letting or lobotomizing patients, the medical “experts” have, in the past, needed to be brought kicking and screaming into a newer era that offers saner and safer practices. Oftentimes, the “experts” have vilified those advocating the better alternatives—for years—before acknowledging that what they were doing was wrong.

This is not always the case, of course, and to be sure there have been great advances in health and medicine… but only we, the health consumer, can ultimately determine what is best for us. And we can best do this by reading, researching and resisting authority. After all, just 50 years ago the American Medical Association—along with other associated medical trade magazines—was still accepting advertising extolling the virtues of cigarette smoking as a good health pracitce. Read more about that here.

Today the experts tell us that raw milk is dangerous, but that GMO foods and mercury fillings are safe. We are told that nutritional supplements are dangerous and require more regulatory oversight, but that giving small children dozens of vaccines is a good thing. We are told that drug-filled meats from corporate meat-packing plants are perfectly safe because the government “inspects” them. And we’re given a pink ribbons if we encourage our wives, daughters and mothers to get their breasts doused with radiation in the name of fighting breast cancer.

I wonder what we’ll think of these accepted “health” stances 100 years from now?

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