Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I'm talking about beer, ear wax and chiropracty

Last night I enjoyed a simple pleasure I hadn't had in some time.

I sat at a bar and enjoyed a draught of beer.

OK, so my life is exceedingly dull for this to be a pleasure, but hey! this is my blog. And besides, I don't get out much.

I had gotten home late, the kidlets ate with their aunt, and my much-better-half was en route home, so I stopped at a local Pizza/Brew-Pub to bring home dinner.

Liquor licensing in Pennsylvania is fairly strict, especially in the area of 'to go' sales. Bars are allowed to sell 6-packs, individual bottles/cans and quarts of beer (but not more than 144 oz at a time), and beer distributors are permitted to sell cases and kegs. There is a middle-ground license for small restaurants/pizzerias: they, too can sell beer (as above), and sell draughts in a separate seating area from the main dining room (you can bring food to the bar, but not beer to the other dining room). Certain convenience stores can also sell 6-packs, but not draughts. And, of course, the larger restaurants can have a full-bar, but they tend not to offer 6-pack sales.

So I placed my food order and went to the next room to have a sit down at the bar. This place is laid out like any fine watering hole: tables, video games in the far corner, darts, and a pool table. The fact that a proper mixologist need not apply would be the only indication this was a beer-pub. Fine. I ordered a tall Yuengling (simple pleasure, remember) and settled in.

Nearby I was trying to ignore this guy who was, for lack of a better word, evangelicizing to a young lady. Hey, it's a free country, and she could have moved on at any time, I suppose. She didn't seem that interested, but she didn't seem to be inclined to change the topic either. A few moments later, their conversation changed to health care. I haven't a clue how religion folds into health care, but what do I know?

She: So what do you think I should tell my doctor?

He: Darling, you're going to the wrong doctor. You ought to go to my chiropractor. Pure genius. I have been going to chiropractors for 20 years, and in the 90's it was hard to find a good one. But this one is tops!

She: Why is he so good?

He: I never felt better! No more colds, no flu, nothing. Plus, he's got me into ear-candling.

Now I have no real affinity to the practice of chiropracty. I have read more than enough to reach the conclusion it is not a type of medical procedure I would ever want done to me. I have also heard enough people swear by them, so I am not automatically inclined to discount them in total.

However, I nearly spit my beer out when I heard 'ear candling'.

For those who may not have heard of ear candling (or ear coning), it is (at best) a dubious practice that allegedly removes ear wax and other impurities from the ear canal. You (the 'willing' patient) lay on your side, and an accomplice (an alleged medical practicioner) places a cone-shaped, wax-infused paper (or hemp in some applications) that is then ignited.

As the 'candle' burns, the chimney effect sucks all that is wicked, evil and bad out of your ear canal and into the paper.

To borrow a phrase from Dave Barry: I am not making this up.

Ear candling has been credited with improving a persons hearing, sinuses, and may even help the heartbreak of psoriasis, for all I know. Sure, it has been around for centuries, and that the Amish allegedly still use it, but come on!

When does mythology end and science take over?Anyone care to relieve their gout with a leech?? Hell, the first pharmacies used to dispense voodoo powder, but they don't any more (huh... maybe religion and healthcare do have a connection).

And as if that description alone isn't enough, you can buy ear candles for use AT HOME. Oh that must be grand!

Google 'ear candling' and read for yourself. Between the tests that show nothing was actually being sucked out of the canals to the reports of people needing surgery to remove melted wax from their ear drum, you can file this procedure under Q for quackery.

So to hear what can be concluded as a local chiropractor using EAR CANDLES as a method of medical treatment strikes another blow to my distrust of chiropracty.

Many people swear by chiropractors, particularly those who have found relief from neck and back injuries; to those people who have found their spinal manipulations to relieve their pain without drugs: my hat is off to them.

But to those who practice such art as I describe, it is my opinion they cast the specter of charlatan upon the entire profession.

My food order was up, and I did really want to enjoy my pizza in peace at home, so I resisted the urge to challenge the chap and left. Besides, the gal seemed to be genuinely interested in what he was saying at that point.

Who knows? Religion to health care may have been this guy's ticket...

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