If you talk about health issues on social media, you know that people have rabid opinions about these subjects. We’re not sure why people get so bent out of shape about these issues, but the proper way to address the health of you or your family rivals religion and politics for territorial and explosive feelings.
Much of the controversy surrounding various health subjects is due to skepticism. Skepticism results from a sense of unwillingness to be fooled, to appear foolish, or the wish to appear intelligent in a group of know-nothings.
It’s for this reason that we see terms like pseudoscience and scam thrown around in health conversations. It’s not that pseudoscience and scams don’t exist in this industry, but these claims are leveled overly frequently, resulting in great healing methods being dismissed or abandoned.
This problem has been seen by many a chiropractor and herbalist. It seems like everybody has a strong opinion about disciplines like these, whether or not they have any personal experience with them. Why is this?
Part of the reason why we get so heated about health issues is because humans like things to be simple and easy to understand. Rationalizing issues as black and white might create neat little categories for us to put our opinions into, without actually expending any thought, but this practice won’t get us any closer to the truth of various health traditions.
It’s part of human nature to be unwilling to accept the possibility that there is much we don’t understand about the world. Some people are better about this than others, but we all know people who think they know everything, but really don’t know that much. To get to the reality of health systems, we’ve got to be willing to challenge our preconceived notions and to take information from authorities who are not ourselves.
Another reason people find themselves at odds with each other over health issues is because they are very personal. We all know someone we love who has struggled with cancer, if we haven’t done so ourselves. We want to feel that thought our knowledge and efforts, we’re giving ourselves a way out from sickness. When this notion is challenged, it’s easy to get angry about it. This is true for people on both sides of every argument.
Yet another reason people bicker bitterly about health topics is that there is simply so much bad information about these issues floating around. It takes incredible care to study health topics in a way that yields genuine insights. It’s much easier for somebody to just go online and publish a think piece using half-remembered information and “common sense”. These ideas get floated around the internet, and because many people believe anything they read that sounds authoritative, bad ideas take hold. When bad ideas collide, sparks fly.
It’s important to have compassion and openness to people with differing ideas about health, and to the information they have to support their ideas. You never know when you might be able to learn something, or teach something.