Most alternative medical practices are not harmful, provided they are not used as a substitute for good primary medical care. They may be helpful in promoting better health. At worst, they may be needlessly costly.
If you feel compelled to try alternative methods, at least be scientific about it. Discuss your ideas with your doctor, perform a controlled experiment yourself, and then be prepared to return to the sleep lab to find out whether there has been a measurable improvement in your sleep apnea Cmd368 sports.
Two Very Bad Decisions
One of the worst decisions you could make would be to stop using the treatment your sleep specialist prescribed while you try some new alternative. If you want to experiment with unconventional treatments (provided they are not harmful), at least continue to use your CPAP at the same time. If you stop using CPAP, your sleep apnea is guaranteed to return, and it will become worse over time.
The second bad decision would be to use an alternative practitioner as your primary or only doctor. Most alternative practitioners have limited medical training. They may fail to diagnose a serious disease (dia-betes, cancer, heart condition) that could be fatal if it is not properly treated. If you must experiment with alternatives, do so in addition to good, regular, conventional medical care.
But Maybe This Really Is the Cure!
It’s true – the cure for sleep apnea may indeed exist in some obscure alternative medical treatment. Many scientific discoveries originate outside the conventional establishment. The medical establishment is very slow to accept new ideas. Unconventional treatments are viewed with skepticism bordering on suspicion, and their proponents are often ostracized by the medical community.
Sleep disorders medicine itself is a perfect example of how long it takes to integrate a new concept into mainstream medicine. Sleep disorder research has been going on for more than 40 years, but sleep disorders medicine is only now beginning to be taught in medical schools. Yet this very skepticism is what guards the public from the quacks. New medicine has to prove itself through scientific method and peer review in the medical journals. This process prevents abuse and exploitation of the public by incompetent scientists, unscrupulous industries, and personal greed.
The system is not perfect. Some bad science is reported in the medical journals. Some good treatments take longer than they should to reach the patient. Progress seems slow, but continual advances are being made, and examples of what can happen when the review process breaks down (e.g., thalidomide) show us the value of deliberate skepticism and medical conservatism.