Today while waiting for my appointment at HealthNOW, (the people I was doing the elimination diet with) I started browsing their book, the Gluten Effect. I happened to glance over the acknowledgements page and I discovered that the authors (and the people who run HealthNOW) are Scientologists. I asked the doctor if he was a scientologist and he said yes.
Interesting discussion ensued. He wanted to know what was wrong with scientology and whether I knew about all the good scientology was doing in the world. He asked whether I'd be as upset upon discovering that my doctor was christian. He assured me that the lab was not owned by the Church and that his medical research has nothing to do with scientology.
He asserted that the mainstream media (and everyone else) was biased against scientology and that I should give scientology a chance. Fortunately, euneeblic
did that in a bias-confronting personal growth experiment a few months ago, and I was able to talk about his firsthand experiences.
We ended up talking about science, e-meters, comparative religion, and other stuff. I was definitely making him uncomfortable and vice versa. At the end he said "I'm sorry for you", which is I think almost verbatim what the scientologist recruiter told euneeblic
before he walked away.
The thing is... if I find out that a smart, accomplished person is a scientologist, I generally would assume that they are basically part of the system... as in an "exploiter" rather than an "exploitee". This makes me really bothered by the idea of a scientologist doctor... this person is entrusted with my life, and they're active users of the scientologist psychological toolbox. (for the record, I'd probably trust an evangelical fundamentalist christian doctor only slightly more, and this guy was definitely evangelical about scientology)
I was already somewhat concerned about this clinic. There were a few ambiguous red flags for me in prior weeks... nothing of clear concern but just general unease:
- They mentioned that some of the test lab's (BioHealth Diagnostics) tests were done just for their clinic. Lack of demand from any other clinic is concerning to me.
- The same company that does the tests provides supplements, which are available directly at the clinic. They are among the highest priced supplements in their category on the market. Now it could be that they're expensive because they're really good, but then again, maybe not.
- The speech patterns, images, and word choice used by the doctors and in the Gluten Effect book seem to be a bit preachy and condescending. Now maybe it's designed with seniors in mind, which would explain the large text. I got a similar squick from the Life Extension Foundation's weekly magazines (though not from their medical reference manual).
- They try to schedule the next 5 followon appointments as soon as you schedule the first one.
On the other hand, the anti-inflammatory and adrenal support supplements they put me on do seem to have caused diarrhea issues to cease. I'm no longer on the full elimination diet -- last time we agreed to reintroduce all foods except gluten and dairy. The logic of the anti-adrenal-exhaustion program seems good, but hey, I'm not a doctor. I could easily make up some reasonable sounding but completely flawed software system that a technically competent nonprogrammer would think sounds like a great idea.
So at this point, I'm unsure how much of the idea toolkit from these people to throw out. I'm tempted to throw out almost everything I learned from them and (one at a time) gradually reintroduce gluten and dairy and stop taking the various anti-inflammatories to see what happens, but it does seem like at least some of their science and experimental approach was good. Early on I really liked their approach -- they seemed to have the right philosophy regarding treating ultimate causes instead of symptoms and eliminating external variables.
I had a similar experience with a place called Woodside Chiropractic a few years back. After a few sessions (and about $400) I realized that they were doing a small number of things that were probably legitimate and a large number of things that were total bullshit. I'm guessing a lot of quack places get away with their practice by mixing in some real with some fake. Apparently WC is doing very well these days, with various satellite offices now.
So I know a number of you went through the full program with this lab and liked it. I'd be interested to hear what your reaction is to my experience
I think I'd like to find another doctor / dietitian to work with on somewhat similar program. My mother called this one -- she thought early on that the clinic sounded fishy and suggested some alternative programs (eg 7-day detox miracle etc). I wanted to give this program a fair shot first before trying any alternatives, so I held off. Now I'm ready to look around.