Jayala and her Alternative Medicine

Anecdotes — By on January 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Rohan Roberts, 7 Jan 2012

Jayala Scattersmith was in thrall with alternative medicine. All it took to get her undying, unwavering support for any medical treatment was to tell her it wasn’t mainstream. If it was unconventional, she loved it. If it was unorthodox she embraced it. If it was flaky, funky, or freaky, she adored it. If it was far out she wanted what was farther still. If it came in paper bags she was sure to be crazy about it. If it came in hessian sacks, even better.

Her shelves were covered wall to wall and floor to ceiling with Ayurvedic balms and homeopathic tinctures. Miscellaneous herbs made her day and magical simples made her night. Psychic cures were always in order and occult spells never out of date.

Words like esoteric gave her goosebumps. Anything oriental sent shivers down her spine and thrills up her nose.

The list of her kooky beliefs was as long as it was asinine. She believed with fervour in the cabalistic properties of nature and the secrets of the supernatural: Water had memory. Trees were conscious. Swamis could levitate. Frogs had past lives. Yogis could be ressurected. Karma made the world go round. Ghosts were psychic manifestations.

Jayala was not averse to dabbling in a bit of science. But it was her own patented and proprietary version of pseudo-science that needed one shot of air headedness, 2 ounces of nonsense, and a teaspoon of sweetened ignorance. Add two sprigs of gullibility and muddle in a mojito glass. The result was a cocktail of brained ideas of either the scatter or hare flavours.

Quantum healing, she liked to call it. She invoked the laws of thermodynamics in a thoroughly befuddled way. She recited Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle with a routine resoluteness that would have been admirable had it not been taken completely out of context, strung up without any comprehension, and butchered into meaningless gimcrack bits of hokum and bunkum.

She was more to be pitied than condemned, for her wishy-washy mind had been brainwashed with hogwash.

If she wasn’t splashing about in the shallow waters of credulousness she was wading neck deep in healing chakras, therapeutic aromas, curing colours, remedial magnetism, acupuncture for the soul, crystals for the sinews, and moon pebbles for the bones.

She treated doubters with the hauteur of an Amazonian princess. She met any criticism with the obduracy of a mule. She rejected explanations. She disdained conventional wisdom. She had no time for double-blind tests. She didn’t care for peer-reviewed journals.

She knew what she knew and she had faith in what she had faith. She would believe what she believed till the cows came home, slept in their sheds, and departed to pastures anew the morning after.

When she was confronted with sceptics she firmly informed them that “Macbeth, once said ‘there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in science’.”

When it was pointed out that it was, in fact, Hamlet who said it—about philosophy as it happened and not about science, she replied, “Whatever. Alternative medicine rocks!”

It was then pointed out to her that it was great if alternative medicine rocks, but did it work? She was then asked what people called alternative medicine that works.

“What do you call alternative medicine that works?” she asked.

“Medicine,” was the laconic reply.

Not to be undone, she resorted to poetry: “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter still.”

“Maybe. But would you say cured maladies are sweet and those uncured sweeter still?”



  1. rach says:

    Whoa,this rocks!! Are we allowed to take a printout of these texts for teaching purposes? I find this website very facinating- a bank of teaching resources…I’m lovin it!!!

  2. R.Roberts says:

    Thanks Rachel! Feel free to use the material in this magazine however you see fit :)

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