for Jean Viard, alternative medicines “help to live, it is care in the broad sense that should not be opposed to basic medicine”
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for Jean Viard, alternative medicines “help to live, it is care in the broad sense that should not be opposed to basic medicine”

Magnetizers, acupuncturists, homeopaths: the French are turning more and more towards so-called unconventional care. The Seine-et-Marne Health Insurance was at the heart of an imbroglio this week, singled out for having put in place reimbursements for sessions, and it had to backtrack. This made the doctors angry. According to surveys, one in two French people believe that this medicine is as effective as traditional medicine.

franceinfo: Where does this need to seek answers elsewhere than in science come from?

Jean Viard: Science isn’t everything. The soul has always been a real subject, at least for believers, for centuries and centuries. There was medicine that gave you bloodletting, the kind you see in the theater, and then there were witches. There were the confessors, people with whom you spoke regularly every week, to whom you told your problems, they gave you advice. We could say psychoanalysts too, in a certain way, that is to say, basically, we always need a story of empathy, and then a technical skill, so to speak.

And medicine, to assert itself, has become extremely technical, with absolutely extraordinary results, which mean that life has increased by 25 years since the war, and at the same time it has moved away a little from the body. of the patient, so to speak. So there was a space. And then, we are in a world where we seek nature, in a world where we want to be listened to, in a world where we pay much more attention to our bodies because our body is less of an object of work – our brain enormously – but our body is an object of encounter, of seduction. So we do sports, etc. And then a world where we go slowly, we walk, we do yoga, so we think about slowness.

So, if you look at the geography of these so-called “parallel” medicines, which are not medicines in reality, which are treatments, we would have to say in order not to compete with doctors, it is very much the old space of the heart from post 68, that is to say, France from Haute-Provence, from Haut-Var to the Cévennes. When you look at all the towns like Forcalquier, all that, you have a rate of parallel care professionals, which is considerable.

So there is also a history in France, of people who, after 68, opposed the State, the city, technology, they went to experience something else, including this new relationship with the body and care. . I think it’s all there at the same time. And so, I won’t say that it’s competitive medicine. When people are good, they send you to the doctor, more technical when necessary, when he tells you no, I save you from cancer with my treatment, then it becomes worrying… So there are the two, but I believe that we need to be listened to, we need to be able to speak.

And it’s true that since Covid, we’ve also seen a distrust of scientific discourse, of vaccines, has all that increased too?

Yes, and in France, in a dramatic way. When we see vaccines especially for young girls, particularly for cancer problems etc., it’s terrible, because there aren’t many vaccines, but there are countries in Europe where everyone is vaccinated. So there is the effect of these speeches on society, which is worrying, which is all the more worrying in Pasteur’s country, the country where we have been so far in advance, we remain a very large country of invention, so this is concerning.

I am cautious in my remarks because I think that they are life enrichments, like osteopaths, like all people who work on energy, etc. I think it helps to live. I think we live better, I think, but indeed it is care in the broad sense, but it should not be opposed to basic medicine. But it’s true that there are both.

And you said it, you have to know how to remain wary, because some people can be a little conscripted, some even die because they stop their treatment. This is why the deputies adopted a law against sectarian abuses. Did the Internet also play a role in this?

Yes, but there is a sectarian risk, desire for recruitment, exploitation, including sometimes with matters that touch on sexuality, yes, of course, and we must be extremely attentive.

But I think we have to be careful, the medical world defends itself a little because it has the impression that someone is “biting its wool”, if I may say so. I think we have to try to tell ourselves that we need both to be humanity, and they are complementary. There are a lot of doctors who actually think so.

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