A petition from senior British doctors and scientists to stop funding alternative medicines with NHS money is in part a good one. Anyone who has followed the studies of the effect of placebos in recent years will see there is a gaping hole in the proof of alternative medicine's success stories.
The placebo effect isn't a popular cure because, well, despite making us feel a bit better, it makes us feel a bit stupid.
As though there was nothing wrong with us in the first place.
But this isn't true.
Remember when you were a kid and you fell over and your parents told you to "rub it better"? It wasn't the rubbing that worked - it was the attention from your parents that helped with the pain.
Recent studies have shown that the placebo effect not only makes people feel better - it can actually make the brain respond to the body's illness, and produce chemicals that ease the symptons.
Mental, but true.
Last year, doctors in Italy
found that the placebo effect stopped sufferers of Parkinsons diseases from shaking and feeling so much pain. It didn't cure them, but it helped the symptoms, despite the fact they were given tiny pills with no more medical power than a polo mint.
In America a placebo cream
helped the brain produce actions that reduced pain in patients given an electric shock, and at the University of Michigan
doctors estimated that 80 - 90% of pills prescribed could be replaced with placebos and still help with pain.
And here's the rub.
While alternative medicines, whether they work or not, indulge and involve the brain in the cure, as, no doubt, do most of the placebo experiments linked to above, the experience of seeing most doctors do nothing of the sort.
Most traditional doctors have the personal skills of a camel.
Patients feel like they are on a conveyor belt, rushed in, rushed out, given a prescription they can't read, told a load of gobbledegook they don't understand, made to feel guilty they might be taking up time that could be used on someone else.
If there's something that's going to make you feel worse if you're feeling unwell, it's a visit to an NHS hospital.
Most private doctors are NHS doctors too, so this isn't a rant at the NHS.
It's just part of the conventional treatment.
Compare this to the hour-long consultation at the start of any homeopathic treatment, something to be supported by Prince Charles in a speech this afternoon. It's no surprise Charlie loves it - alternative medicine is loved by the middle and upper classes with time on their hands to feel unwell.
Doctors sit there and listen, ask about your lifestyle, your emotions, your fears. Many give you lifestyle choices, therapeutic complimentary solutions, all massaging your sick little self.
Then they talk about how a tiny microscopic amount of a magical plant, one millionth of a millionth of a gram of which will be put in water by you and taken three times a day.
Constantly reminding you you'll be cured each time you drink your water.
You get a follow up meeting, usually once a week, whether you feel better or not.
And surprise surprise, after a chat, a little care, some sympathy, some pills, some explanation of why you will feel better, many times, patients do feel better.
Unfortunately though, the traditional NHS doctors involved in today's petition aren't asking for more time to spend with patients, or training to make them better carers rather than, on the whole, pig-faced stuck-up arrogant know-it-alls that enjoy making you feel small every time you step into their office.
They want the cash to prescribe more drugs.
Which of course have a placebo effect themselves, but with none of the care and sympathy handed out with alternative medicine.
Maybe if they took the time to learn why alternative therapies work for some people - without having to believe that it's anything to do with the "treatment" itself - they might themselves have to prescribe less drugs, rather than more, and there would be more cash to go around for everyone who needs treatment.Picture shows my brain, yesterday.