Vitality (2012)

Vitality is a movie starring Dale Archer, Christina Avaness, and David Bradley. A journey into the world of health-care in our modern world. The current medical system is failing due to an emphasis on the treatment of disease...
  • 7.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Pedram Shojai, Director:
  • Producer:
2 / 10

Being half right is not enough

"Vitality" is apparently a vehicle for a variety of alternative healers (i.e. quacks) who want to be taken for legitimate physicians. Their cover story is a sermon about the importance of exercise, diet and sufficient sleep as the basis for a healthy life. As far as that goes, that's good advice, and advice that no actual MD would be hesitant to give. A large part of our health care costs are from treating people whose lifestyles are unhealthy and sometimes very unhealthy. This is where "Vitality" gets it right. If people would start getting enough exercise, stop smoking, and drinking excessive amounts alcohol our health care costs would plummet. If this film would encourage people to live healthy lifestyles that's a good thing.

The problem comes from the stated and implied ideology that underlies the good advice: the bias against Western scientific medicine and false claims that Western medicine 'treats only the symptoms' of disease and strives to get patients hooked on pills. On the contrary, scientific, or evidence-based, medicine is focused on finding and treating the cause of illness, not treating symptoms. And no real doctor would encourage his patients to live an unhealthy lifestyle.

This documentary features interviews with a variety practitioners of superstition and magic: naturopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists and 'natural healers'. You hear the word "allopath" used to describe regular doctors, a term invented by homeopaths and used to denigrate medical doctors. They talk about "energy fields" as being the basis of health and disease, a wooly and mystical concept that has no meaning in the real world. Those 'natural healers' promote diet and exercise as cover but in fact they see clients and presume to treat specific illnesses with what is little more than snake oil and incantations. While charging Western medicine with being about the money, alternative healers often manage to fleece their clients out of lots of it. Worthless treatments and supplements can be very expensive, often prescribed to treat imaginary illnesses such as toxic plaques in the bowels or psychosomatic infestations. What these quacks are promoting is the idea that people trained in magical systems be taken to be on an equal footing with actual doctors who went to medical school. If that ever were to happen I fear for the quality of medical care in America.