Make Yourself Healthy Meetup: Underlying Ideas

As I blogged earlier, I’ve started a Meetup group called Make Yourself Healthy. It is about doing better than expert advice. Doing better than taking prescription drugs for a problem, for example. The first meeting is Wednesday, April 24, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, in the meeting room of the North Branch of the Berkeley Public Library (1170 The Alameda).

I’ve found ways to improve on expert advice. I’ve found new ways to lose weight, sleep better, and so on. More to the point, many other people have done this. I wrote about some of them for Boing Boing. The specific things they learned about how to be healthy — for example, Dennis Mangan’s discovery (or confirmation of someone else’s discovery) that megadoses of niacin eliminated Restless Leg Syndrome — are not just important in isolation but also as part of a pattern: showing that such a thing is possible. Their solutions were vastly better than what their doctors recommended. This is counter-intuitive. We don’t see this in other areas of life. We don’t see amateurs building better cars than professionals, for example. But it’s happening.

I believe two things about this:

1. The solutions will generalize. What Person X discoveres improves her health turn out to help with other problems. I started drinking flaxseed oil because it improved my balance. It turned out to improve my brain function measured in other ways. And it turned out to improve my gums. I don’t have lichen planus or geographic tongue, which xylitol can cure, but I am taking xylitol because I believe (backed up by research) it reduces plaque.

2. The methods will generalize — what you do that finds a solution to Problem X is worth trying with other problems. With me, self-experimentation is an example. When studying my acne, self-experimentation showed how to better than my dermatologist’s advice. Later, it helped me improve my health on other dimensions (weight, mood, sleep, etc.).

The Make Yourself Healthy Meetup group can spread the solutions, the methods, and the   knowledge that such a thing is possible. It can encourage people to try to improve on expert advice and help them do so.