This week really has been a bad start to the year for alternative medicine.

Firstly we had the woman in the UK who went on a New Year detox diet. All detox diets are bollocks, but this one was hyperbollocks. She was drinking many litres of water, and taking supplements including large amounts of valerian. People often take this to relieve stress despite the complete absence of any evidence it works. After just two days, this woman was confused and disorientated, eventually collapsed, and got carted off the hospital for some real diagnosis and treatment. Odd how the alt-ther enthusiasts turn to conventional medicine when things go tits up.

Blood tests showed she was severely hyponatraemic as a result of her detox diet and stupidly high water intake, and was pretty much at death’s door till the medicos stepped in and made her well again. That’s how proper medicine works. Back to the drawing board, ma’am.

By the way, if you look at many of the detox/cleansing products you can buy, a substantial number contain senna, which will open your sluices in the short term, but may cause your bowels to pack up when you cease taking it, giving you paradoxical constipation. As ever, natural does not mean safe.

Bad news also for the makers of ear candles. They claim that the use of ear candles causes a partial vacuum that effectively hoovers the wax out of your lugholes. Well guess what? A proper grown-up study has shown a/ they don’t work and b/ not surprisingly, you run the risk of thermal damage to your auditory canal and pinna. Whoever would have thought it? Still, it means gullible idiots won’t be shelling out 20 quid a pop to burn themselves. By coincidence the American Otolaryngology Association or some similar august organisation reiterated the fact that putting anything solid in your ears is a bad idea. Double whammy for the charlatans.

Bad news for the alt-ther folks in the UK was the launch this week of a new partwork from De Agostini publications. They specialise in fleecing people, so your first partwork of any that they release will come at a bargain basement price, which then escalates to the sort of cash you’d expect to pay as a ransom. I suppose it is, when you think that you’re pretty much a prisoner to the scam.

Anyways, this week saw the first issue of Mind Body Spirit, aimed firmly at weak-minded New Agers who can’t decide which path to true enlightenment and wellness they wish to follow. Hence MBS offers, among other bits of fevered babbling, crystals, some more candles (not of the ear variety), guidance on interpreting dreams, meditation aids, and, wait for it, Angel Cards.

No, I didn’t know what Angel Cards are either. Enter Google.

‘They can be a powerful tool for those seeking guidance in their life.’

So far, so implausible.

‘Like Tarot cards…’

I lost interest rrrrrright there.

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