It has been reported that the ‘American Society of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine’ (A SCAM) has published a list of the top 10 achievements in medical history. The spelling of ‘complimentary’ and the acronym might be hints suggesting that none of the below is meant too seriously – but it could be good fun. Here is the top 10 list unabbreviated and unaltered:

Tumeric – The miracle spice that can cure everything from athletes foot to cancer.

Homeopathy – The discovery that water has memory and that you can charge people for sugar pills revolutionized alternative medicine.

Cupping – Around a lot longer than Michael Phelps, cupping took hickies to a whole new level.

Aromatherapy – Smelly things can help calm nerves and cure various diseases based on who you buy it from.

Detoxing – From getting rid of heavy metals from vaccines to cleansing the body of harmful chemtrails, detoxing was one of the most influential and revolutionary practices of the last 100 years.

Coffee Enemas – Autism “advocates” discovered that shoving coffee up your rectum can cure you of autism, vaccine-injuries and several other conditions.

Black Salve – Somewhat controversial to those who understand science, black salve has been shown to burn off cancerous tumors and various parts of the body.

The Paleo Diet – The greatest diet ever discovered. The Paleo Diet and by extension the Paleo Lifestyle has proven to improve health outcomes and the pocket books of diet gurus.

Chiropractic Manipulation – Not surprisingly, chiropractic manipulation is one of the best and most lucrative of all the SCAM practices. Recently, more and more chiropractors are discovering that parents are also willing to let you manipulate the spine of their newborn infants (make sure you get them to sign a waiver first).

Cannabis – Last but certainly not least in Cannabis. The miracle plant which is KNOWN to cure every disease known to man yet remains illegal in several countries due to the influence of Big Pharma. Remember: if someone you know uses cannabis to fight their cancer and they still die, it was because they didn’t use it early enough, possibly did some kind of conventional therapy first, or simply used the wrong kind of plant.


I am sure that readers of this blog appreciate the list – especially as all of these treatment have previously been discussed on this very blog (just put the term in the search box, and you will find plenty of posts) –  but they might also feel the need to add more of their favourites to it. Therefore, I have a few suggestions of my own (in no particular order) which I think are well worth considering, if only for the fun of it (I put in the links to some previous posts where the therapy in question has been discussed in a less satirical manner):

Bach Flower Remedies – not as good as Mozart Balls, but almost.

Cranio-sacral therapy – the brain pulsates and the cash-register rings.

Gerson diet – the alternative way to enjoy coffee.

Urine therapy – making your very own medicine saves you going to the pharmacy and spending money.

Laetrile – apricots so good, they are worth a little plagiary.

Chelation therapy – taking out the calcium from your blood so that you can spend more on calcium supplements later.

Colloidal silver – only gold is better.

Gua sha – no pain without gain [for the TCM-practitioner].

Pranic-healing – or should this be ‘panic-healing’?

Weight-loss supplements – guaranteed to reduce the weight of your wallet.

Naturopathy – the art of turning the fallacy of ‘natural = good’ into a thriving business.

Integrative medicine – the art of mixing cow pie and apple pie and make it look attractive to gullible gourmets.

Anthroposophic medicine – East or West, Steiner knew best.

Biopuncture – the annoying obsession of puncturing holes into other people’s CVs.

Applied Kinesiology – best not to apply when you are ill.

Ear candles – candles in the shape of an ear are attractive presents not just for ENT surgeons.

Mistletoe – an inevitable complementary asset for Christmas.

Iridology – the study of Iridaceae, a family of plants in the order of Asparagales.

Holism – the bane of the proctologist.

In case my readers wanted to add to the list, I would be delighted – just put your suggestions into the comments section below.


  • I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this. Or am I?
    A couple of years ago I read a reference to something called ‘Chroma-bullet therapy’, a process in which patients had bullets of different colours fired at them, according to whatever it was they were suffering from.
    Now while the intelligent part of me knew full well it was a ‘lie or made-up fact’ as Steve Martin has it, so ludicrous were the other beliefs I read about – Breatharianism for instance, which is one you might usefully add to your list – that I had to check it out just in case.

    ‘Breatharianism. Breathing is sufficient. God just invented food as a table decoration’.

  • I think you might add to the list one I came across only recently: Tong Ren. According to the website of Tom Tan, its developer, “Tong Ren is a form of energy therapy for restoring health and vitality…In a typical therapy session, the Tong Ren practitioner uses a small human anatomical model as an energetic representation of the patient, tapping on targeted points on the model with a lightweight magnetic hammer.” It is therefore a kind of hybrid between voodoo and acupuncture.

    This introductory video, introduced (rather appropriately) by a chap named Charlie, explains it all better than I can.

  • Let us not forget “cryotherapy” where naked people enter a chamber at -240F for three minutes. Stimulating they say.

  • My favourite one is “breathing beehive’s air” (my rough translation), a branch of “apitherapy”.
    It is said to cure bronchitis and asthma.

    Photograph of an outdoor “therapy” session:

    Article (in German):

  • Reiki – May the force be with you

  • I find it intriguing that the paleo diet is included here. I read the article written here about the supposed health benefits and the underlying theories of why the diet might work. My own experiences with some of the core principles (reducing refined grains, sugar, generally avoiding the standard American diet) and consuming more meat, fish, nuts, greens, full-fat dairy, etc. have proven to be spectacular as far as body changes are concerned. At 50, I look like I did when I was 20 (or perhaps even better). Now that metric might be shallow and not reflective of other underlying health gains, but I’m pleased with the results and see no reason to return to the SAD diet. Perhaps my N = 1 experiment is some bizarre placebo effect, but my results suggest to me that there are at least certain aspects of the diet are highly effective. I would also contend that there is a growing body of research to show measurable benefits in regard to fat loss.

  • I miss “Aderlass” (venesection)! Might be a bit out of fashion today as cupping took over with the Olympics?

  • Curious, has Edzard Ernst taken any Continuing Medical Education Courses on the Endocannbinoid System. Germany is bringing Cannabis into the Pharmacy system as a form of medicine there for reason NOT being addressed. Is this legislation quackery, or some institutional form of ignorance?

  • The typo in your article, “you will find plenty od posts,” is quite appropriate.

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