Here is a so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) that might be new to you – it certainly was to me: etiopathy. Founded in 1963 by the French Christian Trédaniel, etiopathy is a method of reasoning to determine the causes of a health problem and remove them acting on them. Etiopathy seems particularly popular in France, but is now slowly making inroads also elsewhere.

What is it?

This article explains it quite well:

Etiopathy is an alternative medicine which aims to treat everyday ailments without medication, using only manual techniques. Although it has been around for many years, the discipline is only just beginning to find its feet. It is a recognised health profession in several European countries, although there are not many practitioners.

The word etiopathy comes from the Greek word “aïtia”, which means “cause” and “pathos”, which means “suffering”. In short, etiopathy prioritises trying to find the cause for a pathology rather than getting rid of its symptoms.

The ethos of etiopathy is that the only way to prevent a problem from recurring is to treat it at the cause. According to this approach, if we don’t go back to the true source of the problem, patients run the risk of relapse.

The emphasis on diagnosis in etiopathy allows practitioners to treat the majority of common pathologies, thanks to an exclusively manual treatment approach, involving massage of particular points and thus avoiding medication and side effects. Obviously, an etiopath will immediately refer the patient on if they feel that the support of another health professional is required.

Etiopathy can be used to complement classic medical treatment, to help treat fairly benign problems such as:

  • joint problems (sprains, strains, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome, etc.)
  • respiratory or ENT problems (asthma, colds, coughs, sinusitis, rhinitis, rhinopharyngitis, etc.)
  • vertebral problems (neuralgia, torticollis, lumbago, chronic lower back pain, etc.)
  • problems during pregnancy (nausea, vomiting, sciatica) and preparation for giving birth
  • digestive problems (bloating, aerophagia, gastro-oesophageal reflux, constipation, diarrhea, etc.)
  • urinary problems (cystitis, prostate problems, incontinence, etc.)
  • gynaecological problems (painful periods, infertility, menopause, organ prolapse, etc.)
  • circulation problems (palpitations, tightness in the chest, heavy legs, Raynaud’s syndrome, etc.)
  • general health problems (migraines, insomnia, anxiety, shingles, etc.)

The goal of etiopathy is to reduce the risk of developing chronic problems or to find a natural solution to avoid surgical intervention.


Big claims indeed!

But what about plausibility?

What about the evidence?






Conclusion: etiopathy is a SCAM like many others – plenty of hot air, fantasy and hype combined with an absence of science, evidence and  data.

7 Responses to Etiopathy: a SCAM like so many others

  • “Obviously, an etiopath will immediately refer the patient on if they feel that the support of another health professional is required.”

    There is nothing obvious about that at all. That assumes these etiopaths have morals, standards, a conscience, etc. If they sell this nonsense, they likely don’t have any of that.

  • I must say that this is certainly one of the more bald-faced SCAMs I’ve seen in a long while – these people do not even TRY to invoke some sort of imaginary mechanism or energy or device to find and remove the ‘True Cause of Disease’.

    They simply claim that whatever they dream up (‘reasoning’) is the cause, and that whatever they subsequently do is the cure.
    Perhaps the most amazing thing is that people fall for it …

  • Given the content of aphorism 1 of Hahnemann’s Organon, I imagine that this must be vigorously opposed by homeopaths.

  • RichardR

    You will likely find this simplistic, but many ill people would benefit themselves to ponder it.
    The cause of most chronic disease is lack of health. Much of this lack of good health is self inflicted.

    ” A recent Milken Institute analysis determined that treatment of the seven most common chronic diseases coupled with productivity losses will cost the U.S. economy more than $1 trillion dollars annually. Furthermore, compared with other developed nations, the U.S. has ranked poorly on cost and outcomes. This is predominantly because of our inability to effectively manage chronic disease. And yet the same Milken analysis estimates that modest reductions in unhealthy behaviors could prevent or delay 40 million cases of chronic illness per year. If we learn how to effectively manage chronic conditions, thus avoiding hospitalizations and serious complications, the healthcare system can improve quality of life for patients and greatly reduce the ballooning cost burden we all share.

    The success of population health and chronic disease management efforts hinges on a few key elements: identifying those at risk, having access to the right data about this population, creating actionable insights about patients, and coaching them toward healthier choices. Methods such as data-driven visual analytics help experts analyze large amounts of data and gain insights for making informed decisions regarding chronic diseases. According to the U.S.-based Institute of Medicine and the National Research, the vision for 21st century healthcare includes increased attention to cognitive support in decision making.”

  • Several articles suggest it is similar to osteopathy. See this, for instance:,4517.html Like osteopathy, it is built on the fallacious belief of “treating the root cause” (that’s also found in many other SCAM therapies).

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