MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

Quackademia is a lovely term for describing quackery at the academic level. The name may be amusing but the phenomenon isn’t. And this seems to be nowhere more true than in the US. The Certificate in Holistic Health and Healing Arts (HHHA) at the University of New Mexico allegedly “lays the groundwork for careers in holistic health and the healing arts while familiarizing students with practices that promote self-healing, longevity, and vitality.” To me, it seems to be a prime example of quackademia. Here is a selection of the courses offered by the HHHA:

INTRODUCTION TO HEALING ARTS

HHHA 101 (3 credits)

This entirely-online class grounds students in the foundation of Holistic Health and Healing Arts, introducing a wide range of healing modalities so that students can discover what works best for them. Often offered in Fall semester and asynchronously online.

This course is required for the HHHA Certificate.

MEDITATION, CONSCIOUSNESS, and SELF-HEALING

HHHA 102 (3 credits)

This course invites students to explore the deeply rejuvenating effects of meditation and mindfulness.  Often offered fall semester.

This course is required for the HHHA Certificate. 

HATHA YOGA

HHHA 104 (3 credits)

Students practice of fundamental and accessible asanas and discuss philosophy and ethics through the lens of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and Iyengar’s Light on Yoga. Students will also lead practices and discussions of their choosing. Often offered in spring.

This course is required for the 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Diploma.

TAI-JI/QIGONG

HHHA 105 (3 credits)

Students practice meditative movements that restore vitality, improve balance, increase strength and promote the wellbeing of mind, body, and spirit. Often offered over Summer semester.

YOGA FOR WELLNESS

HHHA 110 (1-3 Credits)

This beginner-friendly movement class will focus on stress reduction, flexibility, and general wellbeing. Offered varying semesters, usually face-to-face.

INTRODUCTION TO ORIENTAL MEDICINE

HHHA 116 (3 credits)

This class illuminates the fundamentals of this ancient system of medicine which emphasizes the interconnectedness of the body and the world. Often offered in Fall semester.

DREAMS, VISIONS, AND ARTMAKING

HHHA 117 (3 credits)

Students are led on a journey of self-discovery through guided visualizations. The images and intuition students tap into serve as fodder for their own creative work. Often offered in Fall semester, face-to-face.

AYURVEDA

HHHA 118 (3 credits)

This class introduces the ancient Indian healing modality called “The Science of Life” and guides students to an awareness of their constitutions (doshas). Students learn the nutritional and lifestyle approaches that can help create greater energetic balance. Often offered in Fall semester.

YOGA STYLES AND SAFETY

HHHA 120 (3 credits)

This class explores the different styles of yoga as well as ways of sequencing and cuing poses. Students show their understanding of class concepts through practice teaching. Often offered in Fall semester.

This course is required for the 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Diploma.

YOGA FOR COMMON CONDITIONS

HHHA 121

 (3 credits)

The class will prepare future yoga teachers and/or interested yoga students to design classes for themselves and others that safely accommodate many underlying injuries and conditions, observing, in the process, that a class that accommodates students with underlying conditions is a class for everyone. Often offered in Fall semester.

This course is required for the 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Diploma.

REIKI HEALING I

HHHA 146 (3 credits)

This introduction to energy work helps students to develop their energetic sensitivity and spiritual awareness while learning hands-on and intention-based techniques that encourage bodies to heal themselves. Often offered in Fall semester, face-to-face.

REIKI HEALING II

HHHA 147 (3 credits)

This class builds on the principles introduced in Reiki Healing I. Often offered in Fall semester, face-to-face.

INTRODUCTION TO HOMEOPATHY

HHHA 148 (3 credits)

Students learn the philosophical underpinnings and practical applications of homeopathy, a complete therapeutic system of medicine that aims to promote general health and reinforce the body’s own natural healing capacity. Often offered in Spring semester and asynchronously online.

YOGA AND PSYCHOLOGY OF THE CHAKRAS

HHHA 263 (3 credits)

Guided by Anodea Judith’s seminal Eastern Body, Western Mind, students explore the energetics as well as the biomechanics and alignment of the body chakra by chakra. Students will show their mastery of the concepts covered through practice teaching and reflective written assignments. May be offered spring or fall.

This course is required for the 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Diploma.

This amount of cheer nonsense taught at the university level beats everything I have seen before. Perhaps it is not that unusual in the US, yet after having been a university professor in three European countries, I find it truly baffling. Call me old-fashioned, but I had always assumed that the educational function of universities was about teaching knowledge and facts rather than myths and delusions. Universities must be the guardians of reason, not its destructors! How long will it be, I ask myself, until the first US university introduces a course in the design of flying carpets or a diploma in telekinesis?

5 Responses to Quackademia at its most rampant: the ‘Certificate in Holistic Health and Healing Arts’ (HHHA) at the University of New Mexico

  • The university offers a CoQ (Certificate of Quackery) as all the faculty members are involved more or less in quackery. Just take look at their curricula vitae. I think the “star teachers” are Dr. Angelika Maria Koch and Celeste Griego.

    https://taos.unm.edu/academics/departments/depts/health-sciences/hhha/faculty.html

  • A result of such Quackademic programs are one-stop-shops (for all your quackery needs) such as this one https://www.nourishing-journey.com/practitioners.

    Has anyone heard of SCAMs like Quantum touch, DNA Light of Hands, Holistic Metamorphosis?

    There is a lot more material in the above link for Prof. EE to blog about. You are welcome, Professor 😀

    • This link is brilliant thanks very much for posting it – the woo train leaving the station fully laden. Likewise can anyone explain what an organic cafe is – presumably its made of bricks, cement etc which would make it an inorganic cafe. Or maybe they can be found sitting inside a large carrot which would make the definition more accurate.

      I think quantum touch, DNA light of hands and holistic metamorphosis are ways of bypassing conscious resitance relieving you of your hard earned cash thereby lessening the burden of the extra weight you are carrying. At least the therapist feels better!!

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