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

alternative medicine

It is not often that I publish a paper with a philosopher in a leading journal of philosophy. In fact, it is the first time, and I am rather proud of it – so much so that I must show my readers (the article is freely available via the link below and I encourage everyone to read the full text) the abstract of our article entitled WHY HOMOEOPATHY IS PSEUDOSCIENCE (Synthese (2022) 200:394):

Homoeopathy is commonly recognised as pseudoscience. However, there is, to date, no systematic discussion that seeks to establish this view. In this paper, we try to fill this gap. We explain the nature of homoeopathy, discuss the notion of pseudoscience, and provide illustrative examples from the literature indicating why homoeopathy fits the
bill. Our argument contains a conceptual and an empirical part.

In the conceptual part, we introduce the premise that a doctrine qualifies as a pseudoscience if, firstly, its proponents claim scientific standing for it and, secondly, if they produce bullshit to defend it, such that, unlike science, it cannot be viewed as the most reliable knowledge on its topic. In the empirical part, we provide evidence that homoeopathy fulfils both criteria. The first is quickly established since homoeopaths often explicitly claim scientificity.

To establish the second, we dive into the pseudo-academic literature on homoeopathy to provide evidence of bullshit in the arguments of homoeopaths. Specifically, we show that they make bizarre ontological claims incompatible with natural science, illegitimately shift the burden of proof to sceptics, and mischaracterise, cherry-pick, and misreport the evidence. Furthermore, we demonstrate that they reject essential parts of established scientific methodology and use epistemically unfair strategies to immunise their doctrine against recalcitrant evidence.

And here is our conclusion:

At the beginning of the paper, we noted that homoeopathy is commonly named one of the prototypical pseudosciences. However, there has been, to date, no comprehensive discussion as to what makes it a pseudoscience. Moreover, the problem is not trivial since the most well-known and influential demarcation criteria, such as Popper’s falsifiability criterion and Kuhn’s problem-solving criterion, cannot account for it, as we have shown. We have tried to fill this research gap using a novel bullshitology-based approach to the demarcation problem. Following this approach, we have argued that homoeopathy should be regarded as pseudoscience because its proponents claim scientific standing for it and produce argumentative bullshit to defend it, thus violating important epistemic standards central to science.

Earlier this year, I started the ‘WORST PAPER OF 2022 COMPETITION’. As a competition without a prize is no fun, I am offering the winner (that is the lead author of the winning paper) one of my books that best fits his/her subject. I am sure this will overjoy him or her.

And how do we identify the winner? I will continue blogging about nominated papers (I hope to identify about 10 in total), and towards the end of the year, I let my readers decide democratically.

In this spirit of democratic voting, let me suggest to you ENTRY No 8 (it is so impressive that I must show you the unadulterated abstract):

Introduction

Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) seriously affects the quality of life of women. However, most women do not have access to effective treatment.

Aim

This study aimed to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of the use of acupuncture in FSD treatment based on existing clear acupuncture protocol and experience-supported face-to-face therapy.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was performed on 24 patients with FSD who received acupuncture from October 2018 to February 2022. The Chinese version of the female sexual function index , subjective sensation, sexual desire, sexual arousal, vaginal lubrication, orgasm, sexual satisfaction, and dyspareunia scores were compared before and after the treatment in all 24 patients.

Main Outcome Measure

A specific female sexual function index questionnaire was used to assess changes in female sexual function before and after the acupuncture treatment.

Results

In this study, the overall treatment improvement rate of FSD was 100%. The Chinese version of the female sexual function index total score, sexual desire score, sexual arousal score, vaginal lubrication score, orgasm score, sexual satisfaction score, and dyspareunia score during intercourse were significantly different before and after the treatment (P < .05). Consequently, participants reported high levels of satisfaction with acupuncture. This study indicates that acupuncture could be a new and effective technique for treating FSD. The main advantages of this study are its design and efficacy in treating FSD. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of FSD using the female sexual function index scale from 6 dimensions. The second advantage is that the method used (ie, the nonpharmacological method) is simple, readily available, highly safe with few side effects, and relatively inexpensive with high patient satisfaction. However, limitations include small sample size and lack of further detailed grouping, pre and post control study of patients, blank control group, and pre and post control study of sex hormones.

Conclusion

Acupuncture can effectively treat FSD from all dimensions with high safety, good satisfaction, and definite curative effect, and thus, it is worthy of promotion and application.

My conclusion is very different: acupuncture can effectively kill any ability for critical thinking.

I hardly need to list the flaws of this paper – they are all too obvious, e.g.:

  • there is no control group; the results might therefore be due to a host of factors that are unrelated to acupuncture,
  • the trial was too small to allow far-reaching conclusions,
  • the study does not tell us anything about the safety of acupuncture.

The authors call their investigation a ‘pilot study’. Does that excuse the flimsiness of their effort? No! A pilot study cannot draw conclusions such as the above.

What’s the harm? you might ask; nobody will ever read such rubbish and nobody will have the bizarre idea to use acupuncture for treating FSD. I’m afraid you would be wrong to argue in this way. The paper already got picked up by THE DAILY MAIL in an article entitled “Flailing libido? Acupuncture could help boost sex drive, scientists say” which was as devoid of critical thinking as the original study. Thus we can expect that hundreds of desperate women are already getting needled and ripped off as we speak. And in any case, offensively poor science is always harmful; it undermines public trust in research (and it renders acupuncture research the laughing stock of serious scientists).

 

Guest post by Ken McLeod

On 07 June 2022, we published an article warning readers of the planned visit to the UK of health crank Barbara O’Neill, ‘A residential health programme that poses “a risk to the health and safety of members of the public.” ‘ We referred to the Prohibition Order that the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission has imposed on her:

‘The Commission is satisfied that Mrs O’Neill poses a risk to the health and safety of members of the public and therefore makes the following prohibition order:

Mrs O’Neill is permanently prohibited from providing any health services, as defined in s4 Of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity.’

We showed that O’Neill remains undaunted by such mere technicalities and continues to spruik her nostrums and misinformation, such as that planned for Manna House, Stoke-on-Trent.

One reader did a little bit of digging into O’Neill’s lectures and found something that should alarm anyone; her advocacy of asbestosform Yoni Stones for ‘Balancing Your Hormones.’

So what are ‘Yoni Stones?’ and ‘Why should we be worried?’ we hear you ask. Good questions, so here we go.

0. BACKGROUND:

According to promoters in alternative health industries, ‘Yoni stones,’ also known as ‘Yoni Eggs’ are ‘semi – precious stones carved into the shape of eggs that can be inserted into a woman’s womb space for vaginal wall tightening and energetic cleansing. Yoni Eggs have been used for many decades by the most in-tuned women who know that keeping good vaginal wellness is keeping universal wellness. The more in-tuned a woman is in her femininity the better all her relations will be.’ 1

1. PROMOTION AND SALE:

The following are examples of the promotion and sale of Yoni stones and showing how wrong and dangerous they are.

1.1 ‘La Loba’

A Google search found hundreds of retailers selling them, such as ‘La Loba’ 2 whose website does do not give an address, but are located on the Gold Coast Australia. La Loba sells nephrite jade eggs like this:

La Loba claim that ‘GIA certified means that it’s certified by the Gemological institute of America to be that specific stone. So you know it’s a real stone that is high quality.’ La Loba makes several claims of therapeutic benefit, like:

‘Yoni Eggs Physical Benefits Pelvic Floor Health Assists with incontinence Increases lubrication Builds sensitivity Helps improve Libido Can be used to prepare for childbirth and to heal post childbirth Helps to prevent and improve prolapse Balances hormones by increasing blood flow to the Yoni Increases orgasmic pleasure for yourself and your partner Spiritual Benefits Healing properties of the chosen crystal are absorbed Builds connection with your Yoni Helps one work through any trauma/stagnant energy held… ‘

 

Despite the claims of therapeutic benefits, ‘La Loba’ did not display any regulatory approval from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration or US Federal Drug Administration, so we can take it as read that Yoni Stones have not been assessed for safety.

1.2 Barbara O’Neill

The most prominent promoter of Yoni Stones is Barbara O’Neill, of Misty Mountain Lifestyle Retreat, of Bellbrook, New South Wales.

The internet, especially YouTube, is alive with hundreds of her videos promoting all sorts of quackery, but today we can limit ourselves to the dozens of videos in which she promotes Yoni Stones, such as the video of Barbara O’Neill conducting a lecture at Living Springs Alabama, USA. This video 5 ‘Balancing Your Hormones’ has been viewed 43,636 times since it was first published on 3 May 2022.

From the video:

In that video, Barbara O’Neill makes claims that are of concern. From the transcript,6 at 00:44:31, she recommends ‘Yoni Stones,’ and at 00:44:44 ‘… ideally, they’re made out of nephrite.’ (See the above screencap of her whiteboard presentation, bottom left-hand corner.) In the transcript she advises that women should insert them daily for several hours at a time over several months, even years. O’Neill describes Yoni Stones at 00:44:35 in the transcript: “The Chinese dynasty developed Yoni stones to help the young concubines be sexually toned for the emperor. But they’re very popular today, and ideally, they’re made out of nephrite. Jade nephrite. Jade is like a green marble. The nephrite jade is heavy and as you’ll see why that’s important in a minute. But it’s also a smooth marble, so there are no crevices.”

There are several falsehoods in this:

1.2.1 There were many dynasties in Imperial China, but none of them were named ‘The Chinese Dynasty.’

1.2.2 No Imperial Chinese dynasty developed Yoni Stones. It’s marketing hype designed to dupe the gullible. Obstetrician -Gynaecologist Dr Jennifer Gunter 7 and archaeologist Professor Sarah Parcak 8 researched that claim by conducting a search of the online databases of four major Chinese art and archaeology collections in the United States. They identified more than 5000 jade objects viewable in online databases. They found that no vaginal jade eggs were identified, and concluded that:

“No evidence was found to support the claim that vaginal jade eggs were used for any indication in ancient Chinese culture.” 9

1.2.3 As for O’Neill’s claim that there are no crevices and are therefore safe, O’Neill says in the transcript at 00:45:13 ‘….There are two holes in the bottom (of the Yoni Stone) so that a woman can insert dental floss for easy extraction….’ So crevices are out but holes are OK?

The Cleveland Health Clinic published an article 10 on July 30, 2021, by Obstetrician – Gynaecologist Dr Suchetha Kshettry, MD, ‘Think Twice Before Putting a Yoni Egg in Your Vagina. She says that ‘Gemstones like jade and onyx are semi-porous, which means there’s space for bacteria to take up residence within them. Semi-porous materials are difficult to fully clean, too, meaning that bacteria may stick around and fester.’ She listed the following hazards:

Ø Persistent bacterial infections;

Ø Irritation, scratches, tears;

Ø Damage to pelvic floor muscles; Ø toxic shock syndrome that can lead to serious health issues and even death.

Dr Kshettry makes it clear that there is no benefit.

That is supported by Obstetrician -Gynaecologist Dr Jennifer Gunter, who has written that Yoni stones do not balance hormones and have all the risks that Dr Kshettry listed above. 11

Further, California officials prosecuted Gwyneth Paltrow and her company Goop for making the same claims as O’Neill. In an out-of-court settlement, Paltrow’s company agreed to pay $US145,000 ($202,000) in civil penalties. 12

1.2.4. More concerning, nephrite jade is notorious as a dangerous asbestiform prismatic tremolite, a mineral composed of microcrystalline tremolite asbestos. Nephrite is a variety of the calcium, magnesium, and iron-rich amphibole minerals tremolite or actinolite, aggregates of which also make up one form of asbestos. The chemical formula for nephrite is Ca2(Mg, Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2. It is one of two different mineral species called jade. In layman’s terms it is ‘asbestos’ and we would think that it is therefore carcinogenic. Strangely enough, while there is plenty of research on the consequences of inhaling asbestos, there seems to be little or no research on the consequences of inserting it into vaginas.

That may be because scientists thought that it was not a productive area of research because they thought nobody would be stupid enough to do that. (How wrong they were.) Nevertheless, in the absence of definitive research showing that inserting asbestos into vaginas is perfectly safe, promoting that is incredibly irresponsible.

All we could find on the subject was the limited research which examined the dangers to people shaping nephrite jade asbestos:

1.2.4.1. Yang HY, Shie RH, Chen PC. Carving of non-asbestiform tremolite and the risk of lung cancer: a follow-up mortality study in a historical nephrite processing cohort. Occup Environ Med. 2013 Dec;70(12):852-7. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2013-101404. Epub 2013 Sep 18. PMID: 24142973; PMCID: PMC3841744. 13

1.2.4.1.1. The researchers found that nephrite processing led to a significantly increased risk of lung cancer.

1.2.4.2. Bailey et al, ‘The Asbestiform and Prismatic Mineral Growth Habit and Their Relationship to Cancer Studies – A Pictorial Presentation.’ 14

If anyone can find research on the effects of inserting asbestos-form Yoni Stones into vaginas, please let us know in the comments.

2. CONCLUSIONS:

2.1 As if the risks of persistent bacterial infections, irritation, scratches, tears, damage to pelvic floor muscles, toxic shock syndrome, serious health issues and death were not bad enough, Barbara O’Neill’s and other health gurus’ and retailers’ recommendations to insert asbestos stones into vaginas for extended lengths of time is reckless and dangerous. And there is no therapeutic benefit in the use of Yoni Stones.

But that’s Standard Operating Procedure in Alt-Med, so that’s all right then.

So what would health regulators make of this? Should they issue a Public Warning to all users, processors, manufacturers, importers and retailers? Watch this space.

1 https://www.yonieggs.com/

2 https://laloba.com.au/collections/yoni-eggs

3 https://laloba.com.au/collections/yoni-eggs/products/nephrite-jade-eggs?_pos=1&_sid=ab4fad37e&_ss=r

4 https://laloba.com.au/blogs/resources

5https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7uATPC-7CY. A backup copy is available on request.

6 Transcript is available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/gwdncg5iwx3a31g/Balancing%20Your%20Hormones%20-%20Barbara%20O%27Neill-%203%20May%202022.mp4-transcript%20%281%29.docx?dl=0

7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jen_Gunter

8 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Parcak

9 “Vaginal Jade Eggs: Ancient Chinese Practice or Modern Marketing Myth?” Gunter, Jennifer MD*; Parcak, Sarah PhD, Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: 1/2 2019 – Volume 25 – Issue 1 – p 1-2, published in Urogynecology – Official Journal of the American Urogynecologic Society. https://journals.lww.com/fpmrs/Abstract/2019/01000/Vaginal_Jade_Eggs__Ancient_Chinese_Practice_or.1.aspx

10 https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-yoni-eggs-safe/

11 https://drjengunter.com/2017/01/17/dear-gwyneth-paltrow-im-a-gyn-and-your-vaginal-jade-eggs-are-a-bad-idea/

12 https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/goop-settles-lawsuit-over-purported-benefits-of-jade-eggs-20180906-p5021h.html

13 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3841744/

14 Published 2006. Available on request.

The death of our Queen is a sad event, even for those who are far from being Royalists. It is the end of an era; she was unique and symbolized the UK both nationally and abroad. I met her once (in fact, she expressed the wish to meet me when she visited Exeter University [full story here]). She was charming and very well-informed; we talked longer than the protocol allowed and, eventually, she was urged to move on by the officials.

In the last 24 hours, many people have written to me and asked whether I will now change the title of my recent biography of Charles. Others have asked whether Charles will continue to promote so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). Some journalists inquired about what sort of monarch Charles will become.

To all these questions, I have answered: “I DON’T KNOW”. All I can offer regarding my predictions about the future of the monarchy is a short passage from the final chapter of my biography of Charles that briefly touches upon some of these issues. Here it is:

It is clear to many observers that Charles has the urge to make a positive contribution to the future of his country. Most agree that he is full of goodwill. In some areas, for example, the Prince’s Trust [1], he was highly successful in his endeavor. In the field of alternative medicine, however, success has evaded him. One might ask, therefore, how he could have channeled his enthusiasm, influence, and hard work in a more productive direction. In my view, this would not have been difficult and could have been achieved by operating along the following lines:

Charles, The Alternative Prince: An Unauthorised Biography

  • Work not against but alongside the medical and scientific establishment.
  • Involve some of the country’s top scientists.
  • Raise sufficient funds for rigorous research projects conducted at leading universities.
  • Encourage his team of science advisers to defend unpopular views and, if necessary, contradict Charles’ views.
  • Focus on treatments that are biologically plausible and supported by encouraging evidence, e.g. rational phytotherapy (chapter 15).
  • Make sure that the potential harm of alternative medicine is fully investigated and that the findings are adequately publicized.
  • Become a defender of science and reason.

Some of these principles are not all that dissimilar to those of the US Bravewell Collaborative (chapter 20). Charles would only have needed to follow their example. It seems that he and his advisers did not consider this to be viable.

As he becomes king, Charles could have looked back at his activities around alternative medicine in the knowledge that – like with some of his other ‘good causes’ – he has provided tangible benefits to the people. Many of the negative headlines that Charles had to endure about his involvement in alternative medicine could have been different, his reputation within the world of science would be intact, and the alternative medicine community might respect him even more.

According to his own statement, Charles will stop his lobbying once he is king. When asked if his campaigning would carry on when he is king, Charles replied: “No, it won’t. I’m not that stupid.” [2] If that happens, alternative medicine will have lost one of its most enthusiastic supporters. In this case, I will look back on this period with a degree of sadness.

Despite everything, I still believe that alternative medicine has a few hidden gems to discover. To find them, we foremost need good science. To conduct the research, we need people with influence to support it. Charles could have so easily been that person. Instead, he took consistently poor advice and chose to follow a different path. He pursued a largely anti-science agenda and promoted the uncritical integration of unproven treatments into the NHS. In this way, I am afraid, he became an obstacle to progress in healthcare and generated more harm than good. My predominant feeling about that is sadness over a missed opportunity.

[1] https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/

[2] https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/news/a24839545/prince-charles-role-monarch/

This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of Persian barley water in controlling the clinical outcomes of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. It was designed as a single-blind, add-on therapy, randomized controlled clinical trial and conducted in Shiraz, Iran, from January to March 2021. One hundred hospitalized COVID-19 patients with moderate disease severity were randomly allocated to receive routine treatment (per local protocols) with or without 250 ml of Persian barley water (PBW) daily for two weeks. Clinical outcomes and blood tests were recorded before and after the study period. Multivariable modeling was applied using Stata software for data analysis.

The length of hospital stay (LHS) was 4.5 days shorter in the intervention group than the control group regardless of history of cigarette smoking (95% confidence interval: -7.22, -1.79 days). Also, body temperature, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), and creatinine significantly dropped in the intervention group compared to the control group. No adverse events related to PBW occurred.

The authors from the Department of Traditional Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran, concluded that this clinical trial demonstrated the efficacy of PBW in minimizing the LHS, fever, and levels of ESR, CRP, and creatinine among hospitalized COVID-19 patients with moderate disease severity. More robust trials can help find safe and effective herbal formulations as treatments for COVID-19.

I must admit, I did not know about PBW. The authors explain that PBW is manufactured from Hordeum vulgare via a specific procedure. According to recent studies, barley is rich in constituents such as selenium, tocotrienols, phytic acid, catechin, lutein, vitamin E, and vitamin C; these compounds are responsible for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Barley grains also have immune-stimulating effects, antioxidant properties, protective effects on the liver and digestive systems, anti-cancer effects, and act to reduce uric acid levels.

But even if these effects would constitute a plausible mechanism for explaining the observed effects (which I do not think they do), the study itself is more than flimsy.

I do not understand why researchers investigating an important issue do not make sure that their study is as rigorous as possible.

  • Why not use an adequately large sample size?
  • Why not employ a placebo?
  • Why not double-blind?
  • Why not report the most important outcome, i.e. mortality?

As it stands, nobody will take this study seriously. Perhaps this is a good thing – but perhaps PBW does have positive effects (I know it’s a long shot) and, in this case, a poor-quality study would only prevent an effective therapy come to light.

There is a broad, growing, international consensus that homeopathy is a placebo therapy. Even the Germans who have been notoriously fond of their homeopathic remedies are now slowly beginning to accept this fact. But now, a dispute has started to smolder in Germany’s southwest about further training for doctors in homeopathy. In July, the representative assembly of the Baden-Württemberg Medical Association decided to remove the additional title of homeopathy from the further training regulations of doctors. However, the local health ministry has legal control over the medical association and must therefore review the decision, and the minister (Manne Lucha), a member of the Green Party, has stated that he considers the deletion to be wrong.

In a further deepening of the conflict, it has been reported that the chairwoman of the Green Party, Lena Schwelling, considers the ongoing controversy over homeopathy to be exaggerated and wants to preserve people’s freedom of choice. She said she agrees with Health Minister Manne Lucha that naturopathy and homeopathy are important issues for many people. “There is freedom of choice of doctor and therapy in this country. And if people want to choose it, I think they should be allowed to do so.” She also said continuing education for homeopathy for physicians should remain.

Schwelling spoke out against omitting homeopathy from the benefits catalog of the statutory health insurance funds, as demanded by the German Liberal Party, for example: “We are talking about about 0.003 percent of the total costs of the statutory health insurance funds, which flow into homeopathic medicines and treatments. If you saw that as a homeopathic medicine, that would also be at the detection limit, that’s how little money it is. It’s so diluted and so little in this overall budget that it’s not worth arguing about. That’s why I’m very surprised at the crusade some are waging against the issue of homeopathy.”

Recently, a dispute has been smoldering in the southwest about continuing education for homeopathy. The representative assembly of the Baden-Württemberg Medical Association decided in July to remove the additional title of homeopathy from the continuing education regulations. The local health minister, Lucha, has legal oversight of the medical association and must review the amendment statute. However, the minister has already stated that he believes the deletion is wrong.

In response, Schwelling stated it is a “normal process” for the ministry to review what the medical association has proposed. He added that it was perfectly clear that “further training in homeopathy is additional training and does not replace medical studies. Of course, homeopathic doctors also prescribe antibiotics when indicated. An important point why homeopathy should remain in the canon is that you then have the established control mechanisms, for example, in further education.”

Osteopathic tradition in the cranial field (OCF) postulates that the primary respiratory mechanism (PRM) relies on the anatomical links between the occiput and sacrum. Few studies investigated this relationship with inconsistent results. No studies investigated the occiput-sacrum connection from a neurophysiological perspective.

This study aims to determine whether the sacral technique (ST), compared to the compression of the fourth ventricle (CV4) technique, can affect brain alpha-band power (AABP) as an indicator of a neurophysiological connection between the occiput and sacrum.

Healthy students, 22-30 years old for men and 20-30 years old for women, were enrolled in the study and randomized into eight intervention groups. Each group received a combination of active techniques (CV4 or ST) and the corresponding sham techniques (sham compression of the fourth ventricle [sCV4] or sham sacral technique [sST] ), organized in two experimental sessions divided by a 4 h washout period. AABP was continuously recorded by electroencephalogram (EEG) of the occipital area in the first 10 min of resting state, during each intervention (active technique time) and after 10 min (post-active technique time), for a total of approximately 50 min per session. Analysis was carried out utilizing a repeated-measure ANOVA within the linear general model framework, consisting of a within-subject factor of time and a within-subject factor of treatment (CV4/ST).

Forty healthy volunteers (mean age ± SD, 23.73±1.43 years; range, 21-26 years; 16 male and 24 female) were enrolled in the study and completed the study protocol. ANOVA revealed a time × treatment interaction effect statistically significant (F=791.4; p<0.001). A particularly high increase in mean AABP magnitude was recorded during the 10 min post-CV4, compared to both the CV4 and post-sCV4 application (p<0.001). During all the times analyzed for ST and sST application, no statistically significant differences were registered with respect to the resting state.

The authors concluded that the ST does not produce immediate changes on occipital AABP brain activity. CV4, as previous evidence supported, generates immediate effects, suggesting that a different biological basis for OCF therapy’s connection between the head and sacrum should be explored.

Why on earth should a different biological mechanism be explored? Why not conclude that OCF and its assumptions are pure nonsense?

The answer to these questions is not difficult to find: the authors are from the ‘Istituto Superiore di Osteopatia, Milan, Italy’! One can understand that, at this institution, people are unlikely to agree with my conclusion that OCF is based on absurd concepts and does not merit further research.

One should never assume that one has seen everything so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) has to offer. New interventions pop up all the time. The ingenuity of the SCAM entrepreneur is limitless. Here is a particularly audacious innovation:

Aura sprays deliver healing gemstone energies to your body, emotions, memory, and mind via your aura.

They give you:

  • Instant relief from negative, harmful, or unwanted energies.
  • Support that you cannot get from herbs and medicines.
  • Deep nourishment to help you overcome weakness and depletion.

And you can choose from an entire range:

7-Color-Ray Diamond Spray $34.95 – $89.95

Energy Clearing Spray $24.95 – $59.95

Electromagnetic Radiation EMR Clearing $24.95 – $59.95

Sparkler Diamond Spray $34.95

I was particularly fascinated by the EMR spray and found further relevant information about it:

Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) floods our environment and is potentially harmful. GEMFormulas’ EMR Clearing spray clears this energetic toxin from the body and teaches it to become immune. This is essential if we are to thrive in a modern world.

Use this spray to help clear your body and aura of harmful electromagnetic radiation frequencies, which can weaken tissue, inhibit cellular function, and interfere with normal energy flows in the body.

**Harmful electromagnetic radiation is emitted by computers, cell phones, motors, microwave ovens, and other electrical appliances.**

Use When You Are Feeling:

  • Weakened in the vicinity of electromagnetic fields.
  • Dermatological symptoms such as redness, tingling, and burning sensations.
  • Symptoms typical of EHS (Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity) such as fatigue, tiredness, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, and digestive disturbances.
  • A range of non-specific, medically unexplained symptoms.

And When You Want to:

  • Become more resilient to the effects of potentially harmful EMR.
  • Build immunity to EMR, heal from damage caused by EMR, and protect yourself from further EMR damage.
  • Clear harmful EMR residues from your body and aura.
  • Maximize your health potential.

Ideal For People Who:

  • Work with computers all day long.
  • Live near sources of high electromagnetic radiation.
  • Suspect they have Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS).
  • Plan to become pregnant.
  • Are trying to heal from another affliction.

Additional Benefits: Clear Therapeutic Gemstones and Crystals

You can also use the spray to clear electromagnetic radiation that therapeutic gemstone necklaces naturally accumulate during normal wear in areas of high electromagnetic fields, when stored too close to computers or other electronic devices, and when worn while you are holding a cell phone.

I am tempted!

Not that I plan to become pregnant but I am trying to heal from another affliction: gullibility.

________________________

Seriously: how can anyone fall for such nonsense???

But obviously, some people do and pay good money to ruthless con artists (if you look on the Internet, there are dozens of firms offering such quackery).

Even after 30 years of research, so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) has a sheer inexhaustible ability to amaze me.

The tales of Kate Moss’s excesses are legendary. Sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll have always been an integral part of the supermodel’s life. Stories of wild behavior, random sexual encounters, and copious drug use seemed endless. Now, it seems she is adding a new element to her tumultuous career:

Quackery.

The supermodel is the latest in the long line of VIPs jumping on the quackery bandwagon by marketing her very own brand of over-priced nonsense. She was reported to have worked with Victoria Young, a homeopath and “spiritual guide”, on the products. There’s a Dawn Tea at £20 for 25 tea bags, “inspired by Kate’s English garden” – “With ingredients like hibiscus, rosemary, and nettle leaf, this first step of the Dawn Ritual gently energizes and strengthens the body”. There’s also a Dusk Tea.

There is also a 100ml bottle called Sacred Mist for £120. It is described as “a unique eau de parfum blended with essential oils for the body and surroundings.” There’s a 30ml bottle for £105 called Golden Nectar, which is pro-collagen. CBD oil drops to “holistically support body, mind, and soul”. A 50ml face cream for £95. A 100ml face cleanser for £52.

The website of Moss’ new enterprise claims that “COSMOSS draws on the extraordinary life experience of Kate Moss — someone whose career and image has touched on and influenced so many others and yet has taken her own, rich journey of transformation gradually and privately. COSMOSS is a celebration of every day exactly as it is, with all its imperfections. Each product has been meticulously crafted with wellbeing in mind, using potent, natural substances. Each ritual opens a door to balance, restoration, and love; each fragrance and infusion recentres and completes. COSMOSS is self-care created for life’s modern journeys to make them beautiful, mesmerising and magical.”

In a far cry from her past, Moss explained: “I’ve been meditating, doing yoga, just being much healthier. All the stuff that can make you feel more grounded and balanced.”

Personally, I am glad to hear that Kate is off cocaine and now into other, less harmful ‘natural substances’. Her customers wellbeing might not improve, but I suspect her bank account might.

Le Figaro reported that France’s medical appointment booking service ‘Doctolib’ is being accused of promoting so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) on its platform. “Measures will be taken soon. Several options are on the table, we do not exclude anything,” announced Doctolib after declaring during the day on its Twitter account the immediate suspension of some profiles.

Health professionals and patients have been criticizing the platform for allowing its users to make appointments with practitioners claiming to be naturopaths and some offering dangerous quackery. Naturopathy is not recognized in France and is sometimes considered to be linked to charlatanism.

A member of the office for the control of conspiracies, Tristan Mendès France, had found a practitioner promoting urine therapy via Doctolib. “The presence of these individuals on a service that puts patients and health professionals in touch with each other gives them totally unjustified credit and endorsement,” stated a Twitter account aimed at informing “about the dangers of certain pseudo-alternatives in terms of health and nutrition”.

Amongst the questioned profiles were the naturopaths Thierry Casasnovas and Irène Grosjean, two influential personalities in the naturopathic world who are discredited in the health world. “We would like to point out that it is impossible for a patient to make an [appointment] on Doctolib in a practitioner not referenced by the Ministry of Health, without having expressly sought to do so,” Doctolib defended its position stating that it would proceed to checks on practitioners “whose actions would be dangerous or condemnable by law” and who would have been the subject of complaints on social media.

97%” of practitioners signed up with Doctolib are registered with the Ministry of Health,” the company claimed. According to Doctolib, only 3% of its practitioners are therefore from the realm of SCAM: sophrologists, hypnotherapists, naturopaths. In France, these practitioners are not regulated and do not have the status of health professional, but they are nevertheless legal. The appointments made on Doctolib with such practitioners represent “0.3% of the totality” of the volume recorded on the platform.

The CEO of Doctolib, Stanislas Niox-Chateau, said that he was responding to a request from patients and refused to position his site as a simple directory of the Ministry of Health: “The demand is there. It is not up to us to say whether these activities are effective or useful. They are legal, so we have no reason to prevent practitioners from being listed on our site.”

As so often in the realm of SCAM, the dispute seems to be one between ethical/moral responsibilities and commercial interests of the parties involved.

 

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