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.
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.
Cannabis use is a frequently-discussed subject, not just in the realm of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). In general, SCAM advocates view it as an herbal medicine and recommend it for all sorts of conditions. They also often downplay the risks associated with cannabis use. Yet, these risks might be substantial.
Cannabis potency, defined as the concentration of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has increased internationally, which could increase the risk of adverse health outcomes for cannabis users. The first systematic review of the association of cannabis potency with mental health and addiction was recently published in ‘The Lancet Psychiatry’.
The authors searched Embase, PsycINFO, and MEDLINE (from database inception to Jan 14, 2021). Included studies were observational studies of human participants comparing the association of high-potency cannabis (products with a higher concentration of THC) and low-potency cannabis (products with a lower concentration of THC), as defined by the studies included, with depression, anxiety, psychosis, or cannabis use disorder (CUD).
Of 4171 articles screened, 20 met the eligibility criteria:
- eight studies focused on psychosis,
- eight on anxiety,
- seven on depression,
- and six on CUD.
Overall, higher potency cannabis, relative to lower potency cannabis, was associated with an increased risk of psychosis and CUD. Evidence varied for depression and anxiety. The association of cannabis potency with CUD and psychosis highlights its relevance in healthcare settings, and for public health guidelines and policies on cannabis sales.
The authors concluded that standardisation of exposure measures and longitudinal designs are needed to strengthen the evidence of this association.
The fact that cannabis use increases the risk of psychosis has long been general knowledge. The notion that the risk increases with increased potency of cannabis seems entirely logical and is further supported by this systematic review. Perhaps it is time to educate the public and make cannabis users more aware of these risks, and perhaps it is time that SCAM proponents negate the harm cannabis can do.
The ‘My Resilience in Adolescence (MYRIAD) Trial’evaluated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of SBMT compared with teaching-as-usual (TAU).
MYRIAD was a parallel group, cluster-randomised controlled trial. Eighty-five eligible schools consented and were randomized 1:1 to TAU (43 schools, 4232 students) or SBMT (42 schools, 4144 students), stratified by school size, quality, type, deprivation, and region. Schools and students (mean (SD); age range=12.2 (0.6); 11–14 years) were broadly UK population-representative. Forty-three schools (n=3678 pupils; 86.9%) delivering SBMT, and 41 schools (n=3572; 86.2%) delivering TAU, provided primary end-point data. SBMT comprised 10 lessons of psychoeducation and mindfulness practices. TAU comprised standard social-emotional teaching. Participant-level risk for depression, social-emotional-behavioural functioning and well-being at 1 year follow-up were the co-primary outcomes. Secondary and economic outcomes were included.
An analysis of the data from 84 schools (n=8376 participants) found no evidence that SBMT was superior to TAU at 1 year. Standardised mean differences (intervention minus control) were: 0.005 (95% CI −0.05 to 0.06) for risk for depression; 0.02 (−0.02 to 0.07) for social-emotional-behavioural functioning; and 0.02 (−0.03 to 0.07) for well-being. SBMT had a high probability of cost-effectiveness (83%) at a willingness-to-pay threshold of £20 000 per quality-adjusted life year. No intervention-related adverse events were observed.
The authors concluded that the findings do not support the superiority of SBMT over TAU in promoting mental health in adolescence.
Even though the results are negative, MYRIAD must be praised for its scale and rigor, and for highlighting the importance of large, well-designed studies before implementing measures of this kind on a population basis. Co-author Tim Dalgliesh, director of the Cambridge Centre for Affective Disorders, said: “For policymakers, it’s not just about coming up with a great intervention to teach young people skills to deal with their stress. You also have to think about where that stress is coming from in the first place.”
“There had been some hope for an easy solution, especially for those who might develop depression,” says Til Wykes, head of the School of Mental Health and Psychological Sciences at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King’s College London. “There may be lots of reasons for developing depression, and these are probably not helped by mindfulness,” she says. “We need more research on other potential factors that might be modified, and perhaps this would provide a more targeted solution to this problem.”
Personally, I feel that mindfulness has been hyped in recent years. Much of the research that seemed to support it was less than rigorous. What is now needed is a realistic approach based on sound evidence and critical thinking.
HISC (HOMEOPATHY IN THE SUSSEX COMMUNITY) was formed in 2011 and has established effective partnerships with organisations that support those in need. Projects include working with domestic and sexual violence charities as well as supporting people recovering from long-term and enduring mental health illness issues. They enable vulnerable and marginalised members of the Sussex community to access low cost treatment with highly experienced homeopaths.
On 22 July, HISC made the following announcement:
Homeopathy in the Sussex Community (HISC) has been awarded a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund to provide homeopathy to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.
HISC works in partnership with Sussex-based organisations; RISE, and Survivors Network, offering long-term and low-cost homeopathic support to women who have experienced abuse and sexual violence.
This grant will fund these projects for the next year, allowing HISC to build on the valuable work already being done and reaching even more vulnerable women who want access to homeopathic support.
Society Fellow Caroline Jurdon and Registered members Michael Bird, Therese Eriksen, Tara Lavelle and Jo Magowan have all worked on the project with colleagues from the wider community. HISC received one of the Society of Homeopath’s Community Clinic awards in 2018.
HISC also offer volunteering and sitting in opportunities for students.
The ‘National Lottery Community Fund’ make the following points on their website:
- “Our funding is public money. This means that it cannot be used to give organisations an unlawful advantage.”
- “We fund projects that support people and communities across the UK to thrive.”
I would argue that, for the following reasons, the award is misplaced:
- Public money should not be wasted. It must be invested in projects that have a reasonable chance to do more good than harm.
- A broad consensus exists today that homeopathy has no effect beyond placebo. In fact, the NHS has stopped funding homeopathy and states that “there’s been extensive investigation of the effectiveness of homeopathy. There’s no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition.”
- Homeopathy can endanger lives. If people are misled into believing that it is effective and thus treat serious conditions with homeopathy, they needlessly prolong their suffering or, in the worst case scenario, hasten their death. Awards of the above nature can undoubtedly have this effect.
In my view, this means that the award given to HISC by the National Lottery Community Fund gives an unlawful advantage to an organisation promoting a bogus therapy. At best, it is a waste of public funds, at worst it causes serious harm.
Surely, women who have experienced abuse and sexual violence deserve better!
I recently looked at the list of best-sellers in homeopathy on Amazon. To my surprise, there were several books that were specifically focused on the homeopathic treatment of children. Since we had, several years ago, published a systematic review of this subject, these books interested me. Here is what Amazon tells us about them:
Homeopathic remedies are increasingly being used to treat common childhood ailments. They are safe, have no side effects or allergic reactions, are inexpensive and, above all, effective. In this guide, Dana Ullman explains what homeopathy is, how it works and how you can use it correctly to enhance your child’s health. He recommends remedies for more than 75 physical and emotional conditions, including: allergies, grief, anxiety, headaches, asthma, measles, bedwetting, nappy rash, bites and stings, shock, burns, sunburn, colic, teething, coughs and colds and travel sickness
Without doubt, this is the most comprehensive book on homeopathic pediatrics. Included is a complete guide to the correct use of homeopathy, recommended remedies for the treatment of more than seventy-five common physical, emotional, and behavioral conditions, and valuable information on the essential medicines that all parents should have in their home medicine kits
Tricia Allen, a qualified homeopath, offers a host of practical advice on how to treat illness using natural, homeopathic remedies. Homeopathy differs from conventional medicine in that it does not only alleviate the individual symptoms of an illness, but treats the underlying state to ensure that the disease does not return, something which rarely occurs when using traditional remedies. This guide gives you advice on; what homeopathy is and how to use it; each stage of childhood and how to deal with the complaints that occur at that time of a child’s development; the most common childhood illnesses, how to take your own steps to treating them, which homeopathic remedies to use and when to seek medical help and first aid.
The Homeopathic Treatment of Children is indispensible at giving both a clear overall impression of the various major constitutional types, and also a detailed outline for reference at the end of each chapter. Not only does Paul Herscu draw from various sources (repertories and materia medica), he also adds indispensable original information from his successful practice.
The fact that such books exist is perhaps not all that surprising. Yet, I do find the fact that they are among the best-selling books on homeopathy surprising – or to be more precise, I find it concerning.
Simple: children cannot give informed consent to the treatments they receive. Thus, consent is given for them by their parents or (I suspect often) not at all. This renders homeopathic treatment of children more problematic than that of fully competent adults.
Homeopathy has not been shown to be effective for any pediatric condition. I know Dana Ullman disagrees and claims it works for children’s allergies, grief, anxiety, headaches, asthma, measles, bedwetting, nappy rash, bites and stings, shock, burns, sunburn, colic, teething, coughs and colds, and travel sickness. Yet, these claims are not based on anything faintly resembling sound evidence! Our above-mentioned systematic review reached the following conclusion: “The evidence from rigorous clinical trials of any type of therapeutic or preventive intervention testing homeopathy for childhood and adolescence ailments is not convincing enough for recommendations in any condition.”
And what follows from this state of affairs?
I am afraid it is this:
Treating sick children with homeopathy amounts to child abuse.
Given the high prevalence of burdensome symptoms in palliative care (PC) and the increasing use of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) therapies, research is needed to determine how often and what types of SCAM therapies providers recommend to manage symptoms in PC.
This survey documented recommendation rates of SCAM for target symptoms and assessed if, SCAM use varies by provider characteristics. The investigators conducted US nationwide surveys of MDs, DOs, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners working in PC.
Participants (N = 404) were mostly female (71.3%), MDs/DOs (74.9%), and cared for adults (90.4%). Providers recommended SCAM an average of 6.8 times per month (95% CI: 6.0-7.6) and used an average of 5.1 (95% CI: 4.9-5.3) out of 10 listed SCAM modalities. Respondents recommended mostly:
- mind-body medicines (e.g., meditation, biofeedback),
The most targeted symptoms included:
- mood disturbances,
Recommendation frequencies for specific modality-for-symptom combinations ranged from little use (e.g. aromatherapy for constipation) to occasional use (e.g. mind-body interventions for psychiatric symptoms). Finally, recommendation rates increased as a function of pediatric practice, noninpatient practice setting, provider age, and proportion of effort spent delivering palliative care.
The authors concluded that to the best of our knowledge, this is the first national survey to characterize PC providers’ SCAM recommendation behaviors and assess specific therapies and common target symptoms. Providers recommended a broad range of SCAM but do so less frequently than patients report using SCAM. These findings should be of interest to any provider caring for patients with serious illness.
Initially, one might feel encouraged by these data. Mind-body therapies are indeed supported by reasonably sound evidence for the symptoms listed. The evidence is, however, not convincing for many other forms of SCAM, in particular massage or acupuncture/acupressure. So encouragement is quickly followed by disappointment.
Some people might say that in PC one must not insist on good evidence: if the patient wants it, why not? But the point is that there are several forms of SCAMs that are backed by good evidence for use in PC. So, why not follow the evidence and use those? It seems to me that it is not in the patients’ best interest to disregard the evidence in medicine – and this, of course, includes PC.
There are many patients in general practice with health complaints that cannot be medically explained. Some of these patients attribute their problems to dental amalgam.
This study examined the cost-effectiveness of the removal of amalgam fillings in patients with medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS) attributed to amalgam compared to usual care, based on a prospective cohort study in Norway.
Costs were determined using a micro-costing approach at the individual level. Health outcomes were documented at baseline and approximately two years later for both the intervention and the usual care using EQ-5D-5L. Quality-adjusted life year (QALY) was used as the main outcome measure. A decision analytical model was developed to estimate the incremental cost-effectiveness of the intervention. Both probabilistic and one-way sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess the impact of uncertainty on costs and effectiveness.
In patients who attributed health complaints to dental amalgam and fulfilled the inclusion and exclusion criteria, amalgam removal was associated with a modest increase in costs at the societal level as well as improved health outcomes. In the base-case analysis, the mean incremental cost per patient in the amalgam group was NOK 19 416 compared to the MUPS group, while the mean incremental QALY was 0.119 with a time horizon of two years. Thus, the incremental costs per QALY of the intervention were NOK 162 680, which is usually considered to be cost-effective in Norway. The estimated incremental cost per QALY decreased with increasing time horizons, and amalgam removal was found to be cost-saving over both 5 and 10 years.
The authors concluded that this study provides insight into the costs and health outcomes associated with the removal of amalgam restorations in patients who attribute health complaints to dental amalgam fillings, which are appropriate instruments to inform health care priorities.
The group sizes were 32 and 28 respectively. This study was thus almost laughably small and therefore cannot lead to firm conclusions of any type. In this contest, a recent systematic review might be relevant; it concluded as follows:
On the basis of the available RCTs, amalgam restorations, if compared with resin-based fillings, do not show an increased risk for systemic diseases. There is still insufficient evidence to exclude or demonstrate any direct influence on general health. The removal of old amalgam restorations and their substitution with more modern adhesive restorations should be performed only when clinically necessary and not just for material concerns. In order to better evaluate the safety of dental amalgam compared to other more modern restorative materials, further RCTs that consider important parameters such as long and uniform follow up periods, number of restorations per patient, and sample populations representative of chronic or degenerative diseases are needed.
Similarly, a review of the evidence might be informative:
Since more than 100 years amalgam is successfully used for the functional restoration of decayed teeth. During the early 1990s the use of amalgam has been discredited by a not very objective discussion about small amounts of quicksilver that can evaporate from the material. Recent studies and reviews, however, found little to no correlation between systemic or local diseases and amalgam restorations in man. Allergic reactions are extremely rare. Most quicksilver evaporates during placement and removal of amalgam restorations. Hence it is not recommended to make extensive rehabilitations with amalgam in pregnant or nursing women. To date, there is no dental material, which can fully substitute amalgam as a restorative material. According to present scientific evidence the use of amalgam is not a health hazard.
Furthermore, there is evidence that the removal of amalgam fillings is not such a good idea. One study, for instance, showed that the mercury released by the physical action of the drill, the replacement material and especially the final destination of the amalgam waste can increase contamination levels that can be a risk for human and environment health.
As dental amalgam removal does not seem risk-free, it is perhaps unwise to remove these fillings at all. Patients who are convinced that their amalgam fillings make them ill might simply benefit from assurance. After all, we also do not re-lay electric cables because some people feel they are the cause of their ill-health.
You haven’t heard of religious/spiritual singing and movement as a treatment for mental health?
But it does exist. This review explored the evidence of religious/spiritual (R/S) singing and R/S movement (dynamic meditation and praise dance), in relation to mental health outcomes.
After registering with PROSPERO (CRD42020189495), a systematic search of three major databases (CINAHL, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO) was undertaken using predetermined eligibility criteria. Reference lists of identified papers and additional sources such as Google Scholar were searched. The quality of studies was assessed using the Mixed Method Appraisal Tool (MMAT). Data were extracted, tabulated, and synthesized according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) guidelines.
Seven of the 259 identified articles met inclusion criteria. Three studies considered R/S singing, while four considered R/S movement. In R/S movements, three studies considered dynamic meditation while one investigated praise dance. Although moderate to poor in quality, included studies indicated a positive trend for the effectiveness of R/S singing and movement in dealing with mental health concerns.
The authors concluded that, while R/S singing and R/S movement (praise dance and dynamic meditation) may be of value as mental health strategies, findings of the review need to be considered with caution due to methodological constraints. The limited number and poor quality of included studies highlight the need for further quality research in these R/S practices in mental health.
I am glad the authors caution us not to take their findings seriously. To be honest, I was not in danger of making this mistake. Neither do I feel the need for further research in this area. Mental health is a serious issue, and personally, I think we should research it not by conducting ridiculous studies of implausible modalities.
I do not doubt that the experience of singing or movement can help in certain situations. However, I have my doubts about religious/spiritual singing and movement therapy.
The present study investigated the impact of a purposefully designed Islamic religion-based intervention on reducing depression and anxiety disorders among Muslim patients using a randomised controlled trial design. A total of 62 Muslim patients (30 women and 32 men) were divided by gender into two groups, with each group assigned randomly to either treatment or control groups. The participants who received the Islamic-based intervention were compared to participants who received the control intervention.
The Islamic-Based Intervention that was applied to the two experimental groups (i.e. one male, one female) has several components. These components were based on moral and religious concepts and methods, including moral confession, repentance, insight, learning, supplication, seeking Allah’s mercy, seeking forgiveness, remembrance of Allah, patience, trust in Allah, self-consciousness, piety, spiritual values, and moral principles. The techniques implemented in the intervention included the art of asking questions, clarifying, listening, interacting, summarising, persuading, feedback, empathy, training practice, reflecting feelings, discussion, and dialogue, lecturing, brainstorming, reinforcement, modeling, positive self-talk, evaluation, homework, practical applications, activation games (play through activities), emotional venting, stories, presentation, correction of thoughts, and relaxation. The two control groups (i.e. one male, one female) received the energy path program provided by the Al-Nour Centre. This program aimed to enhance self-confidence and modify people’s behavior with anxiety disorders, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Both interventions comprised 30 sessions over 30 h; two sessions were conducted per week, and each session lasted for 60 min (one hour). The duration of the intervention was 15 weeks.
Taylor’s manifest anxiety scale and Steer and Beck’s depression scale were used for examining the effects on depression and anxiety levels. The results revealed that the Islamic intervention significantly reduced anxiety levels in women and depression levels in men compared to the typical care control groups.
The authors concluded that religious intervention played a vital role in lowering the patients’ level of anxiety among women and depression among men. In general, religious practices prevent individuals from becoming subject to mental disorders, i.e. anxiety and depression.
The authors comment that the Islamic religion-based intervention (RSAFI) significantly reduced the levels of depression and anxiety among the participants. Also, there was a substantial improvement in the patients’ general health after the intervention. They were satisfied and believed that everything happening to them was destined by Allah. These results could be attributed to the different intervention practices that relied on the guidance of the Holy Quran and Sunnah. For instance, Saged et al. (2020) confirmed that the Holy Quran significantly impacts healing patients who suffer from physical, psychological, and mental disorders. In this respect, Moodley et al. (2018) concluded that having faith in Allah offers a relatively quick approach to healing patients suffering from heartache and depression. This goes hand in hand because the recitation of the Quran and remembrance of Allah help patients feel relaxed and peaceful. Muslims believe that the Quran is the word of Allah and that Allah’s words exert a significant impact on the healing of mental health patients, as, ultimately, Almighty Allah is the one who cures illnesses.
When discussing the limitations of their study, the authors state that the sample of this study was limited to the patients with anxiety and depression disorders at the Al-Nour Centre in Kuala Lumpur, so the results cannot be generalized to other samples. Furthermore, the treatment of anxiety was restricted to females, whereas the treatment of depression was restricted to males. Additionally, the selection of females and males as samples for the study was based on their pre-measurement of anxiety and depression, which serve as self-report measures.
The authors seem to be unconcerned about the fact that the 2 interventions (verum and control) were clearly distinguishable and their patients thus were not blinded (and neither were the evaluators). This obviously means that the observed effect might have nothing at all to do with the Islamic-Based Intervention but could be entirely due to expectation and persuasion.
Why might the authors not even bother to discuss such an obvious possibility?
A look at their affiliations might provide the answer:
- 1Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- 3Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Johor, Malaysia.
- 4Faculty of Education, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
- 5Islamic Banking and Finance, International Islamic University Malaysia, Selangor, Malaysia.
- 6Department of Hadith and Associated Sciences, Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Yes, the fear of nuclear radiation has gripped the minds of many consumers. And who would blame them? We are all frightened of Putin’s next move. There is plenty of uncertainty. But, let me assure you, there is one certainty:
Homeopathy does not help against the effects of nuclear radiation.
But this indisputable fact has never stopped a homeopath.
Many of them are currently trying to persuade us that homeopathy can protect us. Here, for example, is something I found on Twitter:
But there is more, much more. If you go on the Internet, you find dozens of websites making wild claims. Here is just one example:
Homeopathic remedies as a preventive for adults
To be taken on an annual or bi-annual basis:
Week 1: Carcinosin in CM potency
Week 2: Radium Bromide in CM potency
Week 3: Carcinosin in CM potency
Week 4: Radium Bromide in CM potency
Week 5: Carcinosin in CM potency
Week 6: Radium Bromide in CM potency
Homeopathic remedies as a preventive for children (13 years old)
To be taken on an annual or bi-annual basis:
Week 1: Carcinosin in 1000 potency
Week 2: Radium Bromide in 1000 potency
Week 3: Carcinosin in 1000 potency
Week 4: Radium Bromide in 1000 potency
Week 5: Carcinosin in 1000 potency
Week 6: Radium Bromide in 1000 potency.