human body Popular Alternative Therapies That Are Nonsense

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No matter how many real diseases there are, with real doctors treating them and real researchers developing real cures for them, there will always be medical quackery. it seems that alternative medicine is the latest in this trend, with plenty of trendy "cures" and "cleanses" designed to give users a quick and easy path to total wellness and a perfect chi. The only problem? There's very little science behind these mythical cures. Which alternative therapies are just plain nonsense?

People in search of easy answers to difficult problems run headlong into scam artists and sham healers looking for their next mark. Through gibberish sciency-sounding terms, appeals to ancient wisdom, sleight-of-hand, and outright lying, these quacks prey on the sick, the searching, and the desperate. They generate billions of dollars in doing so, no matter how many lives their "medicine" costs.

These are the popular, yet almost completely fraudulent, alternative medicine forms of "healing" the proof behind why they just don't work. Sadly, these are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, with dozens of other sham therapies and dangerous, unproven treatments out there - and more thought up every day. These health fads might be all the rage, but they certainly won't cure you of anything, and might even be harmful instead.

Read on to learn about the science behind these alternative medicine practices and stay informed - when in doubt, ask a doctor!

Herbal Womb Detox Pearls


Herbal Womb Detox Pearls is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Popular Alternative Therapies That Are Nonsense
Photo:  uploaded by Mike Rothschild
WHAT THEY ARE:
 Small bags of an herbal tea-like concoction that ladies can insert into their...womb...to cure a variety of ailments, "flush out toxins" and "tighten the vagina."
 
WHY THEY DON'T WORK:
First, the psuedoscientific definition of "toxins" is nonsense, as is the notion of flushing them out. Your body already has perfectly functioning systems to flush out toxins, and you use them every time you go to the bathroom. Beyond that, inserting herbs or anything into your vagina is extremely dangerous, and you risk toxic shock syndrome by doing so.

Finally, the pearls are really expensive - costing as much as $480 for a two month supply. Save your money, don't fall for the "toxins" sales pitch., and if you want to put tea in your body, drink a cup of it.

Detoxifying Foot Pads


Detoxifying Foot Pads is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Popular Alternative Therapies That Are Nonsense
Photo:  uploaded by Mike Rothschild
WHAT THEY ARE:
Adhesive pads the wearer puts on the soles of his or her feet that supposedly draw toxins out of the body. The pads turn dark, indicating the toxins that were once in the body. Supposedly, Japanese people have used them for hundreds of years and are all in perfect health.

WHY THEY DON’T WORK
Putting aside the fact that the alternative medicine definition of “toxins” is bogus, detox footpads turn a darker color for one reason: their active ingredient is powdered wood vinegar. In its normal liquid state, this is dark brown or black, but in its powdered form, it’s colorless. Contact with perspiration from your foot liquefies the wood vinegar, and the dark liquid turns the pad dark. This is as basic as science gets.

Bach Flower Remedies


Bach Flower Remedies is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Popular Alternative Therapies That Are Nonsense
Photo:  uploaded by Mike Rothschild
WHAT THEY ARE:
A homeopathic form of aromatherapy based on distilling the essence of certain wild flowers. The goal is to transfer the “spiritual energy” of the flowers into water, which the user drinks in a solution of brandy and mineral water.

WHY THEY DON’T WORK
:
A fairly mild and old-timey type of energy therapy, Bach flowers were much more popular in the '30s and '40s. But they still have their devotees today, and can be purchased through a variety of questionable Internet sources, usually for much more than they’re actually worth. They were also recommended as a form of healing by Dr. Oz, despite no clinical trials proving them to be any more effective than a placebo.

Ionithermie


Ionithermie is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Popular Alternative Therapies That Are Nonsense
Photo:  uploaded by Mike Rothschild
WHAT IT IS:
A popular new treatment in spas and on cruise ships, this is an algae or seaweed infused clay that, when heated to super-hot temperatures, supposedly melts cellulite off, taking awful toxins with it.

WHY IT DOESN’T WORK:
Spa treatments and cruise ship stress relievers are great. They relax you, take a mental load off and genuinely feel good. In the case of ionithermie, it’s true that there is a slimming effect with it, simply because wrapping any part of the body in hot material for an hour will shrink that part of your body in diameter. And the heat might also temporarily give you smoother skin.

But they don’t “melt toxins” because such a thing isn’t real. Any possible positive effects wear off after a while, leaving you in need of another good spa day.

Bowel Cleansing


Bowel Cleansing is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Popular Alternative Therapies That Are Nonsense
Photo:  uploaded by Mike Rothschild
WHAT IT IS:
Taking special pills or herbs to help clean out your colon, ridding yourself of toxins, undigested food, and mysterious “mucoid plaque” gumming up your inner workings.

WHY IT DOESN’T WORK
:
This is a mixture of pseudo-scientific concepts, none of which have any validity. Toxins, at least in the alternative medicine sense, aren’t real. While numerous practitioners rail against the ills caused by mucoid plaque, it doesn’t actually exist and nobody has ever identified what it is or how it comes to be. And cleansing is a bogus process in the first place.

And yet… if you Google “colon cleanse” you’ll see things. Things you can’t unsee. They’re the supposed benefits of colon cleansing, and they’re exactly what you think they are: long, thick, rubbery, snake-like curls of poop, placed on toilet seats and sitting next to rulers.

You see, people who take these pills DO have great big, gigantic bowel movements. And to prove they were caused by the cleanse, they take pictures and boast of their great mucoid plaque purges.

So what are these monster craps, if not toxins? They’re caused by the very pills you take for the cleanse. These pills are full of the expanding clay bentonite, which grows in size when exposed to water. This goop mixes with whatever was already in your bowels, and there you go: a huge log of mucoid plaque caused by the very pill you took to get rid of the mucoid plaque. It's a heck of a scam.

Cupping


Cupping is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Popular Alternative Therapies That Are Nonsense
Photo:  uploaded by Mike Rothschild
WHAT IT IS:
Heating glass bowls that you then put on the skin to bruise it, drawing toxins out.

WHY IT DOESN’T WORK:
This has become a popular alternative therapy among celebrities and in big cities. Indeed, spend enough time around such treatment places and you’re bound to see folks walking around with a line of large, perfect circle bruises on the backs of their legs. Sadly, these people have injured themselves for nothing, because alt medicine toxins aren’t real. Cupping has never been studied as a treatment, and the fact that it was supposedly also performed in ancient China and Greece doesn’t mean it’s a legitimate therapy.

Causing pain to draw bad spirits out of the body didn’t work back in the Good Old Days, when barber surgeons had another name for it: bloodletting.

Juice Fasting


Juice Fasting is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Popular Alternative Therapies That Are Nonsense
Photo:  uploaded by Mike Rothschild
WHAT IT IS:
Cleaning out your digestive system and losing weight through several days of consuming nothing but either homemade or purchased juices.

WHY IT DOESN’T WORK:
Sold in a mind boggling array of brands, flavors, and methods, all superfruit juices and juice fasts come down to the same principle: losing weight and restoring balance to the immune system through ridding the body of the gunk you’ve accumulated by eating processed, unhealthy food.

The problem is that you’ve already got a perfectly fine way of doing this: going to the bathroom. Your liver and kidneys do everything a juice cleanse supposedly does, but free of charge and (actually) all natural. There’s no compelling evidence that juicing cures anyone of anything, and it neither increases your energy level nor your brain function. Just the opposite, in fact. And while it does cause temporary (and sometimes drastic) weight loss, this is because you’re not eating anything while you do it. Go back to normal food, even healthy food, and the weight will come back - sometimes more than you lost.

What you’ll also lose is money. Juicers spend north of $60 billion a year on juice cleanses and their ancillary products, with individual rounds of cleanses costing hundreds of dollars – much more than you’d spend at the grocery store on healthy food.

Salt Caves


Salt Caves is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Popular Alternative Therapies That Are Nonsense
Photo:  uploaded by Mike Rothschild
WHAT THEY ARE:
Also known as halotherapy, this is the practice of sitting in a room designed to imitate an underground, warm, salt-permeated environment. You relax, breathe deeply, and let the healing powers of the salt fumes enter your body.

WHY THEY DON’T WORK:
Salt caves do work on a certain level. Like many spa and relaxation-oriented alternative therapies, they provide a warm and quiet way to de-stress and get away from the chaos of modern life. This is important and good for you.

However, that’s all they do. There’s no detoxifiying or healing property that comes with sitting in a salt cave, despite a number of Russian studies that say there is. Russia is home to a number of natural salt caves, and it’s only right that the creators of this therapy would defend their work in scientific journals. Sadly for the salt caves of Russia, these studies aren’t randomized and have never been published in a legitimate, English-language journal. They’ve also never been repeated, a vital element of a good scientific study.

In fact, there’s some evidence that salt caves might be harmful to those with asthma, as salt can irritate the lungs. Any beneficial effects of salt cave therapy other than relaxation should be taken with… you know.