Is anyone here a fan of any of these (acupuncture, homeopathy, etc) or think there is a single one that holds any merit?    My SIL is a Reiki practitioner.    I can all but not laugh out loud when she shows me her hand waving and listen to the bull shit about the energy around us and how one can learn to manipulate it with some hand motions and thoughts and symbols.  I  cannot believe she charges people for this.    She's really a nice person, albeit gullible and truly doesn't feel she's ripping anybody off.   She really and truly believes in this crap with all her heart.    And she paid good money to take classes, so she's victim of the rip off as well and I feel bad telling her how I think she's a fool.

It's a bit hard to be polite and not laugh in her face, but she knows how I feel and just thinks I'm the misguided one, lol.   Still, its amazing people can go for this junk science. 

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Jo, you seem to be implying that alternate therapies have not been studied.

What I'm implying is that some likely have, some probably haven't. More often than not, when I read an article saying "Studies show..." I rarely see a citation or link to that study. I have however heard a lot of "I and my skeptic buddies went, laughing about the silliness of it all, and lo and behold it didn't work, so it's all a sham." That isn't a study. Or how one homeopathic remedy doesn't work, therefore all "Alternative" remedies don't work. Really? Someone has searched out and double-blind studied every single thing on the shelf?

Plus, the fact that in our society, money talks. When the entities doing the studying make money off treatment A, and stand to make nothing off treatment B, I automatically question how unbiased their study really is.

I'm also agreeing that shrouding in woo doesn't help. In fact, a lot of legitimate treatments/supplements get pooh-poohed because they're associated with the woo crowd. Legit treatments I've had recommended to me by western doctors include Fish Oil for heart health, St. John's Wort for mild depression, Green Tea and Yogurt for their antioxidant/antibacterial properties, organic foods as generally healthier than non-organic, and shiatsu massage. I've also seen all of these dismissed by Atheists and Skeptics as being New Agey, therefore useless.

I think another problem besides being shrouded in woo is when people take it to an extreme. "I'm morbidly obese, never exercise, and live on oreo cookies ... but I take fish oil so I'll never have heart problems." Or "I'm not taking my kid to a doctor for his ear infection; I'm taking him to the lady at the health food store." That's when it becomes dangerous; when it's pedaled as THE end all, beat all cure. As with any medical treatment, they work together with other factors.
I thought that St. John's Wort has been discredited? I know that echinacea was.

I don't know if cold-eeze has been discredited, but it works for me. It is labeled homeopathic but I don't see how it is, because it's not based on some diluted poison.

I agree some foods are helpful for some conditions. Even doctors have advised things like yogurt, cranberry juice, then prescribed medicine if they didn't work. Sometimes they get lumped in with things that don't do anything, like lavender as a sleep aid.
Jo: the "appeal to ancientness" is probably just as common as the "everything modern is better" if not more so. Other things that have an appeal based on ancientness: the Bible and Biblical law, "traditional" values, etc.

The West has never claimed to have all the answers medically. This sounds a lot like theists saying "you scientists think you have all the answers!" Um, no, they specifically admit when they don't know something. Alternative medicine is more likely to make statements of divine wisdom.

Of course the West hasn't discovered everything there is to know about medicine, but it is presumptuous to characterize being against alternative medicine as racism. For one thing, the "West" has had plenty of its own quackery: leeches, bloodletting, witchcraft, phrenology, astrology, suction cup treatments (apparently my great-grandparents used those). Also, there are lots of "brown-skinned people" who have excelled in "Western" medicine.
Lorien: I am surprised at some of the atheists on here. They sure are not demonstrating skepticism.

There is a disturbing trend in wealthy countries of atavistic yearning for the mythical "good old days'. It is little more than crude ludditism, a desire for simpler, back-to-nature lifestyle. It may be simpler, but good only if you consider dying of old age at 35 or from childbirth to be good. That's what all this mumbo-jumbo is, retrograde dumbness born of technophobia. M. Lamar Keene expressed this very neatly -

there is a peculiar mythology about paranormal claims and science that colors every debate on the subject. Proponents of paranormal claims frequently present themselves as heretics whose unconventional views and disconcerting data threatens to overturn all of established science; and that’s why, they claim, science refuses to acknowledge this data. Strangely, most of the unconventional ‘Heresies’ are old orthodoxies (Creationism, astrology, the powers of prophets and seers, some aspects of herbalists’ claims, tarot cards, the existence of ghosts, etc.) that were overturned by the heretics of science. In this sense, many pro-paranormalists seem not only somewhat conservative, upset at how science threatens conventional beliefs, but can legitimately be termed reactionaries, demanding that progress and change not only be halted, but reversed.
Hasn't this trend been around in various forms since just shortly after the Industrial Revolution?

Great quote.
“By definition”, I begin
“Alternative Medicine”, I continue
“Has either not been proved to work,
Or been proved not to work.
You know what they call “alternative medicine”
That’s been proved to work?
Medicine.”


(From Storm by Tim Minchin)
Storm... that was a good one. Minchin is a trip!
Ok, now I definitely have to listen to this. Thanks for the text!
When I was about eleven and rolling around on usenet newsgroups I spent a lot of time talking to reiki practitioners on 'other-kin' groups. Silly people. "Look at me, 'm an elf! Oh, let me heal you with my magics!"


Sorry that wasn't pertinent, just dredged up some decade and a half old memories. lol
I forget... do furries count as Otherkin?

All of these "alternative medicine" techniques have been know for decades. If any of them actually worked, they would be called medicine... at least that's what I tell people who try to shovel that horsesh*t on me : )
All of these "alternative medicine" techniques have been know for decades. If any of them actually worked, they would be called medicine...

Or in some cases, social bias prevents a medicine from being called medicine. After all, a big part of the Witch scare of the Dark Ages was fear of midwives and healers .. people who turned out to often be using genuine cures (aspirin, opiates, other natural antibiotics and the like). But those 'cures' were not understood by the Church and thus seen as the devil's work. Plus, how dare a woman know something that a man doesn't.

Not so long ago Psychology was 'alternative medicine.' Therapeutic massage is now covered by some insurance companies. I remember having to find the most obscure hippie health food store in town to find St. John's Wort. Now it's widely available and generally recognized as being as effective as Prozac in some people.

It takes a long time for a medicine, stubbornly dismissed by the generation who staked their careers on calling it voodoo, to be finally and fairly tested by the next generation.

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