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Medical Resource A List of Alternative Medicine

Aug 17, 2007
A list of some of the alternative medicine practices you're likely to encounter in the United States. Some of these are considered border-line acceptable even in the professional medical field, and many understand that this is unfortunate. Mostly these are just scams, quackery, and nonsense, which unfortunately gullible people believe in if they are desperate and grasping at false hope. Keep your eyes peeled for any of these, and be prepared to stamp out the harmful ones.

Applied Kinesiology
Applied kinesiology is the term most commonly used to identify a pseudo-scientific system of muscle-testing. It was initiated in 1964 by one George J. Goodheart, Jr., D.C., and has become quite elaborate. Its basic notion is that every organ dysfunction is accompanied by specific muscle weaknesses, which enable diseases to be diagnosed through muscle-testing procedures. Most practitioners are chiropractors, but naturopaths, bogus nutritionists, massage therapists, nurse practitioners, and multilevel distributors such as Nature's Sunshine are also sometimes involved.

Aromatherapy is described by its proponents as the therapeutic use of the essential oils of plants. The word 'essential' doesn't refer to nutritional value but to the volatile, aromatic components that are the supposed essence of the plant. Essential oils are said to be highly concentrated substances extracted from the flowers, leaves, stalks, fruits, and roots, and also distilled from resins of the plant. They are alleged to contain hormones, vitamins, antibiotics, and antiseptics and to represent the "life force," "spirit," or "soul" of the plant. The oils are administered in small, holistic quantities through inhalation, massage, or other applications to the skin. The products include a wide range of products such as diffusers, lamps, pottery, candles, pendants, earrings, shampoos, skin creams, lotions, and bath salts, and shower gels.

Subliminal Tapes
Thousands of videotapes and audiotapes purported to contain hidden repeated messages are being marketed with claims that they can help people to lose weight, stop smoking, enhance athletic performance, quit drinking, think creatively, raise their IQ, make friends, reduce pain, improve vision, restore hearing, cure acne, conquer fears, read faster, speak effectively, handle criticism, relieve depression, enlarge breasts, and do just about anything else. At least one company has offered a subliminal tape for children; a toilet-training tape for toddlers. Many tapes contain music said to promote relaxation, and all are claimed to contain messages that are inaudible or barely audible. Videotapes have the same concept; they may feature images, said to be relaxing, combined with repeated visual messages shown so briefly that they cannot be seen at normal playing speeds.

Body Wrapping
Salons and spas exist where clients supposedly can trim inches off the waist, hips, and thighs. These facilities use wraps or garments with or without special lotions or creams applied to the skin for their treatment. The garments may be applied to parts of the body or the entire body. Clients are assured that fat will "melt away" and they can lose several inches from the problem area. Some claim that wrapping works because cellulite is water-logged fatty tissue.

Ear Candling
Ear candling, also known as auricular candling or coning, refers to various procedures that involve placing a cone-shaped device in the ear canal and supposedly extracting earwax and other impurities with the help of smoke or a burning wick like a candle. The origins of this candling are obscure. Ancient Tibet, China, Egypt, the pre-Columbian Americas, and even the mythical city of Atlantis are cited as possible origins. The procedures supposedly create a low-level vacuum that draws wax and other debris out of the ear canal along with whatever the ailment is. Some proponents even claim that impurities are removed from the brain itself, which is somehow connected to the canal.

Coral Calcium
Coral calcium is alleged to be a dietary supplement said derived from "remnants of living coral that have fallen from coral reefs, as a result of wave action or other natural processes." It is also said to be mined from the old ocean beds at the base of the coral reefs in Okinawa, Japan. Actually, these "coral remnants" are limestone, which coral organisms originally manufacture as a protective shell. Since coral reefs are protected by the law, "coral calcium" is made by grinding up limestone that no longer contains any live organisms.

The Feingold Diet
Started in 1973, "Dr." Benjamin Feingold, a pediatric allergist from California, proposed that artificial colors and flavors in food caused hyperactivity in children. To treat or prevent this condition, Feingold suggested a diet that was free of such chemicals, claiming that in addition to 'hyperactivity' it could also cure asthma, bedwetting, ear infections, eye-muscle disorders, seizures, sleep disorders, stomach aches, and a long list of other symptoms that supposedly respond to the Feingold program. It is also claimed that sensitivity to synthetic additives and salicylates may be a factor in antisocial traits, compulsive aggression, self-mutilation, difficulty in reasoning, stuttering, and exceptional clumsiness. The "Symptom Checklist" on the Feingold Association web site includes many additional problems. Mr. Feingold has since been revealed to have never gone to medical school and is currently serving time for child pornography charges.

Gerson Method
The proponents of the Gerson diet claim that cancer can be cured only by way of toxins being eliminated from the body. They recommend "detoxification" with frequent coffee enemas and a low-sodium diet that includes more than a gallon per day of juices made from fruits, vegetables, and raw calf's liver. This method was developed by Max Gerson, a German-born physician who emigrated to America in 1936 and practiced in New York City until his death in 1959.
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