Posts Tagged Pseudomedicine

Happy Homeopathy Awareness Week!

In celebration of Homeopathy Awareness Week – and in recognition of the fact that genuine awareness is the biggest threat to belief in homeopathy – our friends* at the Good Thinking Society have released their own awareness-raising site, with 12 key points to be aware of when it comes to homeopathy.

Homeopathy Awareness Week takes place internationally from April 10th-16th and is aimed at raising awareness of homeopathic remedies. Each year, homeopaths from around the world use this week to promote their practice and gain publicity – yet public awareness of the realities of homeopathy remains low.

For example, many people mistakenly believe homeopathic products are a form of herbal product – not realising that homeopathic products typically contain no active ingredients at all. Over two centuries ago, the first homeopaths perversely decided that diluting an active medicinal ingredient makes it more potent, with the vast majority of remedies containing nothing at all! Modern homeopathic tablets are generally 100% sugar, containing no active ingredient whatsoever.

As part of World Homeopathy Awareness Week, we would like to raise awareness of twelve key points about homeopathy.

Head over to homeopathyawarenessweek.org to read the twelve points in full!

*full disclosure – Vice President of the MSS, Michael Marshall, is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society.

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New Diploma in Old Wives’ Traditional Medicine

QED: Question. Explore. Discover.

Get your QED ticket now!

Here at the Merseyside Skeptics Society, we heartily endorse awareness-raising publicity stunts. Obviously. After all, we organised for nearly 500 people worldwide to ‘overdose’ on homeopathic products. Pretty hard to deny our love of a good publicity stunt, then. Plus, on September 14th our BBC documentary involving the creation and distribution of homeopathic ‘QED Vodka’ will be screened. So, yeah, publicity stunts are our thing, really.

So when I saw that the Voice of Young Science are to take to the streets of London to hand out qualifications in Old Wives’ Traditional Medicine, I was very interested indeed. Unfortunately, I can’t make it along to the event, so my practice of traditional old-wives-tale remedies will have to remain strictly that of an unlicensed amateur, but if you’re around and free, why not pop along and get yourself a qualification? It beats spending 5 years learning to be a ‘Doctor’ of homeopathy, and leaves you just as qualified to treat people. Details of the event are below, and you can RSVP on Facebook too (if you do, tell them we sent you!).

New Diploma in Old Wives’ Traditional Medicine

Do you remember how your grandmother thought burns should be treated?  What happens to your hair if you don’t eat your crusts?  If you think you can answer questions like these and your hands are clean, why not become a registered practitioner of Old Wives’ Traditional Medicine?

The Voice of Young Science School of Old Wives’ Traditional Medicine will hit the streets of London on Wednesday, handing out diplomas for people to practice Old Wives’ Traditional Medicine. Young medics and researchers in lab coats will be registering members of the public who can correctly answer questions about traditional advice and cures.

Find out if you qualify for a diploma at the Department of Health, Richmond House, Whitehall, SW1A 2NS, on Wednesday 8th September 11.30 – 12.30.

The VoYS Network is launching its Old Wives’ Traditional Medicine Accreditation Scheme to draw attention to the Department of Health’s proposed professional registration scheme for practitioners of traditional medicine, which will regulate everything except whether a practitioner has medical training or is practicing an evidence-based discipline. Read the rest of this entry »

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Skeptics with a K: Episode #027

More homeopathy (!), treating impotence, victimising Bosnians and permanent gastric fistulas. Diagnosed by passages from the Koran, it’s Skeptics with a K.

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F*ckin’ Magnetic Bracelets – How Do They Work?

Magnet Health Bracelets

This grey fella sure has his health problems

This week I want to take you both to the seaside, to take a look at something listener submitted, Blackpool-based, and textbook-woo. So, with a tip of the hat to Hoopy1888 on Twitter, I present to you – Magnetic Zone, and their Magnetic Health Bracelet.

Now, confusing as the name might seem, this isn’t a bracelet you wrap around magnets to help them stay healthy – this isn’t about the health of your magnets at all. Instead, this is about trying to use magnets to make YOU healthy. Confusing, I know, but stick with me, and I’ll talk you through the leaflet that our listener sent to my via the magic of twitpic. The leaflet – which is available on the MSS site and linked from the show notes – starts promisingly, with the printed name ‘Magnetic Zone’ hastily surrounded by scrawled writing either side of it, to read ‘www.magneticzone.co.uk’. Which is always nicely professional – especially when you visit the site, and find nothing but a black holding page with garish yellow text giving you an email address to contact, and nothing else. I know that’s how I like to get MY health advice.

Still, as the leaflet declares, these products promise that they ‘Change your health for the better’ – which is an amazing claim, presumably in oppostion to all of those bracelets that seek to change your health for the worse. Handcuffs, I suppose you’d call them.

So, what can these mystery bracelets do for you? Well, despite not yet saying anything about them – again, another sure sign that we’re dealing with a genuine health product here – the leaflet gives us a charming grey silhouette of a man with little lines coming off to list the ailments he can be relieved of via the use of Magnetic Health Bracelets (promotional price from £10, the handwritten scrawl appears to inform us). Read the rest of this entry »

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Newspapers Wake Up From A Coma Speaking Fluent Bullshit

This is a story that recently popped up in both the Daily Fail and the Telegraph (from now on referred to as the BellyLaugh).

Apparently, Croatian doctors are baffled after a teenage girl who fell into a mysterious coma woke up speaking fluent German. The teenager has been unable to speak Croatian – although can understand it when it is spoken to her – and now communicates only in German.

Pretty off-the-wall I think you’ll agree. This is the kind of thing that would have steadfast believers in past lives screaming “Proof!” in very loud voices, particularly if this unfortunate teenager didn’t speak German beforehand. Going by the tone of the article, you would think that this is what had actually happened. Read the rest of this entry »

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Music Medicine: ‘Sound Feelings’, Bullshit Concepts

When most people hear about the healing powers of music, I’m sure they think of the soft soulful beats of Lionel Richie or Michael Bolton, gently ushering them through a messy break-up – I know I do. But for some, music has healing powers of a more literal, less-early 90s housewife and altogether more bullshit nature. I’m talking, in fact, about Sound Feelings, a Californian company founded by Howard Richman, who proudly proclaim:

“We are music, health and education audio and book publishers. We specialize in music medicinemusic instructionweight loss alternative therapies and film scoring

An eclectic mix there, I’m sure you’ll agree. I’m sure you’ll also allow me to skip over the film scoring and piano lessons, and get right down to the good stuff – taking a look at the alternative therapies on offer, this film-scoring-music-guru will merrily peddle you products for ‘Internal Cleansing‘, weight loss products and books, as well as – amazingly – a weight loss photo. Which is literally just a photoshopped photo of the current-sized-You, adjusted in order to make you look slimmer. And black and white. Apparently, this is a great motivational technique. Yeah.

On top of all that, the good maestro advises on a dangerous-sounding 10-Point Colon Cleanse – because, I don’t know about you, but I always take digestive advice from someone with a B.A. degree in piano performance (from UCLA, no less).Surprisingly, Howard’s not a doctor, or any kind of science-acquainted person. In fact, one of the few things I particularly like about the site is that his bio describes him as being an ‘unlikely “expert” in the field of weight loss.’

You can say that again. Read the rest of this entry »

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