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January 12, 2010

Some Alt Therapies Denounced in 2009

LiveScience lists its top alternative therapies that got debunked in 2009. The scientific community is putting alternative therapies under the rigor of testing to find out if they are effective or do what they claim to do.

These 5 got tossed in the round file:
1) Reiki -- found not to be an effective treatment for any condition. However, soft music, quiet atmosphere and undivided attention of another person is found to be very relaxing.
2) Reflexology/Zone Therapy -- reflexology had no effect for heart surgery patients on postoperative mood, pain, anxiety, hospital stay and several other measures. But foot massage sure does feel great.
3) Homeopathy -- no evidence to support the use of homeopathy to treat the adverse effects of cancer treatment. However, nitroglycerin, a homeopathic medication, is still effective for angina.
4) Magnet therapy -- Unlike many alternative therapies that come with ample amounts of good intentions, magnetic therapy seems like an outright scam. It's a good thing magnetic therapy doesn't work or else MRIs would cause the body to explode. Double-blind, randomized control trials on pain effectively puts the nail in magnet therapy coffin, but people swear by them anyway.
5) Kava -- an herb with relaxation properties; mix it with alcohol and it can kill you. Leaves and roots are bad for your liver. It also interferes with the effectiveness of cancer drugs.

Take home message: buyer beware. If it's too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of outrageous claims and cure-alls, especially cancers. Alternative therapies are fine as palliative care and relaxation therapies as long as that is what you are expecting and paying for.


Posted by linda at January 12, 2010 8:19 AM

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