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Complementary and alternative medicine Humor Medicine Quackery

Naughty skeptics! Naughty, bad skeptics!

It looks as though at least a couple of my readers have taken to heart my suggestion that, if the pro-CAM, “no skeptics need applynew wikipedia known as Wiki4CAM won’t allow any scientific evidence to be posted within its pages if it does not support the CAM therapy being discussed, then perhaps we should go all Sokal on it and post the most outlandish forms of CAM we can think of in order to see whether any of the editors at Wiki4CAM actually notices, and if anyone does how long it takes.

Thus far, we have two skeptics who have taken up the challenge, one choosing a more subtle–shall we say?–faith-based approach, and another going for pure parody. First, we have Bing McGhandi’s lovely addition to the entry for faith healing. I particularly like the “science-y” part where he tries to show a relationship between the frequency of laying on of hands and the efficacy of Christian faith healing. Second up, we have a new and fantastic therapy known as flame detox. The entry speaks for itself. Worse, it’s not that unbelievable, given the belief that the use of caustic mud like the “black salve,” which, it is said, “draws out toxins” or even “draws out tumors,” does anything more than induce skin burns. In case the Wiki4CAM administrators get wise to this, I thought I’d save the entry for posterity:

Flame detoxification is a relatively new procedure, developed by Dr. Fong Yu in Beijing, China. It is based on the theory that in ancient times, our bodies were able to handle the lower levels of toxins in the environment. As the world has become more industrialized, we have become more toxic. One evening, as he was cooking a meal, he realized that the fluids released from his food as a result of cooking where potent toxins. After many years of research and testing, he developed the flame detox process.

The treatment is performed in his office, or in the office of a suitable CAM practitioner. A flame of pure hydrogen is directed at a spot in the skin, causing it to release it’s toxins. It is these toxins that are responsible for the resultant colour change of the skin. Once the skin is black, heat is removed. The area is washed, and the black toxic residue is allowed to slough off at its own pace.

Some allopathic doctors have expressed concern about this treatment, considering it to be a simple burn. This is not the case. Dr. Yu has found that if the flame is pure hydrogen — a compound of the water that makes up our bodies — the flame has no ill effect. It’s only action is to expose and draw out toxins.

These are good starts, folks, but I have faith in you all. I know you can come up with even better material! I mean, come on! The homeopathy article alone cries out for your loving attention! (Quantum gyroscopic homeopathy, anyone?) And what good is Wiki4CAM without an article on DNA activation? Or quantum theory as used in “alternative” medicine? The possibilities are endless, and I’m betting to the administrators it’s all good, given the level of credulity it takes to be a homeopath.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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