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Complementary and alternative medicine Humor Medicine Quackery

Why didn’t I think of this before?

Damn. Every so often another blogger will think of something that I really, really wished I’d thought of before. Times like this, and this handy-dandy alternative medicine flow chart.

I do think he missed one thing, though. Just because someone doesn’t like having stuff shoved up their posterior doesn’t mean they won’t be into “detox.” Colonic irrigation is part of many “detox” regimens. Of course, much woo overlaps; so you can’t make any hard and fast rules. Consider this chart a guide instead.

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]

19 replies on “Why didn’t I think of this before?”

Every MD and ER bay should have one of these on the wall. I am going to show this to my doctor the next time I see them.

Reminds a bit of one of those what’s-the-differnece-between jokes:

Q: What’s the difference between depression and dysentery?

A: Depresssion is when it feels like the bottom has dropped out of your world, dysentery is when it feels like the world has dropped out of your bottom.

It’s priceless!!!!(” A bloke with wings, in a white frock”)I wish he had included diet woo: ” Let your food be your medicine”; ” You are what you eat”. Here is some.. er, food for thought : veganism, organics, raw foods, Ayurvedic dosha-typed diet, Taoist 5 element, macrobiotics, the Paleolithic diet, blood-type diets, ultra low carb, Ornish, powdered protein/ dried vegetables & fruits, raw milk, yoghurt fetishism…..then there’s water as panacaea.

I’ve always wanted to see the opinions of a woo practitioner in one field about the others. Can they all work? Do naturopaths think that ear candling works? Do acupuncturists think that homeopathy is a crock?
Let’s have what they really think about the others. They can’t think that all the other modalities work because that would decrease the effectiveness of their own delusion.

I’ve always wanted to see the opinions of a woo practitioner in one field about the others. Can they all work? Do naturopaths think that ear candling works? Do acupuncturists think that homeopathy is a crock?
Let’s have what they really think about the others.

Of course, they can’t say anything. That would break up the cartel and get the customers actually thinking about whether their treatments work. With mutual support, the consumers can move around endlessly among all the fake options and rationalize them all equally. It enhances the profit for all parties and establishes a culture of non-questioning consumers.

I was suprised no one had thought of it yet too.

I had the idea last Wednesday, while the wife was watching some crap on the TV, I googled “Alternative Therapy Flowchart”, couldn’t find anything relevant, so I knocked the bugger up quick before some annoying git on Science blogs beat me to it.

@ natural cynic and Bronze Dog : I cautiously venture a guess that for the woo-providers who are *not* purely salesmen perhaps they *may* actually accept several “disciplines” of quackademia _because_ the quality of their thought in general is neither very critical nor reality-based. Perhaps “crank magnetism” occurs not because different forms of “bad science” attract each other but because *bad thinking* is at the root all the bad science.

natural cynic #8 wrote:

Let’s have what they really think about the others. They can’t think that all the other modalities work because that would decrease the effectiveness of their own delusion.

People who endorse So-Called Alternative Medicine seem to see the lack of internal criticism as a feature, not a bug. It presumably shows how accepting and gentle these therapies are, how concerned they are with the individual.

Apparently they can all work for different people, at different times, and there is no need to try to force our own way into to being the only Right way — the way scientific medicine so rudely does. You have to find the one that’s right for you. Which is mine, when I have your attention.

The model is less like science, and more like religion — the kind where there are many paths to the same Truth. I suspect that a panel filled with competing alt med theorists would sound far more like an ecumenical interfaith alliance council than a debate. Competition bad. It’s too “judgmental.” Too much like that judgmental Evil Cabal of Mainstream Atheist Reductionist Materialist Scientists.

“The model is less like science, and more like religion”
You have that right.
Crispian how about a religious flow chart too?
monotheist but really wants to be polytheist – catholic etc.

To be fair, for many muscle-based complaints, hands-on approaches (cranio-sacral, massage, etc) do help in so far as they promote relaxation of the affected muscles. It’s also how I learned to tolerate touch.

I liked that “Flap eared royal fruitcake,” by its positioning, seemed to me like it were given as the lower of the levels of crazy options. And if a “Flap eared royal fruitcake” level of crazy sounds sane compared to yours, that’s a bad sign.

Did anyone else do the, well, if I were looking to choose a form of alternative medicine, where would the flow chart lead me, thing? I ended up on Rolfing, with which I was previously unfamiliar. Oh my.

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