What alternative health

practitioners might not tell you



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“In medicine, the term detox is used in two different ways. In conventional medicine, it describes a programme of weaning drug-dependent patients off their addiction. In alternative medicine, the term is used for treatments allegedly ridding the body of toxins. Alternative detox is all the rage and comes in many guises – anything from diet or supplements to steam-baths or ear-candles. The common denominator is that, allegedly, the body is stimulated to eliminate poisonous substances. The claim is that, if we are not treated in this way, such toxins would cause ill health in all of us. Yet, these assumptions are both wrong and dangerous. Unless someone is very severely ill, the elimination of toxins is most efficiently being taken care of by various organs – for instance, the liver, kidneys, skin, lungs and the gut. In a healthy person, the function of these systems is already optimal. No improvements are needed or can be achieved by detox therapies. Proponents of alternative detox have never been able to demonstrate that their treatments actually decrease the level of any specific toxin in the body. Yet such studies would be very simple to conduct: name the toxin, measure its level before and after the treatment and compare the readings. Why do such studies not exist? I suspect it is because the promoters of detox treatments know only too well that their results would not confirm their assumptions. And that would, of course, be bad for business.” Professor Edzard Ernst, The Guardian (29th August 2011)