What alternative health

practitioners might not tell you



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“Some natural and complementary therapies are safe and effective, but most are not. The area is rife with pseudoscience, anti-science, testimonials and conspiracy theories and all these traits are well-represented in this appalling book.  The book is based on the false premise that anecdotes are an important source of information in helping us decide if a treatment is effective or not. Anecdotes and testimonials are presented in this book to support ridiculous therapies. These therapies, including colonic irrigation, reflexology, reiki, homeopathy and kinesiology, are not supported by scientific research and are mostly biologically implausible.  The author, an engineer by training, is probably a well-meaning person who thinks that he is helping to disseminate important health information that doctors can or will not give to their patients. But the information he presents is incorrect and this sort of book, which is worryingly prevalent in the new-age section of book shops, has the potential to cause harm in a number of ways. As well as promoting therapies that can directly cause physical harm, such as a ruptured bowel from colonic irrigation, the therapies promoted can lead to a vulnerable sick person having false hope, delaying proven treatments or wasting precious time and money.  A disappointing and harmful consequence of the sort of nonsense illustrated throughout this book is that many health care professionals are put off natural and complementary therapies altogether, and their patients are not told about therapies that have been shown to be safe and effective in well-conducted clinical trials, such as omega-3 fish oil, St John's wort, massage therapy, yoga and many others.
As a believer in free speech and the rights of others to express their opinions, no matter how ridiculous they are, I do not advocate that this book should be banned....although it is tempting.” Reviewed by Professor Shaun Holt, New Zealand Medical Journal (17th December 2010, Vol 123 No 1327) [Subscription only.]