Bizarre and questionable 'medical' practices


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
Bizarre and questionable 'medical' practices

Medical quackery or practice of scientifically unproven medical means to cure ailments has been around a lot longer than mainstream medicine.

For thousands of years, practitioners have touted the miraculous benefits of using snake oil or liquid oxygen for curing ailments and injuries. Even today, a number of widely practiced 'medical' modules are under question due to lack of adequate scientific research and explanation. Here's a list of some questionable health products and services that are still practiced.

The grape cure:
Many dieticians advocate the use of grape juice for curing malignant growths like ulcers, tumours and cancers. It is believed that grape juice helps in causing fat degeneration and is highly antiseptic. This claim was first made by Johanna Brandt, a neuropath from South Africa. She claimed that eating grapes for breakfast, lunch and dinner for weeks together enables a person to overcome hazardous ailments. However, no scientific evidence has verified her claims. The technique was even reviewed by the American Cancer Society who found no definite evidence of benefit. Nevertheless, 'The Grape Cure' is still practiced till date by many people.

Ear candling:
Said to have originated from ancient Egypt and India, ear candling is a very popular alternative medicine practice that claims to improve general health and well-being. Sometimes referred to as coning, the procedure involves placing one end of a cone of waxed cloth into the patient's ear and lighting the other end. But, the question is - does the procedure really work? A number of serious dangers have been reported including burning caused by the hot wax. Moreover, many medical researchers have reported that the technique is both dangerous and ineffective and does not remove any toxins as claimed.

Faith healing:
Another popular healing process, that has gathered quite a following, is the technique of faith healing. The whole practice is based on the notion that certain places or people have the ability to cure ailments through a close connection with a higher power. Proponents claim that faith healing can cure anything from cancer to AIDS and blindness. Some even claim that it is the placebo effect that helps to cure the patients. It is but natural that no scientific evidence has been able to support these claims till date.

Snake oil:
Another bizarre medical product marketed extensively without any scientifically verifiable explanation is snake oil. Made from Chinese water snake, these concoctions are known to 'miraculously' cure your toothaches, ankle sprains and pretty much anything under the sky.

Medical radiesthesia:
Dowsing, also called Medical radiesthesia is another controversial alternative medical practice. This technique follows the occult philosophy that invisible radiations and vibrations can be used to diagnose and treat certain diseases.

Chelation therapy:
A number of anti-quackery organizations like the National Council against Health Fraud (NCAHF) and the Quackwatch assert that Chelation therapy has no effect on ailments and injuries. This alternative medical practice involves the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body. Followers of this technique believe that it has the ability to heal conditions like diabetic ulcers, gangrene, angina and atherosclerosis. Nevertheless, none of the claimed benefits have been demonstrated by clinical trials till date.

Psychic surgery:
Condemned by many countries across the globe, psychic surgery is a procedure where only bare hands are used to perform surgical incisions and removal of pathological matter. In fact, the US Federal Trade Commission has labelled the technique as a complete medical hoax. Besides this, a number of government medical organizations like the British Columbia Medical Agency have strongly urged individuals not to seek help from psychic surgeons.

(Source: National Council Against Health Fraud, Quackwatch, World Research Foundation)

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