Happily Promotes Bogus Treatments. Avoid

Every so often I walk from my house to the local shopping strip, and when I do I usually go past the local chiropractic centre. And they have posters in their windows which make grandiose claims for chiroquacktic chiropractic manipulation that are just not borne out by any valid science. They claim to cure asthma, childhood colic, bedwetting and allergies... just by mangling your neck around the place. There is just no evidence for these claims. None.

They also claim that chiropractic is "250 times safer than anti-inflamatories". Whatever the fuck that's meant to mean, I can say this: staying in your house is safer than crossing the street, but it won't get your ass to the supermarket. And of course, chiropractic is not safe at all. Look up "cervical artery dissection" on pubmed one day. You'll be surprised. You might also want to check for amebiasis outbreaks, since many chiropractors question germ theory and fail to apply good sterile technique. Or clean the graffiti off their buildings.

Anyway, this fucking annoys me.

So, inspired by the awesome Bastard Sheep, I'm starting a small but fun campaign on FourSquare. Just to get warmed up.

Please, if you're on FourSquare, join me. Tip your local chiropractor with the text "Happily promotes bogus treatments. Avoid", and tag them with the word "quackery". Rinse, repeat. Later, we'll move on to the homeopaths, the naturopaths, the tarot card readers, the 'psychics' the reiki practitioners, the ayurvedic loons, the antivaccination nuts, the 'natural health' colleges that pump them into the community and your local Gloria Jeans.

Good luck, and feel free to friend me up on Foursquare.

Now, go forth and start tagging. Remember: "Happily promotes bogus treatments. Avoid" and "quackery"


Quick update 10-Aug-2010: need ammunition against chiropractors? Start with the skepticator search for "chiropractic"

posted @ Monday, August 9, 2010 5:55 PM


Comments on this entry:

# re: Happily Promotes Bogus Treatments. Avoid

Left by Joe Mamma at 9/18/2010 3:18 AM
How much do you know about chiropractic care? It wasn't that long ago that we western civilization people couldn't believe the quackery about the Chinese body maps of energetic paths throughout the body. The crossing of these meridians is where, for example, one would put an acupuncture needle and manipulate the energy that may be "stuck" (i.e. not flowing smoothly.) It's only been in the recent past that we have been able, with our most recent electrically-sensitive western technology, to map the tiny fluctuations of electromagnetic frequencies that flow around the body. When we compare the printouts of these electrical meridians of energy we see that they are matched precisely to what the Chinese body maps of 3,000 years ago show.

When a needle is inserted into the intersections of electromagnetism/meridians of energy it causes subtle shifts in the vibration of that energy and has the possibility of causing changes in a persons body. So many possibilities come into play when you mess with electromagnetism in the body, including some good. Presumably, it would take someone who believed it was possible before it could have the maximal effect on them. To some extent, the human mind has a way of working in concert with the body, wouldn't you agree?

I agree with you that huge claims are made on all sides of the healthcare profession, however, subtle manipulations of the body can have a positive effect. (The University of Miami saw more of their neo-natal babies die if they weren't simply touched.) You are engaging in your own sort of quackery if you threaten these establishments with some sort of aetheistic, close-minded dismissivness. Not to mention libel...

BTW, I love the site.

# re: Happily Promotes Bogus Treatments. Avoid

Left by Jason at 9/18/2010 1:57 PM
I hate to break it to you like this, but that whole meridians thing? That's bollocks too. Utter, unsupported, pseudoscientific, nonsensical, fantasy-based nutbaggery.

Also, you clearly have no idea about libel. The British Chiropractic Association tried that one on Simon Singh for using the very words I've used here.

"Happily promotes bogus treatments"

They lost.

Bottom line? Chiropractic has no supporting evidence for its claims on anything other than some specific back pain conditions. If a chiro sticks to back pain, then fine. They can carry on. But they should probably be calling themselves physical therapists rather than chiropractors. Meridians, likewise, are unsupported by evidence. And I don't like things that aren't supported by evidence.

# re: Happily Promotes Bogus Treatments. Avoid

Left by A Well-Known Native American at 9/19/2010 2:01 AM
Have an awful back so have been to a chiro once or twice in my time. Never for anything more than a back readjustment, though.

You really hit me when you mentioned the naturopaths in your listing of pseudo-medics that claim to heal your every ailment with treatment closer to the Scientologist's TR program than anything related to medicine.

I have dealt with the symptoms of psoriasis since I was 7 years old. It has been an overwhelmingly unsightly blemish on my otherwise unsightly body since. My mother, the almighty-sky-fairy bless her, decided to take me to a naturopath one day. Apparently she came very highly recommended, as it took us two months to get in to see her. I was 10.

This woman looked deeply into my eyes and decided that my problem was all to do with too much iron in my system. I was given, by which I mean that my mother purchased at some great expense, probably around 250mL solution of different roots and flowers all ground to a pulp and mixed with water. I was to drink this, dilluted heavily with water, for the next couple of months.

I'll detail for those that have read this far and haven't seen this coming; IT DID FUCK ALL.

Some twelve years on, I still have the physical symptoms of psoriasis on my dermis, as well as the now, at times, crippling arthritis that accompanies it. Well done, naturopathy!

Oh, and I don't even care about sneak shots at Hillsong anymore. Jayse and Dave, when we had that discussion about Mercy Ministries at Mama's Kitchen...well, I spoke to my mother...I have more info from the inside, if you'd like it.

# re: Happily Promotes Bogus Treatments. Avoid

Left by Simon N. at 9/21/2010 3:34 PM
Dearest Joe Mamma@9/18/2010 3:18 AM:

That is quite a large number of assertions made in your post. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of acupuncture is just not borne out by the evidence.

Cherkin, Daniel. "A Randomized Trial Comparing Acupuncture, Simulated Acupuncture, and Usual Care for Chronic Low Back Pain." Arch Intern Med.. 169.9 (2009): 858-866.

"Conclusions: Although acupuncture was found effective for chronic low back pain, tailoring needling sites to each patient and penetration of the skin appear to be unimportant in eliciting therapeutic benefits. These findings raise questions about acupuncture's purported mechanisms of action. It remains unclear whether acupuncture or our simulated method of acupuncture provide physiologically important stimulation or represent placebo or nonspecific effects."

It seems far more parsimonious to attribute ANY of the subjective effects of the poking and prodding to the relaxing environment and personal attention, as it doesn't seem to matter where or with what you poke the people. Although, I rather suspect the right poking may indeed have additional effects...

# re: Happily Promotes Bogus Treatments. Avoid

Left by Skg at 11/9/2010 2:25 PM
I must say, that while some (many?) chiropractors promote bogus treatments, not all do. I have been to see a few on occasion, and while I have some chronic health problems with range from annoying to severe (all of which my chiropractors have been aware of) - chiro has stuck to working on my back.

Just because some chiropractors promote bogus treatments does not mean that all do, and as such just randomly tagging every chiropractor as promoting quackery smacks of the ridiculous. In the case of the chiropractor you tagged, yes, certainly, that's justified, but to call out for readers to tag their local chiropractor as promoting pseudoscientific evidence and quackery without any evidence of that being the case is unfair. Even if it could be established that most chiros don't acknowledge germ theory and think they can cure asthma (or cancer, or whatever bullshit that they think they can do - and yes, I have met chiropractors who believe that), that doesn't justify calling out all chiropractors based upon the actions of a majority.

# re: Happily Promotes Bogus Treatments. Avoid

Left by Jason at 11/9/2010 2:37 PM

I appreciate the comment, but you're not the first to come up with this defence.

Chiropractors who don't follow the "strict" methodology should stop calling themselves chiropractors. All they're doing is adding legitimacy to the lunatic end of the scale.

At the far "reform" end of the chiropractor scale are, basically, physical therapists who practice a heavy variant of massage, so they should just bite the bullet and separate from the loony-tune roots of chiropractic once and for all.

However, they have to do this for themselves. Perhaps the risk of being tarred with the quackery brush will encourage one or two of them to do it.

"Reform" chiropractors need to understand that if they want to be chiropractors, they need to own the consequences of sitting in the same boat as nutcases who preach anti-vaccination, germ theory denial and nonsense about blockages in "innate intelligence"

There is a lovely analogy I've heard used for this, but I'm damned if I'm going to Godwin myself on my own blog. So I'll adapt it

"Oh, yes, we're the KKK, but we're the *nice* kind of KKK. Not like those racist violent bigots over there. We don't agree with their teachings at all. But we're still the KKK."
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