Why Write About Alternative Medicine? Part Two: Entertainment

January 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm (Alternative Medicine, Homeopathy, Kadir Buxton Method, Miscellaneous) (, , , , , , , , )

Part one of this series of posts was a po-faced commentary on the uncritical promotion of alternative medicine in the mainstream media. I pointed out the poor reporting of non-mainstream therapies, the inaccuracy and the incompleteness of press articles. I argued that this was a worthy reason for blogging about alternative medicine.

Another reason is that of entertainment. Proponents of alternative medicine might be wrong, but some of their ideas are fascinating. And, occasionally, hilarious.

Homeopathy is perhaps the best place to start. The idea of providing medicines that contain no medicine is itself absurd, but homeopathy has also given us succussion (the idea that banging homeopathic products on a leather bound book makes them potent), remedies that are based on the light of Saturn, the Berlin wall, a shipwreck, or twiglets, and (my favourite) the paper remedy:

I remembered the idea of the paper remedy, so I wrote down my constitutional remedy and the potency one higher than my regular potency, placed in under a plastic cup and left it for ten minutes. I then drank the water and within ½ hour my symptoms subsided much to my surprise.

People think I’m joking when I tell them about the paper remedy. I’m genuinely not. A thread on the hpathy.com forum has this explanation of how a homeopathic paper remedy might work:

A word vibrates, and a word with the name of the remedies vibrates too and programms this vibration into the water. A thought is also vibration.

I wonder if somewhere right now, someone is making a homeopathic paper remedy by writing down on a piece of paper “Twiglet 30C”, popping it underneath a glass of water, and solemnly telling their patient that what is written on the piece of paper will program the water in the glass with a vibration that transfers into it the healing energy of a medicine that is based on twiglets but contains no twiglet. Cosmic twiglet vibrations. It’s not every day you get to type that.

Perhaps the closest contender to the homeopaths is Kadir Buxton. It’s hard to tell whether Kadir-Buxton is a great British eccentric or whether his website is a fantastic spoof. See for yourself. There is an index on the left hand side of the page. Check out the Hendrix Method, Post Sex, the Orgasmic Nose, and The Drinking Game That Saves Lives.

There are other examples of eccentric ideas, but no-one seems to manage to come up with the goods quite as consistently as the homeopaths. There’s Reiki Distance Energy Healing and Cosmic Reiki (includes a lovely quote from Hawayo Takata’s diary – apparently some teachers refer to reiki as The Cosmic Wave “because it radiates vibrates of exultant feeling and lifts you into harmony”), reflexology’s invisible life force (see also chiropractic’s innate intelligence, acupuncture’s Qi, homeopathy’s vital force…), Hulda Clark’s Zappers, Hopi ear candles (which are not only ineffective and potentially harmful but also have nothing to do with Hopi Indians) and unicorn badges to repel head lice. Then there’s orgone.

As well as claiming to be able to improve your health, your vitality, and the nutritional quality of your food with orgone energy health products, advocates can also be seen refreshing the environment with orgonite.The whale.to website, run by an orgone enthusiast, is a rather wonderful collection of odd ideas and fantastic conspiracy theories. I think my favourite page there is the one titled Lines of Force Around Our Flying Dolphin.

Fantastic stuff, but I bet none of them would ever have come up with the idea of making a remedy out of twiglets.

More

A tip of the hat to the denizens of the Bad Science forum who suggested several of the therapies included here.

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18 Comments

  1. softestpawn said,

    Motiviations… perhaps also the curiosity of finding things out?

  2. softestpawn said,

    spleing rong

  3. anarchic teapot said,

    I do think you’re underestimating the loony quotient or Rieiki a little bit. They talk about sending reiki through time and healing dead ancestors as well. I just found out how they “infuse” objects with reiki energy. It’s a good one( Spoilers!).

    However, you’re absolutely right: if you’re feeling the least bit depressed, looking up the ingredients in homeopathy remedies is guaranteed entertainment.

  4. Cybertiger said,

    “Those who live in glass houses should masturbate in the basement” … especially if you’re one of ‘Uncle Ben’s Turkey Dinners’. To**ers!

  5. Oliver Dowding said,

    Yawn!

    I only refer to homoeopathy as all the other “alternatives to mainstream” of things with which I’ve never been involved.

    There are those who talk about things, and there are those who get on and do. There are those who understand, make it their business to become educated and successful, and there are those who seek only to denigrate.

    Yawn!

  6. jdc325 said,

    @softestpawn
    Yes, I suppose so. Even if it’s just finding out what odd things other people believe. I suppose it might be interesting to think of odd things I believe and compare them with the unicorn badges and flying dolphins.

    @anarchic teapot
    Heh, I wasn’t aware of the ‘healing dead ancestors’ thing. Found a page describing how to empower objects with reiki.

  7. anarchic teapot said,

    Ah, for the dead ancestors and healing the past, you’ll want this http://blog.anarchic-teapot.net/2011/10/09/i-think-you-should-see-the-doctor-healing-the-past-with-reiki/ and this http://blog.anarchic-teapot.net/2011/11/06/tina-cutler-shakin-people-down-all-over/ Usual health warning applies.

    The Reiki page looks much like the one I found, with maybe a couple of gems missing. Dibs on the takedown!

  8. jdc325 said,

    Good stuff anarchic teapot. Sending ‘happy thoughts’ back in time is classic.

  9. jdc325 said,

    A few other suggestions people have made:

    Radionics, chakra realignment, gong baths, and the butt candle.

  10. jdc325 said,

    There are those who talk about things, and there are those who get on and do. There are those who understand, make it their business to become educated and successful, and there are those who seek only to denigrate.

    So, Oliver, do you think that people who believe that writing down the name of a remedy on a piece of paper can cure you (or, say, people who make remedies based on twiglets) “understand” and are “educated”?

    Really?

  11. Oliver Dowding said,

    I suggest you read what I wrote. I said that I was only referring to homoeopathy, as all the other alternatives are things with which I’ve never worked with, or made any effort to understand.

  12. jdc325 said,

    I suggest you read what I wrote. I said that I was only referring to homoeopathy, as all the other alternatives are things with which I’ve never worked with, or made any effort to understand.

    I suggest you read what I have written Oliver. Paper remedies and remedies made from twiglets both come from homeopathy…

  13. ChrisP said,

    I rather like Berlin Wall for a remedy http://hpathy.com/clinical-cases/a-case-for-berlin-wall/ Cures asthma apparently! It is a good thing that only homeopathic amounts of the Wall are used, as they aren’t making Berlin Walls any more.

    Even more fun are the treatments that come from meditative provings.

  14. Helen said,

    The concept of healing or even just cheering up one’s dead ancestors reminds me of the Mormon theory that the dead can be baptised into the church. When the Mormon Temple opened in Chorley, the Mormons were rumoured to have baptised by proxy everyone on the electoral register for Chorley going back for as long as they could obtain records.

    Clearly this is barking. But it would make sense for everyone to ensure that they are baptised RC while they are alive, to prevent any post-humous Mormon baptism from taking effect. Possibly.

  15. Searchindipity for January 2012 « Short and Spiky said,

    [...] Why Write About Alternative Medicine? Part Two: Entertainment (jdc325.wordpress.com) [...]

  16. Why Write About Alternative Medicine? Part Three: Risks « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    [...] of alternative medicine is here and part two on the entertainment value of alternative medicine is here. Rate this: Share this:StumbleUponDiggRedditEmailFacebookTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  17. PallcoBinks said,

    I decided to join the forum today, hopefully I’ll get along with everyone. :)

  18. Searchindipity for January 2012 » Disjointed Ramblings said,

    [...] Why Write About Alternative Medicine? Part Two: Entertainment (jdc325.wordpress.com) [...]

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