Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ridiculous Cure (HAWMC Day Four)

The day four challenge from WEGO Health is to write about a ludicrous headline or ridiculous cure for one's health condition.

I may have been a liberal arts major (my degrees are in journalism and religion), but I have a science-based (or evidence-based) brain. I just can't help it. I'm skeptical and cynical, and I hate the crazy cures that pop up on the internet and/or in conversations with well-meaning acquaintances.

There are the supplements that people credit with miracle cures of just about anything. There are the special diets -- gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, caveman diet, blood type diet, the cleanses, the fasts, the detox diets. (Don't get me wrong -- eating gluten-free and/or dairy-free can make a huge difference for those who have allergies or sensitivities or celiac disease that require those changes.) Without other medical reasons for it, special diets that restrict various foods don't cure people.

The therapist I've been seeing is a fan of the emWave Personal Stress Reliever. I first was introduced to biofeedback as a treatment for migraines when I was a kid. I do think biofeedback can be helpful in managing pain, and I still do some of the exercises I learned when I was a kid. But my scam radar went off when the therapist told me that using the emWave can cure just about anything, including autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It can even, she says, reverse the damage to joints and organs those diseases sometimes cause. And if you believe that, I've got some swampland I'd like to sell you, and I'll even throw in a really nice bridge in Brooklyn. ;-)

It would be nice to find a miracle cure. And I understand why people fall for scams promising cures -- I completely grok feeling desperate and that it would be worth almost any amount of money if it made me better. But I think there's a special place in hell reserved for the people who take advantage of people who are suffering by offering them a "cure" that, if they're lucky, will turn out to be innocuous.

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