Sunday, 11 September 2005

Mumbo jumbo

I noted that last week an extensive piece of research in Switzerland into homeopathy concluded that there was no effect greater than that of the placebo effect. In other words, homeopathy has absolutely no scientific basis whatsoever, despite the scientific mumbo jumbo that its proponents dress it up in. Like the so-called Bach remedies and countless other 'alternative' medicines or 'complimentary' treatments, they use what appears to be scientific terminology, but when subjected to scientific scrutiny fail. While all science and medicine has its failings, and fashions and theories change, at least these can be tried and tested. The problem with homeopathy and many related alternatives, is either they cannot be tested, or when tested produce results that re easily explained by placebo effect. Thought about rationally, even some of the more plausible become difficult to accept. aromatherapy -- if the oils did indeed perform the extraordinary feats attributed to them, would presumably cause havoc in the bodies of the masseur or masseuses. Of the more bizarre claims, reflexology takes some beating for irrationality -- tickling the feet to affect the head and shoulders. But the millions of pounds spent each year by the gullible public is simply an indication of conspicuous consumption -- as described in that often overlooked masterpiece by Thorstein Vebelin, written over a century ago, The Theory of the Leisure Class. We will spend millions on perfumes, cosmetics, bottled water, and quack medicines, while allowing the environment to deteriorate. It's a paradox, easily explained by the fact that business has yet to find a way of exploiting the natural environment that is as profitable as bottled water, quack medicines and costmetics. That's the challenge for the future.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure about reflexology... Is it not based on the fact that there are nerve endings in the feet that are connected with other parts of the body? It doesn't sound completely irrational to me. And who wouldn't pay to get their feet tickled - surely one of the best ways to de-stress!