Brain Food: It'll never fly - Alternative therapy

You have a headache or perhaps you're just feeling a bit under the weather. Why not try a spot of Vortex Healing? Or perhaps you're up for something a bit more hands-on, like Colon Hydrotherapy, Leech Therapy or Brain Respiration? To pay through the nose (so to say) for the privilege of having someone stick needles into you or attach leeches (see below) sounds ludicrous in this age of ever-advancing medical technology. It's the 21st century, not the 13th. Yet many Westerners are lapping up these medieval-sounding remedies, spurning modern medicine for unscientific quackery where the benefit lies in moaning to an attentive listener rather than in any real physical effect the treatment might have. In an age of great scientific progress, why would anyone resort to these wacky ways? An industry worth £130 million in the UK is proof that plenty of people will give these remedies a go. Even the NHS is in on it (no doubt conceding to the New-Agers in search of a placebo effect). Acupuncture, for example, has long been used in its pain clinics. People appreciate the holistic approach taken by complementary medicine, as well as its natural formulations. But things can go too far - Prince Charles had his knuckles rapped by a UCL professor for condoning carrot-juice cures and coffee enemas for cancer patients. 'The power of my authority comes with knowledge built on 40 years of study and 25 years of active involvement in cancer research,' fulminated Professor Baum. 'Your power and authority rest on an accident of birth.'

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