Americans are increasingly fascinated by alternative health, but there are some practices and products that although intriguing may decrease not only the amount of money in your pocket, but your health and in some cases your safety:
1. Ear candles.
Ear candling is a process where you put your head down so your ear faces up and put a long, hollow cone often soaked in beeswax and paraffin against your ear and light the top on fire. The idea is that the fire will create a suction that will remove ear wax and impurities from your ear. What actually happens is that the suction is far too little to cause any noticeable effect, and you seriously increase the risk of dropping hot embers in your ear. Earlier this year the FDA warned consumers to stay away from ear candles.
2. Magnet therapy.
Magnet practitioners claim that magnets improve blood flow under the magnet, or that they will cause an "electromagnetic energy balance." Although it’s difficult to set up magnet studies because there is no effective placebo to replace a magnet, claims by magnet practitioners have not been ably demonstrated and are not found to be credible.
3. Detox cleanses and diets.
These come in many forms, but frequently include dieting or fasting. The theory is that you can rid your body of toxins and weight, often through a combination of not eating while drinking juices or specially formulated concoctions that are supposed to reduce toxins. However, there is no scientific evidence to support the idea, and the toxins in question are poorly defined. Although a short period of fasting will not generally effect your health, longer fasts can be dangerous.
4. Crystal healing.
Practitioners in crystal healing frequently carry quartz crystals with them as a way to “unblock” a subtle energy field sometimes related to the idea of an aura or metaphysical energy centers called chakras that they believe exists in each person or animal. Although crystals can be quite attractive, there is no evidence that crystal healing has the slightest effect.
5. Vitamin water.
It sounds healthy, doesn’t it? But the product called VitaminWater by Coca-Cola, has 33 grams of sugar in each 20 ounce bottle and is currently in the middle of a lawsuit for deceptive health claims, such as that it “may reduce the risk of age-related eye disease.” Coca-Cola has responded by saying that "no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking VitaminWater was a healthy beverage."
Vitamin Water Tip:
Make your own! Completely dissolve a multi-vitamin into a small amount of warm water, then add a half cup or more of your favorite juice, and a half cup of sparkling water.
Ear Candles: Risk of Serious Injuries
Detoxification (alternative medicine)
Warning about animal 'therapies'
Lawsuit Over Deceptive Vitaminwater Claims to Proceed