Some Notes on Subluxations and Medicare
November 22, 1998 by

In 1972, in response to vigorous lobbying by chiropractors, Congress enacted a law providing for limited coverage of chiropractic services under Medicare. The law, which took effect in 1973, called for payment for the treatment of “subluxations demonstrated by x-rays to exist.” [1] A New York Times editorial called the enactment of Medicare coverage “the …

Questionable Ads for Magnets
September 19, 1998 by

Explorations, of Broomfield, Colorado, markets a large collection of books, videotapes, devices, and other items related to self-help and spirituality. Its products include a magnetic mug, a “Q-Ray Bracelet” alleged to “balance the body’s electromagnetic circuits,” and magnets claimed to provide pain relief in many parts of the body. The magnetic mug, which costs $45, …

Herbal Crystallization Analysis
August 30, 1998 by

Herbal Crystallization Analysis (HCA)—also called Saliva Crystillization Analysis (SCA)—is performed by adding a solution of copper chloride to a dried specimen of the patient’s saliva on a slide. The resultant crystal patterns are then matched to those of about 800 dried herbs to determine which of “24 body systems” supposedly have problems and which herbs …

Reflexology Steering Wheel Cover
September 16, 1997 by

Reflexology, also called zone therapy, is based on beliefs that each body part is represented on the hands and feet and that pressing on specific areas of the hands or feet can have therapeutic effects in other parts of the body. Proponents claim that the body is divided into ten zones that begin or end …

Be Wary of Provocation-Neutralization Testing
August 29, 1997 by

Provocation and neutralization are used by “clinical ecologists” to diagnose and treat alleged sensitivities to foods and environmental chemicals. Clinical ecology is not a recognized medical specialty, is not advocated by standard medical textbooks, and is not a component of medical school or specialty training programs. Its proponents sometimes refer to themselves as specialists in …

Ten Ways to Avoid Being Quacked
April 2, 1997 by

Promoters of quackery know how to appeal to every aspect of human vulnerability. What sells is not the quality of their products but their ability to influence their audience. Here are ten strategies to avoid being quacked: 1. Remember that quackery seldom looks outlandish. Its promoters often use scientific terms and quote (or misquote) from …

A Message to Chiropractors: Your Real Enemy Is Yourself!
June 23, 1988 by

This paper, which the Journal of the American Chiropractic Association published in 1990, was adapted from a talk I gave to the association’s House of Delegates on June 23, 1988. I have been investigating quackery for more than twenty years. My concept of quackery is broad yet simple: anything involving overclaim in the field of …