Supplements for health and illness, a $35 billion a year industry – but do they help?
Mental Illness Treatment

Do You Take Supplements for Your Health or Illness?

According to a Washington Post article, Americans spend $35 billion per year on vitamins and supplements. Unlike pharmaceuticals, which have to demonstrate effectiveness and safety to get approved, supplements only need to demonstrate safety. That's a lot of money to spend on things that may or may not be helpful. Just because they're "natural" doesn't… Continue reading Do You Take Supplements for Your Health or Illness?

Psychic surgery: a real thing, or just a very wacky placebo?
Science Corner

Is Psychic Surgery a Real Thing?

There are plenty of odd pseudoscientific health practices out there, but psychic surgery kicks it up to a whole new level of weird. Psychic surgery isn't like what happens in an operating room; it's more like what happens on a magician's stage. Sleight of hand, fake blood, and animal parts are used to make the… Continue reading Is Psychic Surgery a Real Thing?

Does your body need to detox/cleanse?
Science Corner

Do You Need to Detox/Cleanse?

Detox diets and cleanses are quite popular these days, especially if you're of the Goop-y persuasion. And while they might seem to make sense on an intuitive level, from a science perspective, is there anything to actually back that up? The "toxins" Commercial detox products tend to refer vaguely to "toxins" without actually specifying what… Continue reading Do You Need to Detox/Cleanse?

Adrenal fatigue: can your adrenal glands actually get tired?
Science Corner

Is Adrenal Fatigue Real?

The term adrenal fatigue was first used by chiropractor James Wilson in 1998, and became popular with a book he published in 2001.  I've written before about some of the quacky dabbling of chiropractors outside the neck and back pain issues we commonly associate them with.  You can probably guess from that alone where I'm… Continue reading Is Adrenal Fatigue Real?

Supplements for depression that actually work
MH@H Depression

Supplements for Depression that Actually Work

Some people claim that vitamins and minerals can cure serious mental illness.  That's not what I'm talking about here.  While in general, there's not a ton of research funding for supplements and herbal products, there are a number of supplements that do have some research evidence to support their effectiveness in depression. For people with… Continue reading Supplements for Depression that Actually Work

Do crystals have healing powers?
Science Corner

Do Crystals Have Healing Powers?

Crystals are pretty, there's no doubt about that. But do they actually have healing powers as some claim, and can they do anything for your health and wellbeing? The belief that precious stones have healing powers has been around for centuries. In current practice, it's most often associated with the New Age movement. It draws… Continue reading Do Crystals Have Healing Powers?

diagram of internal abdominal organs including intestines
Science Corner

Are Colon Cleanses Useful?

There are a lot of weird alternative health interventions out there, but colon cleanses, also known as colon hydrotherapy or colonics, have got to be among the weirder ones.  Apparently, this has been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians; however, it only appeared on my radar a few years back when a colonics… Continue reading Are Colon Cleanses Useful?

Essential oils: placebo or something more? - graphic of oil bottle and flowers
Science Corner

Are Essential Oils a Placebo or Something More?

I'm a big fan of aromatherapy. I have a diffuser and use a variety of essential oil blends, and if they're just a pleasant placebo, I'm good with that. Essential oils smell nice and they're a great way to practice self-care. But do they live up to the assorted health claims that are made about… Continue reading Are Essential Oils a Placebo or Something More?

woman having reiki administered
Science Corner

Reiki: Does it Work as Advertised?

A couple of people commented on my post on dopamine fasting asking about my take on reiki. Essentially, their question was: is reiki bullshit? Ask and ye shall receive. What is it? First, what exactly is reiki? The International Center for Reiki Training (ICRT) says that reiki "is based on the idea that an unseen 'life… Continue reading Reiki: Does it Work as Advertised?

Homeopathy: it's a whole lot wackier than you might think
Science Corner

Homeopathy: Government-Funded Quackery

I've recently come across some news articles about homeopathy that have caught my eye.  One was about claims that homeopathy could prevent measles (homeoprophylaxis is the fancy term for this); another was about the Canadian government funding an aid mission to Honduras involving a delegation of homeopaths claiming to cure Chagas disease and other infectious diseases.… Continue reading Homeopathy: Government-Funded Quackery