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Why People Believe Alternatives Work...Even When They Don't

Have you ever wondered why people are so convinced that therapies work, even when there is no science to prove it? Almost every New Age alternative has a website full of testimonials from people who really believe the technique worked. Are these people lying or just deluded?

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Energy Medicine: 21st Century Snake Oil

(Image courtesy of Wesley Fryer at Wikicommons)

People write to us all the time with questions about the various energy medicine techniques – from Reiki to tai chi and everything in between – so I decided to write a general overview of energy medicine that can provide additional details for those who wish to learn more.

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A Pseudoscience Known as Craniosacral Therapy

PT asks: “I am writing you about craniosacral treatment. It is a kind of massage, physical therapy variant. In the Vatican document it is not referred to directly but I understand that it is based on oriental "energy" belief system. Would it be possible for you to enlighten me about this some more. People have been asking me.”

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Nine-Year-Old Girl Proves New Age Energy Fields Don’t Exist

Emily Rosa at age 11, the year she published the study in JAMA (photo courtesy of her mother, Linda Rosa RN and Wikicommons)

New Age energy workers insist that the cause of all of mankind’s ills are related to imbalances in an alleged universal life force energy known as chi, qi, prana, vital force, etc. Thanks to the sophistication of modern science, it was easy to prove that this energy doesn’t exist, so easy, in fact, that a nine-year-old girl thoroughly debunked the claims of these “energy workers” in a fourth-grade science fair project!

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Take the 10 Question Test: Is it Christian or New Age?

LL asks: “There is so much spiritual confusion out there! People are blending all kinds of beliefs and practices, Christian, Hindu, New Age. How are we supposed to tell what’s Christian and what isn’t without having to read the catechism from front cover to back?”

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Is Your “Energy” Out of Whack?

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would come up with a way to help us stay energized and alert throughout the day regardless of how busy we are? It sure would, but the New Age idea of restoring “energy” isn’t the way to go.

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Does the Vatican Consider Chiropractics to be New Age?

BS write: "I read an article that stated the Vatican considers Chiropractic new age by Brinkmann. She gives the history of chiropractic treatment and it’s definitely a concern to me after reading it. Do you really consider Chiropractic dangerous?  My Chiropractor is a practicing Christian and never talks about any energy fields or healing touch which would have definitely been a red flag for me. I have been helped so much by Chiropractic.  But want to know if you really think I am playing with the occult."

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Understanding the Difference Between Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The field of health care has a lot of new players these days – and many of them have little or nothing to do with conventional medicine. There’s complementary medicine, alternative medicine, whole medical systems, mind-body medicine, integrative medicine, etc. These fields are inundated with New Age practitioners, so it’s a good idea to learn what they are and what to watch out for.

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