Your Defense against Snake Oil

When you are looking for alternative therapies and treatments, it can be a real pain to tell the scammers from the real deal.  So many people make a living by preying on the unwary. It’s tough to avoid being fooled sometimes, so I wanted to offer a few basic guidelines to help you separate the wheat from the chaff. \
Rule number one: Distrust intangible products.

Rule number two: Distrust all quick cures.

Rule number three: Don’t trust testimonials.

Why do I say not to trust testimonials? Because they create false confidence. It’s hard not to be swayed by reading letter after glowing letter about how that miracle cleanse cure fixed their horrible problems with gas, and their pictures of the parasites they passed. Keep in mind that the letters are faked and those nasty pictures are just mud dipped strings dropped in a toilet. People lie. They lie a lot more when there’s money involved.

In general, be cautious with people treating conditions like cancer, impotence, skin problems, and other things that are difficult or expensive to treat. They prey on people’s fear and they offer false hope in exchange for low, low payments of $49.99 or whatever the case may be. Ultimately, it would be smarter to save that money and spend it on whole foods and healthy living.

As I said in my rules, run away, far away, from anything promising a quick cure. Neither cures nor getting rich happen quickly. Just like success, usually a cure requires work and dedication. Of course, it depends on the condition. You will see this a LOT in the field of weight loss. People will promise anything because they are counting on people being so dazzled with the promise of losing ten pounds a week that they won’t notice what’s going out of their wallets..

If you don’t already believe in them, run away from anything involving crystals, magnets, pyramids, positive vibrations, or light. Run away from anything related to homeopathy.  If you believe in these therapies, that’s your decision – but for pity’s sake, don’t pay much for it! That’s what I meant by people selling intangibles. Homeopathy counts as an intangible because it’s all just distilled water. Look it up, it’s true.

On the other hand, not all natural cures are bunk. Naturapaths, for example, can do amazing things with the right treatments, which can include supplements of various kinds. They have a lot of medical knowledge and use it well.

Speaking of supplements, some of them can really be great. Some of the old reliables are kelp, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin C, E and A, iron, and good foods like cranberry,  tree nuts and fish. The list is long and doesn’t need to be repeated here.  In general, whole food is better than pills, but liquid vitamins are best if you have to take them. Capsules are better than tablets if you have to absorb something.  Don’t forget that some vitamins and minerals require fat to be absorbed properly.  The best vitamins, minerals, and other supplements have good amounts of research behind them.

For example, you can actually find good evidence that turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, garlic helps with viruses, and peppermint helps with asthma and stomach problems. There’s lots of research on ginger, ginkgo, ginseng – the list goes on.

The more educated you are, and the more you understand the psychology of selling, the better you will do in helping yourself as well as avoiding scams.

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