Your Insurance Rates Just Went Up

This article about insurance payments for Reiki appeared on a Reiki website: A major concern among Reiki practitioners has been the inability to bill client’s insurance companies for treatments. However, today there are avenues available to the practitioner. A nurse who practices Reiki and wishes to bill an insurance company for a treatment may use

Homeopathy – Still Crazy After All These Years

Homeopathy is a fascinating phenomenon. Oliver Wendell Holmes recognized that it was nonsense back in 1842 when he wrote “Homeopathy and Its Kindred Delusions.”  We long ago gave up the nonsense of trying to balance the four humours by bloodletting and purging, but the homeopathy Energizer Bunny is still marching on. What makes it so

What to Eat: Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.

As I was feeding the dog, it occurred to me that dogs have a very straightforward relationship with food. Our Labrador’s philosophy seems to be “eat everything you can get and as much of it as possible, whether it’s food, ice cubes, pine cones, wood, or anything else you can chew or swallow.” In two

A Skeptical Look at Screening Tests

I’m an equal opportunity skeptic. I’m skeptical about alternative medicine, pseudoscience, and quackery; but I apply the same standards of skepticism to conventional medicine. I don’t write about conventional medicine so much, because I don’t need to. Science itself is inherently skeptical and scientific medicine is self-criticizing and self-correcting. When better evidence comes along, medical

The Placebo Effect

JANE D. WAS A REGULAR VISITOR TO OUR ER, usually showing up late at night demanding an injection of the narcotic Demerol, the only thing that worked for her severe headaches. One night the staff psychiatrist had the nurse give her an injection of saline instead. It worked! He told Jane she had responded to

Vaccines & Autism: A Deadly Manufactroversy

“Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after.” — Jonathan Swift DURING A QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION after a talk I recently gave, I was asked for my opinion about the vaccine/autism controversy. That was easy: my opinion is that there is no controversy. The evidence is in. The scientific community has reached a clear

Science & Morality

Review of Render Unto Darwin: Philosophical Aspects of the Christian Right’s Crusade against Science, by James H. Fetzer. THIS BOOK STARTS OUT WELL BUT ENDS BADLY. It is an awkward compilation of three different subjects: evolution science, morality, and politics. The science is well done. Fetzer begins by explaining the difference between science and religion, the difference between

TheWall Street Journal Debunks the Myth of Alternative Medicine

We frequently criticize the media for gullible reporting of pseudoscience and inaccurate reporting of real science. But sometimes they exceed our fondest hopes and get it spectacularly right. On December 25, 2008, the Wall Street Journal gave us all a Christmas present: they printed an article by Steve Salerno that was a refreshing blast of

The $150,000 Vaccine Challenge

One weird trick to avoid the ‘flu. At the request of a correspondent from the Quackwatch Healthfraud discussion list, I recently got embroiled in a debate with a couple of anti-vaccinationists in the pages of an Amish community newspaper, Plain Interests, published in Millersburg PA. They followed the usual pattern: they told the same old