Watch Out for Alternative Medicine Charlatans!

Forget those Crystals

As an integrative medical practitioner, I keep an open mind to new modalities of evaluating illness and treating disease. My interest and pursuit of complementary or alternative medical therapies has led me to selectively incorporate some of what I have come across. For example, in my practice, I embrace acupuncture for the diagnosis and treatment of certain disease states. Also, Traditional Chinese Herbal medicine and western herbs have been quite helpful and marked with successful results for many of our patients. However, there are many who claim to be practitioners of "alternative medicine" who pray on the gullible and ignorant. This fact hit home as never before when I attended and participated in a "Holistic Expo" in Atlanta in mid September this year. I was a guest speaker on the topic of super nutrients in health and longevity and had a presence on the Expo floor to promote my dietary supplement line and integrative practice in Savannah. After viewing over 160 vendor booths and reviewing the list of topics being lectured I was appalled and horrified at what I saw.

To my amazement the bulk of the "practitioners" present at this supposed health (Mind-Body-Spirit) Expo appeared to be charlatans, fakes and quacks. They offered no credentials and held no certification. There was no governing body that oversaw what they offered or preached. What amazed me more were the number of visitors to the expo who were duped into believing there was actually "healing" going on. I view these people as entertainers, but certainly not healers. Many of the vendors offered their services or wares for sale on the spot. A typical "Divine Psychic reading" could cost up to $ 35. A Channeling session with crystals was $ 5 per minute. And people were lining up for this. I was very uncomfortable and very out to place amongst this group. The vendor to my immediate left was comprised of three "healers", a fellow who would sketch your spiritual drawing, and two females, one a psychic, the other a tarot card reader. Across from me was a vendor for a distance learning "institution" that offered "degrees" in nutrition, herbology, spiritual healing and Reiki. To my right was a "massage therapist / channeler / healer" who on several occasions had his victim on a table where he would rub them rather aggressively and wave rocks and crystals over their heads and chest. Yet another booth offered spontaneous healing where practitioners pranced around their victim chanting and waving their hands in an effort to expel the evil forces causing disease. They also showed a videotape repeatedly of a non-surgical way of extracting tumors from bodies seemingly through their skin with instantaneous healing.

Those at the booths (and in the lecture hall) purported to be able to deliver unbelievable health advice from celebrities on the other side (Celebrity Channelers). Many were divine psychics, and one booth offer "aromatherapy" for people & pets. One Native American fellow in Indian garb spoke of "Meeting …