I started thinking back on a time period in US history where x-rays and radioactive products - sold over the counter and with little, if any, warning label - were all the rage. People would regularly go to shoe stores to have their feet x-rayed, supposedly in an effort to get a "proper fit," and some people recounted tales of how, while waiting for mother to finish her shopping, they would leisurely sit and x-ray their feet over and over again while waiting.
Of course, the big-wigs at the company knew of the dangers of it; they just conveniently forgot to tell those who were working the closest to the material. Funny how that slips your mind ... (To read more about the "Radium Girls" and the horrific consequences of their work, click here.)
As if the toothpaste wasn't enough, radium face cream was also on the market, complete with a very authoritative looking label and a brief mention of "Dr. Curie," whoever he was. No doubt there was no such person, but hey - it sounded good. How could you go wrong?
The authenticity of these products, and the deadly hazards they posed to unsuspecting customers, is why the FDA came into existence: initially, at least, to protect the consumer. (Some would argue about that part today.)
Most of us today would probably say, "How could people possibly fall for that stuff?" I think it's easy, because they still do. I'm sure the FDA has little power to stop people from marketing all kinds of whacked out concoctions and other things, under the guise of being "natural" and healthy.
My mom is retired, but spends probably hundreds per year on various herbal supplements and other items. While herbs in and of themselves do have some merit, depending on what they are and how they're used, sometimes while reading the labels of her bottles I silently freak out a little bit inside. Bovine thyroid extract? I quickly panic and immediately think "Mad Cow Disease!" Of course, so much of what we use, apparently, comes from cow - so if there was a potentially life-threatening risk, we'd probably (I hope) see it in our population by now. A quick internet search reveals a million sites that are either on the fence or in opposition or favor of it - meaning, you may not be able to get any real, solid information.
|Hello - scorched|
Not much of the remains of ear candling even look like ear wax. As a mom who single-handedly wages a war on boogers and ear wax removal with each of my children, I can tell you (from my experience) that ear wax is usually dark and sticky. And that it will eventually, if left alone, work itself out of the canal. Itself. (Did you hear that part?) Not only that, but if you created a vacuum that strong, you'd probably be in such pain from having pressure applied to the ear canal that you'd likely pass out.
Ear wax is good - we know that. Your body produces it for a reason. Some people, like my kids, produce a lot of it, but in order to produce that much it would probably equal the amount two or three dozen people produce: there is no way that much ear wax comes from one person. If it did, it would be so impacted that it would probably be lodged somewhere inside your brain, and the ear drum would be completely covered. But that's just a guess.
And lastly, one practice in alternative medicine that leaves me skeptical is muscle testing. I had no idea what it was (and still am not totally sure, but my BS Detector goes off whenever I hear about it) until a speaker came to our church to talk to us about it.
Yeah, that probably sounds weird. But his story was even weirder.
His wife was suffering from a dairy allergy or some other similarly uncomfortable issues, and they were urged to go to a "specialist" for muscle testing. At first skeptical, they decided to give it a try. Apparently, it worked.
Muscle testing, from what I can understand, is somehow supposed to tell you what substances your body cannot tolerate, for example, or generally evaluate health by applying force to a particular muscle or group of muscles. The idea is that the patient must resist the force that the practitioner is applying, and the differences in muscle response indicate a "weakness" or "imbalance" in the body.
I agree that your body can "talk" to you - by sending you directly to the bathroom if you've had something with dairy in it that you can't tolerate. If you're allergic to something, you will likely know it by breaking out into hives, throwing up, stomach upset or any number of responses. How is, say, holding down someone's arm going to indicate that she's allergic to milk?
The speaker at our church talked about how his wife made miraculous improvement after having this testing done. She could eat at restaurants again, free of embarrassment! She felt great, physically, at least for awhile. Then something changed.
This normally happy couple began to argue. They slammed doors, he said, fighting on their way to church. Something was happening, and they didn't know what - but whatever it was, it wasn't good.
Somewhere along the line they perceived that muscle testing, and seeking out alternative medicine to cure ailments and what not, was negatively altering their relationship with each other, and, the speaker said, with God.
While that sounds like crapola to a lot of people, I've known plenty of people who didn't believe in God or hold any religious beliefs whatsoever to be very aware of an evil presence. Something doesn't feel right, a voice is telling you not to do something because you think something bad might happen, an omen, whatever you want to call it: just a feeling, or a presence. For as much as people like to discount such feelings in their lives, I knew what this guy was talking about - because I felt much the same way about some of the stuff my mom has been into for years.
Her first foray into alternative medicine left me feeling strange - a negative, heavy presence sort of hung over my head every time she gushed about this that and the other. Having her palm read, seeing a "healer," whatever it was - it left me angry and confused every time. Finally I just rejected it outright and said, if this is what she wants to do, fine - but I don't want any part of it. I couldn't even explain it, but it just felt wrong, and shook me deeply to my core. Was I perhaps, even as a teenager, tuning into something more sinister? Was my mom being used by some negative energy, as she likes to call it, presenting itself as good?
Who knows. Definitely something to consider.
I think it's good to accept that medical technology has given us some wonderful advancements in improving our health. Decades ago my sole treatment for my ulcerative colitis probably would have been steroids, and I'm so thankful there are a host of medications I could take, if needed, that would help me. But I don't think it's safe or wise to become a "Pill Nation" like we have, where we think a pill should be used to treat everything. That mind-body connection is important in our understanding that something in our body doesn't feel right, but it can also be very swayed by the power of suggestion. A good dose of skepticism, in either direction, probably wouldn't hurt.
Cosmetics and Skin - A Glowing Complexion
The Radium Girls, Radium Jaw
Eben Byers - died after drinking radium water on a regular basis, for "health benefits"
FDA Takes a Stand Against Ear Candling