Written by Lauryn Smith
Do you believe in magic? Not the magic in a young girl’s heart, but the magic that is alternative medicine. (Sorry, had to.) I never used to oppose the magic of natural remedies, but then I read Paul A. Offit’s accessible and engaging nonfiction book “Do You Believe in Magic?”. Now I am much more leery.
Alternative medicine, which includes things like megavitamins, acupuncture and homeopathy, is not all it is cracked up to be, so says Offit in his well-researched, objectively written book on the matter. In fact, Offit presents insurmountable science-based evidence that many forms of alternative medicine do more harm than good.
The events Offit chooses to portray in the book illustrate why alternative medicine has become widely accepted as a desirable alternative to mainstream medicine. To many, it is definite, spiritual, meaningful and empowering, and it stems from ancient wisdom... right?
Offit explains that there is no evidence that alternative medicine does what it claims to do, that is, heal. I repeat, no evidence. Zip. Nada. Goose egg. (No, personal testimonials do not count as evidence.) In fact, Offit shows that the few studies out there—blame the scarcity on politics—often support the exact opposite. The evidence is not limited to a single arena. Chiropractic manipulations can result in torn arteries. Supplements can cause psychosis, heart arrhythmias, brain swelling and other problems. Megavitamins can increase the risk of cancer.
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