Pseudoscience and Other Nonsense

There is a word which I see cropping up again and again in regards to ‘alternative’ or holistic therapies. I’m sure you’ve heard it too. Pseudo-science.

This word really irks me.

Why? Because it seems to completely dismiss whatever it’s intended to describe, automatically equating it with nonsense. 

To me, when someone uses the word pseudo-science, they’re saying: Only flaky, new-age, or desperate people believe in this junk. . . 

Pseudoscience_troll

Okay, so maybe I’m just a little touchy when it comes to this term. But I have a feeling I’m not alone.

Here’s the actual definition of pseudo-science. Actually, there are several of them:

  1. a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.
  2. any of various methods, theories, or systems, as astrology, psychokinesis, or clairvoyance,
    considered as having no scientific basis.
  3. discipline or approach that pretends to be or has a close resemblance to science.

And really, these definitions aren’t all that offensive. It’s more how people use the term that bothers me. Like anything not based in science should automatically be disregarded. . .

While we’re on the topic of science, I’d like to fill you in on something else: I love science! You may not know this about me, but I was once a middle school science teacher. I’ve taught the scientific method to hundreds of kids. I wholeheartedly believe in science. But the thing about science is this: it’s always changing and shifting with each new discovery made.

For example, very recently, astronomers discovered there might actually be another planet in our solar system. (Never mind the fact that Pluto was once considered the ninth planet.) We regard science as factual, when in fact, it is not. (how’s that for a pun?) While science has made some amazing strides in the fields of astronomy, medicine, and physics (and probably other areas as well), we still know diddly-squat when it comes to most things.

As Albert Einstein wisely said, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” This should apply to everyone. I know I certainly feel this way.

So again, I go back to this word, pseudo-science. When it comes to medical treatments, many of the modalities which are considered pseudo-scientific have not been widely studied. Drug companies aren’t interested in funding them because. . . well, they simply aren’t going to profit from such a study. These modalities don’ t fit in with the Western medical mentality, where all things should be concrete and measurable. So why study them at all?

Here are a few therapies/ treatments which are usually deemed as pseudo-science:

  • homeopathy;
  • applied kinesiology;
  • chiropractic;
  • cranio-sacral therapy;
  • iridology;
  • magnet therapy;
  • reflexology; and
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine (including acupuncture and acupressure);

How many of these modalities have you used either for yourself or your horse?

There are oodles of people who love to peruse the internet and leave comments on blogs or articles when they get a whiff of something pseudo-scientific. There are even watch dog websites which keep lists pseudo-scientific stuff and all things quackery. I assume these people believe they’re doing the general public a huge favor, so we don’t waste our money or our time actually seeking out some of these therapies.

museum of questionable devices

And I’ll be the first to admit it: there are some quacks out there that ruin it for the rest of us. But let’s face it, there are bad apples in every type of industry. I’d have to say, listen to your gut when seeking out a new form of treatment. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. I’m certainly not going to fork over $200 to someone who says they can telepathically read my brain waves. . .

But I also happen to believe that open-mindedness is a virtue. I possess both the ability to be quite skeptical, but open-minded at the same time. It allows me to entertain new ideas and possibilities, but reject or accept them depending on if they make sense to me personally. This is what happened when I purchased Equine Acupressure: A Working Manual nearly a decade ago. I wasn’t really sure about this whole thing called acupressure, but this book opened my eyes to a whole new world of health and well-being that I’d never imagined before. The concepts behind acupressure just really struck a chord with me. So it was soon after reading that book that I decided to attend equine acupressure school. And my interest in holistic health just seemed to snowball from there.

 

So for all you pseudo-science shouters, I believe it’s time to drop this whole I know it all charade. Because I don’t care who you are and what kind of degree you hold, no body knows it all. I’ve experienced far too many western medical treatments which have failed me and quite a few ‘alternative’ treatments which have not.

And in regards to pseudo-science, I say that this word is nonsense. It simply means that something defies traditional scientific explanation. Maybe that something is total crap, or maybe it’s not. But that should be for each of us to decide.

So I urge you to forth and explore!  Try to learn as much as you can about holistic modalities–both for your horse and yourself. You just never know what could happen. 🙂

 

Ta-ta,

Casie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casie

Hi! My name is Casie Bazay. I'm a mom, a freelance writer, and a certified equine acupressure practitioner.

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19 Responses

  1. Kathryn says:

    I enjoyed this post. I often like to remind people that science is a process of asking questions and seeking answers. We don’t ever prove anything rather we support a hypothesis or fail to. We must always leave room for the unknown unknowns that are out there.

  2. Lynn Reiter says:

    YES, Casie ! I agree completely. I, too, love science but will not just take someone’s word that something works or doesn’t work. If I think something will work I will try it out. The problem with people’s thinking is that the pharma industry has convinced them that ONLY their chemical manipulations could possibly work. That’s a slippery slope, as evidenced by the list of possible side-effects while the smiling actors on the screen are seen ignoring them. Meanwhile things that have been tested by history and used throughout the population are ignored and bypassed for the more expensive chemicals. If things like acupuncture, which has worked for centuries for the Chinese, are still considered pseudo-science then I despair that the Western world has gone off the rails somehow. Science REQUIRES an open mind

  3. Clissa says:

    My daughter is 3 parts through her Naturopathy degree which involves 3 yrs of ‘normal’ medicine & a parallel 2yrs of learning about all the herbal stuff & other alternative therapies, etc. It’s a BIG degree in volume of stuff to learn.
    One of the things she already knew about but learned a lot more about in great detail was all the bad things about soy. Things like how it can travel up the food chain to do it’s damage. It & corn syrup are the 2 main contributors to today’s obesity epidemic.
    So my daughter & her immediate family, our chooks, my horses, several other family members & I are all soy free. Some are also corn syrup free although it is very hard to exclude that from the diet without going completely off all bought food stuffs. Both those are surreptitiously added to almost everything.
    I joined a respected poultry forum to learn more about chook husbandry & commented about the soy free thing.
    One of the main contributor’s comment was that the soy free thing was ‘quackery/pseudoscience’ with zero basis!! That I was denying my chooks valuable & necessary nutrition by excluding soy from their diet. I did get a sample 1kg bag of standard chook food & they won’t eat the crumble part (which is actually the soy component) anyway. So when given a choice, chooks don’t want to eat that crap.

    • Casie says:

      Good for your daughter! We definitely need more holistic doctors.

    • Jody Webb says:

      Ive got a whole list of horses (mostly mares) that were taken off soy because they were showing health issues eating it…its not just the soy, which messes with hormone levels, but its also the fact that most soy now grown is GMO and full of Roundup. Stick to your guns! You’re right about the soy!

  4. Geri Vincent says:

    I have used homeopathy, chiropractic, cranio-sacral therapy, magnet therapy, reflexology and Traditional Chinese Medicine (including acupuncture and acupressure) for myself and our equines. Some with truly remarkable results.
    Because of the powerful relationship of big pharma to medical doctors, I have significant doubts about western medicine. I am sure that some doctors distance themselves from the drug companies reach, but how would you know?
    We employ a holistic veterinarian, are moderate in our use of vaccinations and provide as natural a life as possible to our domesticated equines. Our herd of thirty rarely requires anything more than an annual dental float (which always includes an exam).

  5. Kathy says:

    Well said, Casie! AMEN SISTER!!

  6. Helen says:

    Fantastic article thank you! I have personally derived great benefit from homeopathy, and several other alternative therapies when my regular doctor & conventional medicine were unable to help me. To the point where it’s now what I do for a living!
    It makes me sad when people dismiss holistic options as “quackery” but the tide is definitely turning.

  7. Jessica Lynn says:

    Amen Sis-Star! Having been brought up by a mother who was totally alternative and whole-istic – having always been treated with homeopathy since I was about 4 – and I am now 64, having used osteopathy/ caranial sacral before anyone knew what it was, since I was 4 or 5 and having used both on my children from birth, having used acupuncture on my self and my horses as well as dogs, and not doing vaccines on myself except tetanus, or on my horses, and only puppy and kitten shots with only one rabies on the dogs for a life time — choosing nosodes instead, eating naturally including organic, using probiotics on everyone, guess I can share that the treatments all brought about amazing and lasting results, and having 60 years of knowledge and experience in it, I think the quote from Thomas Edison is the one to look to “The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. ~ ” goes for our animals too!

  8. Jessica Lynn says:

    ohh….I also use the same book of acupressure for my horses and have the photonic red light!

  9. Anna says:

    Excellent article! I love that book too and have incorporated some of the techniques in my treatments with huge success. At the beginning of the book it says to ask the horse for permission to treat it, “what nonsense” I thought, but shrugged and asked out loud to my horse if I could treat her, she turned to look at me and whickered! I nearly fell over! I have 2 science degrees, explain that to me! Lol. Keep up the good work x

    • Casie says:

      That’s funny. 🙂 I remember being pretty skeptical when I first started learning about acupressure too. I was intrigued enough to keep going though. Little did I know that was just he start of something for me. Many of my views on medicine and wellbeing have changed quite a bit since then!

  10. Row James says:

    We had a dog with cancer of the spleen. When our vet said the only option was an operation, we wanted to check out alternatives. My first call was to a friend, a qualified vet who no longer practiced and was a healer. She said she could give Cherokee strength to get through the op, which she thought he would require but to seek a 2nd opinion. Specialist vet didn’t believe he was so I’ll until they did the scan, couldn’t understand why our desperately ill dog was so lovely, and said he needed surgery instantly. We explained about the healing session. They laughed. After the op, we took him straight back for another healing session. Vets were amazed at how quickly he recovered. We told them about the healing. They laughed….. :-/

    • Casie says:

      Glad you did what you felt was best for your dog. Sometimes, a mixture of alternative and traditional treatments can work better than one of them alone. Hope your dog is still doing well. 🙂

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