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. . .
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:
- a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.
a 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:
- applied kinesiology;
- cranio-sacral therapy;
- 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.
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. 🙂