Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine

Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine

by Edzard Ernst, Simon Singh

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The truth about the potions, lotions, pills and needles, pummelling and energizing that lie beyond the realms of conventional medicine.

Whether you are an ardent believer in alternative medicine, a skeptic, or are simply baffled by the range of services and opinions, this guide lays to rest doubts and contradictions with authority, integrity, and clarity. In this groundbreaking analysis, over thirty of the most popular treatments—acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, chiropractic, and herbal medicines—are examined for their benefits and potential dangers. Questions answered include: What works and what doesn't? What are the secrets, and what are the lies? Who can you trust, and who is ripping you off? Can science decide what is best, or do the old wives' tales really tap into ancient, superior wisdom?In their scrutiny of alternative and complementary cures, authors Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst also strive to reassert the primacy of the scientific method as a means for determining public health practice and policy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393069860
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 08/17/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 625,522
File size: 593 KB

About the Author

Edzard Ernst, based at the University of Exeter, is the UK’s first professor of complementary medicine.
Best-selling author and science journalist Simon Singh lives in London. His books include Fermat’s Last Theorem, The Code Book, and Big Bang.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 How do You Determine the Truth? 6

2 The Truth About Acupuncture 39

3 The Truth About Homeopathy 91

4 The Truth About Chiropractic Therapy 145

5 The Truth About Herbal Medicine 191

6 Does the Truth Matter? 236

Appendix: Rapid Guide to Alternative Therapies 290

Futher Reading 329

Acknowledgements 333

Picture Credits 334

Index 335

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Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Trick or Treatment is a must have book for the alternative medicine user: easy to read, honest, fact-based. You might be mad at your alternative medical provider after reading it for not being straight with you, but you will have saved a fortune and perhaps your health.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For several years, Simon Singh has been a prominent and vocal critic of the profiteering, poorly regulated alternative medicine industry in the UK. He wrote this book with Dr Edvard Ernst to present the existing research on the efficacy of the most common alternative treatments. He's being sued by the British Chiropractor's Association in an attempt to suppress his opinion after penning an article in a popular newspaper stating chiropractic isn't an appropriate therapy for ear aches. That much may seem obvious, but the science has sparked a conflagration fueled by billions of dollars of endangered snake oil. Still, some traditional remedies passed the test and are recommended by the authors. As in his other books, Singh makes some discussion of history and science for context, but the overall aim is to educate the public enough to demand professional standards for medical care.
B-2 More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book written by a British professor of complimentary medicine. It consists of impartial detailed description of the available evidence on the safety and efficiency of most widely available alternative therapies : accupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, chiropractics ( and brief notes on quite a few others). If you "believe" or "don't believe" in alternative medicine , don't bother with this book : it is written for people ( general public, not only physicians) who want the knowledge on this subject, not the faith. Very easy to read, minimal use of scientific terminology. I grade the books as Buy and Keep (BK), Read Library book and Return ( RLR) and Once I Put it Down I Couldn't Pick it Up ( OIPD-ICPU). This one is definitely BK.
DirtDoyenne More than 1 year ago
Singh and Ernst take an approach based on evidence for each subject they cover in this book. They provide a brief history of each approach, and discuss case studies and clinical trials with objectivity. This book is a must-read for everyone who is interested in their own health, to help evaluate the alternative treatments and their effectiveness (or not.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
really worth reading this book. Believers in alternative care probably will dismiss it but his case is solid, evidence-based and compelling
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Extremely interesting account of what can only be described as dubious medical treatments that ignorance is keeping available. I have read all of Singh's books and find them wonderfully interesting and eminently readable. I strongly recommend this one.
Lenaphoenix on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the third book I've read this year that examines the evidence for and against alternative medicine, so much of the ground it covers was already familiar to me. Despite that fact, I enjoyed this book a great deal and think it is likely to be the most accessible to those who have personal experience with alternative medicine.The authors take an in-depth look at the four most popular modalities in the alternative medicine world: acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and herbal medicine. They briefly discuss the history and public perception of each before they analyze what science has to say about the true effectiveness of these techniques.The authors are not shy about stating those cases in which science does indicate possible effectiveness of these modalities, such as acupuncture for pain and nausea, chiropractic for low back pain, and certain herbs for various specified conditions. They take things a step further, however, by comparing these treatments with their conventional counterparts in terms of both cost and risk. While chiropractic may be effective for certain types of back pain, it has not been shown to be more effective than conventional therapies, is usually much more expensive, and carries a rarely discussed but very real risk of stroke, leading the authors to recommend against it.Though the bulk of the book is spent on the four most popular CAM treatments, the appendix contains brief summary of their findings for 36 other CAM modalities from Ayuveda to spiritual healing that I found particularly informative. I hope that the authors' willingness to give credit to those therapies that do warrant further study will make this book more likely to be read by those who could best benefit from this information. Unlike the authors of Suckers and Snake-Oil Science, Ernst knows this world from the inside. He is world's first professor of complementary medicine and also a former homeopath. As the authors discuss, the placebo effect, the empathetic nature of CAM practitioners, and the preference we give to anecdotal over scientific evidence are likely to continue keeping the public confused about the true effectiveness of some of these methods. Those who would like to make certain they are getting good value for their hard-earned cash before trying one of these treatments, however, will find this book an invaluable resource.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
His chapter on Chiropractic is all over the place. He jumps from acupuncture to chiropractic to homeopathy. I understand he is trying to present the data available on Chiropractic and its pitfalls, but he blows the risk of stroke out of proportion without reading all the research. He finds the opinion he wants to find and is wrong in many areas during this chapter. After reading it, I was too angry to continue reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is ashame that authors who have not practiced in other professions, even for a short period time, are allowed to mislead the public and patients who seak or required other therapies. Maybe they are foreign or complementary, but, in reference to Chinese, to discriminate and say they are promoting acupuncture so only positive studies are published? Who is the idiot author? The Chinese will be practicing Acupuncture for the next thousand years, despite Western medicine and what we think! It works fot them, 1.3 Billion of them! Who is a racist Simon
Singh or Ernest the MD. And Chiropractic therapies work! Homeopathic treatments are now prescribed and practiced in the U.S.A by many high paid Plastic Surgeons! What about ECT, is that plecebo too? Antibiotic? Do they really work or is it the bodies defenses that kill the bacteria? This book is a damaging way for the authors to make money and mislead the public in their own bias direction.