While queer therapies might have a fan following, medical experts are still skeptical about their effects
WHO DOESN‚ÄôT get the creeps when they hear about the leech therapy that Demi Moore is a proponent of? The very idea of 45 leeches gorging on her blood for cleansing and detoxification is off-putting, to say the least. And then there‚Äôs Cher ie Blair‚Äôs experiment with auricular acupuncture, in which needles were stuck into her ears to relieve stress and Gwyneth Paltrow‚Äôs praise for ‚Äėcupping‚Äô which involved placing heated glass cups on the back to ease stress, aches and pains.
Closer to home, we had India ‚Äôs ex-prime minister Morarji Desai drinking his morning urine to cure piles. It turns out that modern Japanese women also enjoy ur ine baths! Beyond the bath, however, you can even get your colon irrigated in Goa . While it is certainly fashionable to be following an ‚Äėalternative‚Äô thereby, whether these actually have any health benefits is questionable. Here we picked a few and put them under the surgeon‚Äôs knife.¬†
REPEL YOUR AILMENTS
The idea that magnets can be curing is ind eed interesting. Magnetotherapy, being practiced for many years, uses magnets to aid healing by influencing the body‚Äôs natural bio-electric currents and immune system. ‚ÄúThis system functions on the premise that illnesses occur due to imbalance in the energy flow within the body. It is remedied by using static or electro magnets with appropriate intensity of magnetic field at different points on the body,‚ÄĚ says magnetotherapist Dr Pradeep Sharma. He is one of many practitioners who believes that electromagnets have a positive effect on the bones, tissues and cells and cleanse the clogged vessels, wash out stones from kidney and even cure cancer in the initial stage. But allopathic doctors rubbish this idea. ‚ÄúThis is not possible. And there is no scientific data to substantiate the effects of magnetotherapy. I believe it is all an eyewash,‚ÄĚ says Rockland hospital‚Äôs internal medicine specialist, Dr M P Sharma. Magneto therapist also claim that it can be used to help patients suffering from headaches, constipation, bronchitis, high BP, haemorrhoids, glaucoma, and many other serious diseases.
There are people who have been helped by magnets and swear by this therapy. 35-year-old Shakun Dagga says it stopped her arthritis from becoming worse. Knee pain prompted her to get a blood test, which revealed the early stages of arthritis. ‚ÄúIn about 20 sessions my joints were back to normal with no pain,‚ÄĚ she says. Others say it worked only as long as they continued to do it. ‚ÄúThe moment I stopped my migraines bounced back,‚ÄĚ says 26-years-old Shipra Mathur.
LONG DISTANCE HEALING
ANOTHER new age therapy is ‚Äėdistance healing‚Äô through Reiki. Reiki by itself is an esoteric concept, an energy healing system which works by ‚Äėlaying on hands‚Äô and is based on the idea that an unseen ‚Äėlife force energy‚Äô flows through us and keeps us alive. The healer through touch uses her positive energy which flows into the patient lending therapeutic benefits. Reiki claims to treat the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. If you are already getting skeptical, you will find it hard to believe that Reiki is now also being practiced over long distances. So the healer could be sitting in the Arctic while her patient is in Cuba ! If this wasn‚Äôt enough, some Reiki healers have become innovative and gone a step furth er and heal a person through ‚ÄėReiki distance surgery‚Äô. In other words you could have discovered gall bladder stones while in Hawaii and your healer sitting miles away would ‚Äėoperate‚Äô upon you using her energy. Wham‚Ä¶ and you are all set to hit those sunny beaches, or that is how they want us to believe it is.
We didn‚Äôt dare to ask a doc about this, lest we get pelted with stones. The question to be asked, though is: If one could really be operated upon over a distance, why have surgeons slogged so many years in medical school to learn to use a scalpel?
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THE POWER OF YOUR PEE
NOW THIS could gross you out, but there are quite an optimistic few who truly believe in the power of their pee. While this was a common practice among holy tantric believers, more than three million Chinese drink their own ur ine in the belief it is good for their health, says a report of the official Xinhua news agency. The drink is also the preferred pick-me-up for naturopaths and other advocates of ‚Äėnature cures.‚Äô The main attractions of this ultimate home brew are its cost, availability and portability.
Many advocates claim that urine is a panacea and there is practically nothing it won‚Äôt cure. It is said to be effective against flu, common cold, broken bones, toothache, dry skin and psoriasis. It is said to deter aging and is helpful with animal bites, asthma, heart disease, cancer, chicken pox and more. With such wondrous properties, it is amazing that anyone ever bothers to see a doctor, considering that the key to good health is literally oozing out of them. Despite its popularity, no credible scientific evidence exists to support these claims. Contrary to what many ur ine supporters believe, it is a waste product. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs simply nothing to be gained by re-consuming to be gained by re-consuming something your body flushes out. Accumulation of urine within the body can cause electrolyte disturbances, infections and in serious conditions it can cause renal failure,‚ÄĚ says consultant urologist, Anshuman Agarwal, RG Stone Urology and Laparoscopy hospital.
However, not everyone can jump right in and start drinking their own urine without side effects. Even the largest pro-urine organisation in the world, The Chinese Association of Urine Therapy, warns against side-effects like diarrhea, fever, itch pain, fatigue, soreness of the shoulder, and infection. Although doctors say that ur emic poisoning doesn‚Äôt cause death, this does not mean anything. ‚ÄúJust because something is not toxic doesn‚Äôt mean it is good for you. Hair is not toxic, either, but it is generally not eaten,‚ÄĚ retorts Dr Agarwal. Drinking of ur ine is not generally accepted by Western medical establishment. Dr. Andrew Weil, noted physician and author of Natural Health, Natural Medicine, points that reports of positive results experienced by users have more to do with placebo effects than with the actual healing properties of urine.
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