February 25, 2009

Wooville, Ontario

   I live in a pretty affluent town. I'm not sure what the numbers are today, but at one time, Aurora housed the most expensive postal code (like a zip code for all you 'Mericans) in all of Canada. So, there's a fair amount of disposable income floating around town. And where there's lots of money, there's always lots of...Woo.
   Just as it doesn't matter if gas is a buck a litre, and their monster SUV gets three and a half miles per gallon, because they can afford it; it doesn't matter how unlikely, or far-fetched a potential health and wellness thearpy is, they can afford to give it a try. Here are a few photographs taken of signs of local businesses.










   Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Chiropracty, Astrology, Accupuncture, Matrix Repatterning (Matrix Repatterning! Sounds like something that would happen in a transporter buffer, doesn't it?) That last sign doesn't even say what they do. You've got to call them to find out.
   Note that these businesses are a but a drop in the bucket in my town. They are simply the ones within walking distance of my house. In fact, with the exception of one, every picture here was taken during a single walk with Shadow.
   "Yeah, but, so what?" I hear you ask. "You said the people frequenting these businesses have money to burn. So what if they waste it on dubious verging on useless therapies? What's the harm?" Somehow I knew you'd ask.

   Visit whatstheharm.net and find out. Remember, alternative medicine that is ineffective is not harmless.


Dan said...

Oh. They do lots of harm. And, being in that sort of area with those sorts of client.. err... suckers gives them a slight veneer of legitimacy in their own eyes.

Thankfully, I think this silly, new-agey woo pretty much peaked 9 years ago with the turn of the millennium. Yes. It's still there, but it seems like people are once again turning away from it in pursuit of things that actually work.

Unfortunately, they are always going to be around in one form or another as people people buy into the sales pitches that these things are safer, cheaper, more effective and what-have-you.

I think we should start a business, though, Paul. We can open up "Reality Clinics" where people can come and learn things like math and languages and science and history and all sorts of helpful things without the annoying burden of superstition. We could make millions, man. And the woo-peddlers and snake-oil salesmen won't know what hit them.

Cathy said...

Matrix Repatterning. Well we all have rights, even to hurt or deceive ourselves - and their rights end where my nose begins. So far, they haven't blown it.

Call me Paul said...

Cathy, I'm not sure I understand your comment. To whose rights are you referring, the alternative medicine practitioners, or their customers?

Yes, their customers have the right to seek out their alternative treatments, but do alternative medical practitioners have the right to make unsupportable claims about their services? This is the big question.

Rebecca Anne said...

Yes, well. You know I don't believe in pixies, and fairies, star charts and the big one, God, so I'd like to say, my logic isn't floating around in Neverland. However, you also know I lean more towards a natural medical practice vs. Western Medicine. I also head to Mexico a couple of times a year for treatment. Maybe the difference between me and the orange man is my Doctor is an actual licenced doctor that intergrates many natural procedures in his treatments. Anyway, Some of the pictures you posted look like a joke, some I'd walk in the door for, I guess it just depends on the situation......

Rebecca Anne said...

Oh, I should mention, on the previous 'quiz' I did allow safe heaven for the two angels in my house against the angry mob which must have cursed me with morality. (I just didn't have the heart to toss them out) But if they had been fairies I would have kicked their flying selves out.....

Anonymous said...

Rebecca Anne said... "However, you also know I lean more towards a natural medical practice vs. Western Medicine."

Can I ask exactly what that means?
Many components of Western Medicine are as natural as anything offered elsewhere in the world.

If you are talking about things like echinacea as a cold remedy, I would have to point out that most of these "natural" remedies have been through scientific trials and failed to demonstrate any effectiveness.

If you are referring to homeopathy, you don't have to make much effort to discover that homeopathy is "snake oil" plain and simple.

Exactly what kind of "natural medicine" are you referring to?


Call me Paul said...


Rebecca has a medical condition that she has had difficulty having accurately dignosed and treated by doctors here. She has found a doctor in Mexico who offers a combination of science based and alternative medicine that seems to work for her. The problem with Rebecca's claims for the efficacy of alternative medicine -and she understands this - is that she has no way of knowing which parts of the combination of therapies she is receiving are being effective for her. However, seeing that she is currently receiving treatment that helps, it is difficult for her to want to explore the matter further. You know as well as I do, that, "if it works, don't fuck with it."

Anonymous said...

I see.

I guess the part that inspired my post was the "natural vs. western" medicine.

This is usually used to insinuate that "Western" medicine is somehow artificial and therefore unhealthy.

As you know, western medicine is simply any medical treatment that can be scientifically tested and shown to ba a valid treatment for an ailment.

Any "natural" remedies which can pass these tests are openly accepted by "western medicine."


Patrick said...

I'm glad to see that apparently massage therapy isn't included in the "bad" practices. I have benefited from it and know many others who have as well.

I'm also a little hesitant to come down hard on chiropractors; while one I went to was originally mistaken in determining exactly where a pinched nerve actually was pinched, it was his follow-up that referred me to a neurologist where more detailed tests could be completed. My general practitioner, by contrast, had suggested a hand brace -- the kind you use to ease pain from repetitive motion injuries -- which likewise wouldn't have solved the problem.

By that scenario, "regular" doctors would be on the same list with the "alternative therapists."

Call me Paul said...


Much of what we consider "bad" about alternative medicine is the common practice of making claims that cannot be supported by evidence. So, massage therapy is excellent for release of muscle tension that causes many problems. It does not, however, have any ability to cure disease, or heal wounds. Likewise, Chiropractors engage in many practices that have clinically proven physical benefits - none, however that cannot also be got from a good physiotherapist. The problem with Chiropractors occurs when they start talking about things like "subluxations," which have never been demonstrated to actually exist.

Jay said...

Paul you live in an interesting neighbourhood. Nice photographic essay on alternative medicine/wellness therapy.

If I did a walk around my neighbourhood I could show you the Bluffs, beautiful lake Ontario and about a dozen motels on Kingston Road like the "Hav-A-Nap".

I've always been pretty healthy and never strayed outside the mainstream healthcare in this country except for one visit to a chiropractor.

I was rear-ended once and hit the steering wheel pretty hard. My neck and back were pretty sore so I thought I would have it checked out. The chiropractor told me that I was fine. He said that most of the people that come to see him are lazy couch potatoes that aren't willing to exercise!

This surprised me so I asked him to tell me more. He said that if most people would walk more or simply exercise, that he would have less patients. Then he asked me if he wanted a "doctor's note" to say that I was injured in the accident and need more sessions that insurance would pay for. I declined and left. I'll never go back to a chiropractor again.