Alternative medicine is an increasingly mainstream industry with a predicted worth of five trillion dollars by the year 2050. Its treatments range from reputable methods like homeopathy and acupuncture to such bizarre therapies as nutraceuticals, ear candling, and ergogenics. Alternative approaches are endorsed by celebrities, embraced by the middle class, and have become a lifestyle choice for many based on their spurious claims of rediscovery of ancient wisdom and the supposedly benign quality of nature. As this hard-hitting survey reveals, despite their growing popularity and expanding market share, there is no hard evidence that any of these so-called natural treatments actually work. It reveals how alternative medicine jeopardizes the health of those it claims to treat, leaches resources from treatments of proven efficacy, and is largely unaccountable and unregulated. Bracing and funny, this is a calling to account of a social and intellectual fraud that has produced a global delusion.
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