Posted by: Ticktock | December 12, 2011

Hollywoo woo

The Babble web site was once a resource for good parenting science. Somewhere along the way, they joined the Oprah bandwagon and went off the tracks. Witness their article on “10 celeb moms who swear by alternative medicine“. The article is an uncritical glorification of unscientific medicine.

First up is Demi Moore who claimed to have used leech therapy to detoxify her blood. Not even the integrative medicine practitioners could agree with her on the validity of that claim…

The thing with detoxifying is that you have to define the toxins, define the mechanism for how those toxins are “cleansed”, and then prove that this purification is happening as claimed. Demi looks so youthful and beautiful, but I’m just going to make a wager that there are better explanations for her hotness than hirudo medicinalis.

The Babble article also claims that Gwyneth Paltrow’s cupping procedures can be helpful for increasing blood flow and reducing stress. As someone who has tried cupping, I can say that the procedure is relaxing (as are any procedures where you lie down in a dark quiet room), but the benefits of receiving circular hickeys are not scientifically evident. And as I’ve pointed out before, medicinal vacuum cups were used by Greek doctors to balance humours (leeches were used for the same thing); the system in Chinese medicine that supposedly explains how cupping works is based on the same fundamental principles of humour balancing (a similarly ancient idea that has no scientific credibility or plausibility).

Finally, I’d like to call attention to Suzanne Somers, who has an incredible story of curing her breast cancer with herbs and hormones. She’s unbelievably compelling when she recounts how she bucked western medicine and defeated breast cancer without chemotherapy. Except, I happen to know a certain oncologist who helped explain that her success at surviving breast cancer with a lumpectomy and radiation (no chemo) was actually quite unremarkable. His article on Somers and her bogus hormone treatments is worth checking out.

We all love to read about celebrities, but when it comes to medical advice, we’re better off listening to the experts.



  1. When the Schmoo was in the oven I leaned on Babble a lot. Sad to hear that they’ve gone downhill.

  2. […] Gwyneth Paltrow. For cupping, for GOOP, for cheating on poor Matt Damon and then killing everyone in Contagion – take your […]

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