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Publisher's Summary

Energy medicine. Acupuncture. Superfoods. Healing magnets. What does the scientific evidence really say about these and other "alternative medicine" treatments for personal wellness?

How can we know if a natural remedy is safe and effective? How can people become their own best skeptical consumer of health news in the media? Join neurologist and science educator Dr. Steven Novella for a fascinating exploration of these and other important questions about the truths—and myths—behind alternative medicine.

Perhaps the most important skill to have in this brave new world of ever-changing medical news is the ability to evaluate sources and information, and to think critically about how alternative medicine is marketed, regulated, and used. Dr. Novella takes a rigorous, science-based approach in exploring so-called "popular" and "cutting-edge" trends. Armed with this knowledge, listeners will be in a much better position to assess alternative pathways to physical health.

Dr. Novella’s 10 leading-edge lectures will answer such questions as:

  • Do magnetic fields really have useful biological properties?
  • Why is chiropractic treatment no more effective for pain management than simple physical therapy? 
  • Can brain games truly make one smarter or help in staving off dementia?
  • Can homeopathic remedies, such as those derived from plants and minerals, really cure ailments?
  • Does cupping therapy really help to reduce pain and inflammation, while increasing blood flow?

Dr. Novella provides insights on the ever-widening gap between alternative medicine and scientific medicine, giving listeners the confidence they need to become their own best health advocates.

©2019 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.

What listeners say about The Skeptic's Guide to Alternative Medicine

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  • Steve
  • 08-03-2020

Skeptics Guide to Whatever... Get on Board

Just listen you dumdum. These guys are responsible to their entire audience (highly educated, comprised of engineers doctors and scientists) to get things right, and to miss a fact or interpretation would be the death of their enterprise. If something is even remotely off, the next publication podcast or whatever quickly corrects it. If you want to be right about the world around you, and I just believe it feels right, get on board. You dumdum. ;)

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-12-2019

Alt treatments that do not work

Excellent review about what alternative medicine does not do. I have had so many patients who probably out of desperation and ended up actually worst off trying pseudo science which delayed needed treatment. I suppose we all want miracles but modern medicine has in many diseases done just that. Good audio book !

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  • Michael
  • 12-12-2019

Skepticism Distilled

Doctor Novella offers principles of how non-experts can distinguish medical reality and avoid quackery. His presentation of what science shows is clear and to the point. Recommended.

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  • JHR - Washington DC
  • 20-02-2021

Skeptic or closed minded.

This is not an even handed review of alternative medicine. The author presents very good points but is a little one eyed related to topics like chiropractic, cognitive training and acupuncture that are accepted by mainstream modern medicine. This could have been a great book if the object had been a little more even handed.

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  • JLR
  • 03-08-2020

Misleading.

The short exeurp summarized herbs as medicines and need to be treated as such. Recommends talking to your Doctor for prescription medications you're taking for interactions.

Sounded great. Nope, it's a chapter after Chapter of here, this is whyp they are wrong. Nothing works.

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  • James W. Mitchell
  • 01-07-2020

Essential information everyone should know

The author gives a concise and completely understandable explanation of what everyone should know when seeking medical services and advice. Knowing what are the acceptable science-based practices and being able to spot what is not is essential for choosing the best medical care available. While this subject is definitely not simple, Dr Novella clearly defines what the red flags are for identifying questionable treatments and practices. I feel well prepare, thanks to this guide.

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  • James Reilly
  • 06-04-2020

great primer on alternative medicine

Dr. Novella present a great primer on the major types of alternative medicine, why they're psuedoscience, and how to identify them.

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  • C. Walker
  • 13-04-2021

An interesting look at one mans bias

Full disclosure I am a licensed acupuncturist in the US.

Dr. Novella provides a deep dive into alternative medicine as understood from the western medicine paradigm. Unfortunately he does little to distinguish between studies he is citing and his own opinion.

He makes wonderful observations on herbal remedies and the need for them to be more closely regulated, and has interesting perspectives on medical devices and homeopathy.

Once he reached energy medicine, however, it became clear he was talking (at least on this topic) as an outsider looking in, likely with the most introductory understanding of the topic he was critiquing.

Of course that’s fine, and be honest about your exposure and knowledge of the topic before explaining it or casting your perspective on it.

Why do I say he lacked deeper understanding? First his explanation of “Qi” was inaccurate and reductive. Many westerns confuse with as energy, based off of poor early translations of Chinese to English. However he goes further to translate it to men’s blood, which is wildly inaccurate.

He then has to go into explaining the mechanics of energy medicine not on the merit or theory they’re based on, but rather through a strange straw man argument dealing with a metaphorical child and their favorite toy.

I’ll admit it made me laugh, both with him and at what he was saying.

I’ll continue to update this review as I carry on.

This is by no means a suggestion to skip this course. It is very interesting. Instead, maybe think of this as a lecture to spring board a deeper dive into the wider would of holistic medicine.

Cheers

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  • CHET YARBROUGH
  • 15-03-2021

CLINICAL PROOF

Many listener/readers will be disappointed, if not outraged, by Steven Novella’s criticism of alternative medicine and medical treatments. He notes that many such treatments are untested by properly conducted experiment, and replication. He notes many alleged medical treatments and cures either fail clinical tests or are not tested at all.

The public is forearmed by Novella’s critique of alternative medicine. Be skeptical about what your friend, an acquaintance, a mother, a sister, a brother suggests is a remedy for your malady. Be particularly skeptical of an industry unsupervised by the FDA. Everyone should be wary of unqualified medical treatment, prescribed medicines, vitamins, and herbs. Companies in the field of alternative medicine are not in the business for your health. They are in the business of making money.

It seems prudent to suggest one should reserve a measure of skepticism for all purveyors of cures, even medical professionals. As is true of all humans, medical professionals can be seduced by the desire for money, power, and prestige--even at the expense of those who seek care.

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  • David Carter
  • 07-03-2021

Biased and written with a clear agenda

This book is a love letter to the scientific method. Which is all well and good.. but there are so many thongs that can’t be proved through the scientific method like love.. anyway, this book was dumb and boring af

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  • al
  • 30-07-2020

Everyone needs to listen to this

There are so many people out there who lack a funding grasp of science who fall prey to these ludicrous ideas that it's no wonder that the world at large doesnt listen to experts anymore. Especially when even experts can fall foul of not listening to the evidence and drawing their biased conclusions. The ability to think critically needs to be taught from a much earlier level to save people and their pets from those out to make a quick buck from those who don't but should know better.

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  • Mr W.
  • 22-07-2020

First class insight into alternative medicine

Clear and concise, this course provides an excellent description of alternative medicine and the reasons why it should be viewed with caution from a science-based perspective. Without bias, sound reasoning is given throughout. an excellent course.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-04-2020

Really great!

Fan of sgu and of Doctor Novela. Great book lots of precise information. Specially during this covid19 crisis it is important to have a good understanding of what can and can not be trusted.

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