A Consumer's Guide to ""Alternative Medicine"": A Close Look at Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Faith-Healing, and Other Unconventional Treatments

Kurt Butler, Author Prometheus Books $29 (299p) ISBN 978-0-87975-733-5
Butler, no stranger to fraudulent health claims and quackery (he was founder and president of the Quackery Action Council) here presents a rogue's gallery of physicians, pseudo-scientists and self-appointed guardians of health, contending that they have taken Americans for the proverbial ride through rip-offs, health misinformation and just plain fraud. Although attacks on these people--who include Stuart Berger, M.D., Gary Null, Earl Mindell and Lendon Smith, M.D.--are hardly new, Butler's message of prevalent health fraud in alternative therapies does bear repeating. In addition to taking swipes at various alternative and New Age therapies, from homeopathy to crystal and faith healing and Christian Science, Butler bears down especially hard on chiropractors, calling them ``masters of doubletalk and weasel wording.'' The media, he says--the Phil Donahues, Oprahs, Larry Kings and Geraldo Riveras--are also to blame for quackery. He hits on consumer magazines, names publishers who in the past have published books he believes are detrimental to health and chides Publishers Weekly book reviews for allegedly promoting suspect alternative therapies. Butler makes helpful suggestions about how to be a smart but skeptical health-care consumer, as well as about what other professionals (nurses, dentists, physicians, pharmacists, ethical chiropractors, librarians) can do. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1992
Release date: 06/01/1992
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