Cupping and colonics: GPs expose top 10 most useless celebrity-inspired health therapies
By Fiona Macrae
Last updated at 8:24 AM on 11th November 2009
Celebrity backing has been the making of many an alternative health treatment. But some of these fads are a waste of time and money and could even be dangerous, according to doctors. Four in five women splash out on alternative treatments used by the rich and famous even though there is little or no evidence that they work, research found.
Some could be putting their health at risk by choosing 'therapies' favoured by celebrities over a visit to their GP. Cupping, a form of acupuncture in which heated cups are placed on the skin to stimulate blood flow and ease stress and pain, tops a list of 'health hoaxes' identified by GPs.
It has been used by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, but studies have shown that the evidence it works is far from conclusive.
Second on the list is colonic irrigation, in which a large, water-filled tube is used to 'cleanse' the bowel. Actor Ben Affleck has tried it, but there is no medical or scientific evidence it works, according to the NHS Choices website.
In third place is food intolerance testing, which singer Geri Halliwell has tried. Kits can cost up to £275 but the results are said to be highly variable.
The others in the top ten are: 4 detoxing; 5 macrobiotic diets; 6 aromatherapy; 7 reflexology; 8 vitamin B12 injections; 9 extreme yoga; 10 overnight health farm stays. The list was compiled by insurance firm Aviva from a survey of 200 GPs.
Dr Douglas Wright, of Aviva's health arm, said: 'Too many women are wasting money following health fads that have little effect. 'What's more worrying is that some are opting for treatment trends rather than seeking medical advice - they might not be fashionable but tried and tested health routes are safer and more beneficial.'
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