It’s been a year already?

Posted December 15th, 2010 in Site Update by Clint

So today happens to be the one-year anniversary of Brain Over Brawn‘s publication (it’s also my birthday, how about that).  Due to that, I felt it was a good time to get in a post.

First off I’d like to apologize for the unannounced hiatus. Due to excessive travel, trials and tribulations and a focus of effort on other aspects of promoting the book that have had more feedback, a week turned into a month turned into “wait what?” Additionally, sorry to those who have been continuing to send the link to their friends who then check the front page and are like “wait, is this guy dead?” The numbers say they read it anyway, and I trust they’re glad for doing so.

Let me reassure you the book is still relevant (as downloads and sales will attest), and that I have returned (although advance warning, I’m about to go out of town again so updates won’t be as frequent until the new year).  Throughout my blogging absence I have continued to invest a significant amount of time responding to email and interacting with communities that foster discussion about the book (I’ll be changing up a few aspects of that as well to try and free up more time for a broader audience).

Let me also take this opportunity to mention Brain Over Brawn makes an excellent Christmas gift (Amazon is stocked up), especially for those who have announced their good intentions for their New Year’s resolution. What better gift than to help a friend or loved one get past all the last-night infomercial jazz and get right to what actually makes a difference.

Let me also say that if you’re waiting for the New Year to get started… you don’t have to. Getting started today is 2 weeks’ of poor eating and exercise habits that you won’t have to undo, and will get you a month or more closer to your goals. Start today.

Either way, best to you and yours. We’ll talk again soon.

Quacks II: Beyond Chiropracty and Personal Trainers

Posted February 22nd, 2010 in Uncategorized by Clint

Lately, the fact has come up that I had carelessly namedropped “reflexology” in an otherwise (hopefully) respectable and science-driven book. In retrospect, this was probably an error. On occasion, I let myself get excited about various pilot studies that come out with quantifiable results from deep tissue massage as complimentary therapy, and the NIH (and science in general) tends to classify foot and/or hand massage as ‘reflexology’. So that’s what I call it. However, I do not take any stock in the “Reflexology” as in a systematized practice of massaging pressure points in an effort to cause internal responses in the body and organs or redirect energy or chi or ki or whatever you want to say.

I don’t mean to simply to distance myself from it. I expect any ‘science’, especially medicine or wellness related, to apply the scientific method to its study and findings as strictly as is possible (I understand fields that aren’t “hard” science like sociology and political science have a tougher time adhering, but I respect those that do their best). Disregard for scientific method is often because the systemizers wish the results to reflect the theory and not the other way around.

I used to be ambivalent to quackery; live and let live, if it makes someone happy then great, whatever. But apathy is not suitable, since if someone profits by pushing quackery it not only encourages more ‘believers’, but putting money and thereby ‘success’ into such a practice also perpetuates by convincing some said believers (or less scrupulous hucksters) into following suit, buying the books, practicing, preaching, and perhaps believing whole-heartedly in the schtick themselves.

Reflexology, astrology, phrenology, magic spells, power crystals, magnets, gimmick diets, all junk. All claptrap and hokum designed to sucker in the gullible for a dollar. Science has enough work to do actually figuring out what’s going on without the necessity of fighting against all the silly crap we’ve accrued over the centuries and millenia. That’s the same type of misinformation problem “Brain Over Brawn” itself was written to address, and I have no intent of feeding into it, even with a single careless sentence.

While I am open to the possibility there are bits and pieces of Alternative Medicine that may be useful as complimentary therapy, there are two very real dangers from any kind of such practice: The first is if they provide false information, such as saying that someone doesn’t have a problem in an area they actually do. The other and worse is when it is substituted as “real” treatment and a person forgoes (or forbids another) from receiving scientific medical care in favor of some ‘mystic cure that the fatcats in Washington don’t want you to know about’. There are certainly flaws with the current state of health care, but overall it does an incredibly greater amount of good than harm. The same cannot be said about any ‘alternative’ medicine… at least not in any way verifiable by a double-blind study.