We all have seen those photos of swimmers at the Olympics with bruises all over their bodies and wondered, “whaaaaaaaaaat?”.
It is an alleged therapeutic technique known as cupping where the therapist places special cups on your skin to create suction to supposedly help with with pain and inflammation and as a type of deep-tissue massage.
The bottom line is that supplements only work if there is a deficiency. If you take in any more than the body needs, the body just excretes it or stores it and it makes no difference except running the risk of an overload or an overdose. You can not “boost” anything by doing it. It also wastes your money, making for expensive urine.
Increasingly, you can see more advice to use zinc supplements to treat verrucae on the foot. Is that advice warranted?
It is disappointing to feel the need to write about ‘Grounding’ or ‘Earthing’ again. I have done it before here and here. Many others have done the same as it is great fodder for skeptical writers. ‘Grounding’ or ‘Earthing’ is still bollocks and made up pseudoscience nonsense. What is disappointing is those who have the benefit of allegedly developing the critical thinking skills that are supposed to come with getting a degree from a University fail to see through the nonsensical claims and blindly share it with no clue what is wrong with it. We have to do better.
I never cease to be amazed just how many people are more trusting of anonymous anecdotes from fellow sufferers of conditions than they are of evidence-based health professionals. From time to time I hang out in social media groups of people who have a particular condition (eg comments here on a plantar fasciitis support group). So many seem to be so accepting of this advice from well-meaning people who can not be held legally accountable for the advice if it goes wrong or does not work. Health professionals who are licensed/regulated can be held accountable.
Often you see advice that is just not plausible. There is no mechanical, physiological or whatever mechanism that the treatment or advice being given can actually work. Yet you see it recommended and you see people advocate for it and claim it cured them. Yet you know that there is no way that it could or would have worked.
Here in Australia most professional sports teams have in place a salary cap regulated by the sports governing body. This means that they can only spend a fixed amount on players. In other countries in other sports there is no such salary cap, so the better clubs just go out and spend more money to buy a better player (and lead to the outrageous payments to players). That activity is somewhat restricted in those sporting codes in Australia that have this cap imposed. What this also drives is a better approach to sports science by those clubs: if you can’t spend more money to get better players, then spend more money to get more out of the players you have. In many areas I see Australia leading the world in sports sciences because of this.
There is, however, a downside to this. This can mean that sporting clubs start pushing the envelope and in some cases, that push may be too far and become illegal (arguably that is what underpinned a “drug” scandal in AFL a few years ago; they pushed the “supplements” so far as it went over the edge). It also means that while they try to embrace the “science” and evidence, they may push over into the pseudosciences.
There seems to be increasing advocacy for the use of cannabis oil (medical marijuana) for plantar fasciitis recently, mostly from what I can see, from those who sell it. If you hang out in some of the online communities for those with plantar fasciitis, you see a lot of very bad advice being given, mostly based on anecdotes. In the last year or so, the most popular advice was to use magnesium supplements to cure plantar fasciitis. This wasall the rage for a while with an extraordinary number of people advocating its use based on it working for them (when we have no idea if it actually worked or not or if it was just a placebo or just part of the natural history or any other explanation). There is no mechanism that I could find by which it could affect plantar fasciitis. More recently, the volume of advice for the magnesium supplements has started to drop off but is being replaced with an increasing amount of advice for the use of cannabis oil to treat plantar fasciitis. Some of the testimonials are quite compelling … if they are true.