Snake Oil for the 21st Century

March 11, 2011

CBC aired a fantastic show last night (re-airing again tonight at 10 p.m. EST). The show is called Doc Zone and features Canada’s own Bob McDonald, host of the popular Quirks & Quarks radio program.

In this episode, McDonald visits an “anti-aging” trade show where every imaginable alternative therapy is being flogged to folks looking to turn back the clock. My favorite is the lady who claims that her computer will transfer “pure mathematical code” into your body while you hold two crystals connected to her laptop through a USB port. This, of course, is all based on quantum physics and came to her during a near death experience. But you will also see more popular treatments in the program as well, such as toxin-cleansing foot baths.

After speaking with each vendor, McDonald visits a scientist with expertise in the relevant field to determine what’s really behind the treatment (if anything).

Here’s a sneak peek:

The full episode can be watched here.


  1. One wonders why you can see this is snake oil, but not apply the same logic to religion.

  2. Unfortunately, I fell prey to paying for a “foot detox.” I write about it here. http://evangelicallyincorrect.blogspot.com/2011/03/snake-oil.html

  3. Manufacturers of detox foot pads say that the products draw toxins out of your body while you sleep. Some manufacturers have claimed that detox foot pads also reduce blood pressure, treat depression and aid weight loss. Typically, you’re instructed to stick a detox foot pad on the bottom of one of your feet overnight for 30 days in a row for an initial cleansing period. When you peel off the detox foot pad in the morning, its darkened or discolored appearance supposedly reflects the toxins that have been removed from your body. ”

    Our personal web site

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