One of the explanations frequently cited as to why an otherwise intelligent individual espouses one or other of the many CAM therapies out there is that it is an old and trusted traditional remedy or therapy, and must in some quasi-bonkers reasoning work in some way that is as yet unknown to modern science. The excellent Quackometer blog site has a couple of postings that, by and large, put the lie to this curious notion. In the first, concerning Hopi ear-candling, it seems that the technique is a recent innovation, and the links to the poor old Hopi are spurious to say the least. A follow up blog entry, The Age of Quackery, describes the origins of Reiki, Reflexology, QiGong, Applied Kinesiology, Bach Flower Remedies, Aromatherapy, Homeopathy, Osteopathy and Chiropractic, and Acupuncture.
The best quote here has to be from the originator of Osteopathy, who said he could “shake a child and stop scarlet fever, croup, diphtheria, and cure whooping cough in three days by a wring of its neck”. As the Quackometer says, this could have been a line from The Simpsons.