Thursday, August 4, 2022

#2555: Ian Bier

Legislative alchemy is the process of turning woo and quackery into seemingly legitimate branches of medicine by giving them official stamps of approval by the political process of licensing, instead of through research, testing and evidence. Proponents of quackery, such as naturopathy and reflexology, tend to push hard for this kind of recognition insofar as the other means of gaining legitimacy (the science one) tend not to produce the legitimacy they want.


Like in Massachusets. Licensing naturopaths in the state gave an official stamp of approval to the practices of people like Ian Bier at something called Human Nature Natural Health. Bier offers homeopathy, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, and a wide range of naturopathic quackery, including various forms of oxygen quackery such as hyperbaric oxygen. He also offers immersion baths, relaxing warm baths that he more than suggests will offer health benefits, especially if the customer is utilizings the extras: “colors can be chosen for various effects, and essential oils of selected herbs are added to deliver a wide array of desired outcomes.” Yes, his formulations are of course vague enough not to be legally actionable. It is, however, pure woo: Apparently, Bier uses “[n]ew immersion bath technology from Germany” that “contains an oil dispersion nozzle which atomizes botanicals and essential oils added to the bath water.” If Bier isn’t laughing at the gullibility of his victims, some producers in Germany certainly are. The essential oils will “be absorbed intensively by the skin”, which, if it were true, would probably be a very good reason to stay far away from them.


He even has a footbath version. No really: Ian Bier offers detox footbaths, which is probably the most thoroughly debunked piece of bullshit you may encounter at a woomeister’s office. Bier, however, claims that it is “used to clear the blood and lymphatic circulations of impurities” (note that he avoids saying that it succeeds in those aims) and backs it up by saying that “[f]or reasons that are not yet understood by science, the soles of the feet have a special relationship to the body as a whole.” And no, that relationship is not understood by science, and that’s not science’s fault. Bier is quick to add that the “relationship has been utilized for thousands of years in reflexology, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.” As has witch burning – indeed, witch burning has certainly been around a lot longer than reflexology. Detoxification, though “among the primary goals of natural medicine systems around the world”, is utter bullshit and most certainly does not “enhance[] recovery of many conditions” beyond a too-heavy wallet and a shortage of fad- and hipster cred. Bier also offers colon cleanses, lymphatic drainage massage, and infrared sauna, since why not? This has nothing to do with reality in any case.


Diagnosis: And yes, in Massachusetts this kind of utter bullshit is considered worth taking seriously. You should probably consider taking your healthcare elsewhere if you can. Ian Bier is a piece of shit.


Hat-tip: Respectful insolence

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