We’ve all seen the old Western movies where the charlatan rolls into town the day of a hanging (or Presidential inauguration), puts a sign on the side of his horse drawn wagon and starts hawking bottles of his cure-all Snake Oil to the gullible crowd of onlookers. But that’s just in the movies, right?
Hardly!! Charlatans walk the earth in ever growing numbers, but they no longer sport black hats or greasy handlebar mustaches. Modern day villains attach their nameplates to doors on Wall Street, Sedona, Munich, Toronto, Buenos Aires, and Rio or right down the street in the local alternative medicine clinic. Here’s how to spot them:
Targeted Marketing: Make no mistake; these folks are in business to make money. Who has money? Not the poor and downtrodden. You won’t find these guys in the ghetto. Instead, the pseudo health care worker offers his or her medical marvels in upscale venues. You will find modern day Snake Oil vendors in affluent neighborhoods, resorts, and areas famous for “natural healing.”
It Ain’t Cheep: Snake Oil – no matter what it’s called these days, costs of LOT of money. These “healers” charge a fortune for their products and services and most insist that a series of treatments (cash only please) is required for a full recovery.
Ancient Secrets: Be on the look out for cures that link their efficacy to medical practices from ancient China, India, Atlantis, Aztecs, Mayans and Native Americans. The new Snake Oil vendor presents himself as an explorer who has discovered lost secrets that only he/she can use to cure what ails you.
Medical/Scientific Terminology: Doctors and nurses occasionally use unfamiliar multi-syllable vocabulary words to describe bodily functions, tests or pharmaceuticals. Pseudo science health “professionals” always do. Keep your ears open for words like Homunculus, high-energy chelation balance, chi and chakra interventions, quantum photonic therapy and targeted DNA manipulation.
Highfalutin Names: Another dead give away for a Snake Oil con is a business name that promises otherworldly success like the Dalai Lama Healing Center, New Science Alternative Medicine Center, or Holistic Energy Treatment Guru. If it sounds to good to be true – it is.
Spinning Statistics: If you want proof of the efficacy of $nake oil, you have only to ask your new health care provider – and you will be inundated with testimonials from cured patients, “scientific” study results, and expert opinions to back up the miracle effects of their products or services. Please note: There will be NO peer reviews, no articles from any journal with a reputation for truth, and no newspaper articles about the health benefits of the treatments. Also the self-published statistics will never include charts for a “control group.”
Conspiracy: But you will hear all about the government, establishment, medical community, and drug company attempts to discredit Snake Oil and keep it’s benefits from getting to those who need it. Listen for this conspiracy argument. It’s another clue in the deception plan.
Not all medical doctors are scientists with sincere interest in your health and well-being. Not all alternative medicine practitioners are liars and thieves. But the charlatans do adhere to the above. Be warned! And enjoy your Snake Oil.