Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Friday, July 16, 2004

Craniosacral Therapy (CST)

I have long since stopped reading promotional literature and so-called "research" for CST. Back when I did it (as well as studying the skeptical literature and talking to colleagues who took the courses), I learned enough to cause me to lose my appetite. Consequently I have never taken any courses that could lead to certification.
My position is the skeptical one. I require extraordinarily strong evidence before even considering extraordinary claims that go against current scientific and medical knowledge. If such evidence is provided, then I must reconsider my position. I have no obligation to debunk the claims. It is the responsibility of the claimee to provide the evidence for it, and so far the emperor has no clothes. Plenty of people, including researchers who are much more knowledgeable than I, have concluded this, and I agree with their line of reasoning.
I have also learned enough about the dangers of placing too much confidence in empirical evidence (IOW, personal experience). When it's the only thing we have, then we have no choice but to use it, but when good science speaks against it, then we must be willing to discount our own experiences as being self-deceptive. We can't always trust ourselves. We must also use the experiences and research of others.
The links here represent my current views on CST:

This summary is pretty good:
"We assess the mechanism purported to underlie the health treatment regime labeled "cranial osteopathy" or "craniosacral therapy." We then summarize all published reports on interexaminer reliability associated with this modality, reanalyze some previously published data, and critique Upledger's often-cited study. Our own and previously published findings suggest that the proposed mechanism for cranial osteopathy is invalid and that interexaminer (and, therefore, diagnostic) reliability is approximately zero. Since no properly randomized, blinded, and placebo-controlled outcome studies have been published, we conclude that cranial osteopathy should be removed from curricula of colleges of osteopathic medicine and from osteopathic licensing examinations." - Steve E. Hartman and James M. Norton