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TOPIC: detox treatments

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Purge At Your Peril: Too Many Detox Treatments Come With Hidden Dangers

Teas, colon cleansing, and even ear candles… the market for alternative detox solutions has never been more lucrative. But as one expert explains, not only are their reported benefits unproven, the treatments can also be dangerous.

-Analysis-

BERLIN — In medicine, the word “detox” means a course of treatment to remove all traces of a drug from an addict’s body. In alternative medicine, however, it refers to any process that is supposed to rid the body of poisons or toxins. Not only is it often ineffective, but it can also even be dangerous.

This definition naturally raises the question: what poisons does a detox target? The answer, ostensibly, is all kinds of toxins that are produced by our own metabolism, or come from the environment, prescription medicines or our diets.

And what kinds of treatments are touted as detoxes? Again, the list is equally expansive: homeopathy and acupuncture, of course, but also various diets, homotoxicology, colon cleansing, ear candles, phytotherapy, cupping, shiatsu, gua sha and tui na.

In practice, it is hard to find any alternative therapy whose proponents don’t believe it rids the body of toxins. The detox myth is now so firmly rooted that even mainstream companies that otherwise have nothing to do with alternative medicine are offering products such as detox teas.

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