Skeptical Fails and Wins This Week

Hey there skeptifans. Here are the media Fails and Wins you sent me this week.

I like some heavy metals with my pedicure.

Study Debunks Ionic Footbath Detox Claims
Scott spotted this win in the Epoch Times. You may have heard of these ionic footbaths that claim to suck toxins out of you through your feet. The water turns brown as you use it, making it appear to be working. Some researchers tested out the baths and found that there was no difference between running it with feet in it, or without! The toxins were coming from parts of the bath, and in fact would serve to expose people to dangerous heavy metals. But the irony is that the research was done by a group of naturopaths! If only they did the same types of tests on the detox methods they recommend.

MS Wars: Hope, Science and the Internet
The Nature of Things did an episode about Liberation Therapy for multiple sclerosis. We have followed the story of this therapy in the Fails and Wins since it first started making the news. The internet played an important part in what happened with this therapy. Doctors in areas with less strict medical rules rushed to start performing the surgeries, and patients spent thousands of dollars getting there. People put pressure on politicians to run trials, undermining the normal process. And all the while, there was no real evidence it worked. It’s an interesting and somewhat tragic story. Thanks to Lorne for sending in the link.

Trusting my meat — and well-being — to alternative treatment

Ann found this Fail. It’s an anecdote about acupuncture, and one of the most anti-science articles I’ve read in a while. The author urges us to trust our instincts, not let science muddle things….go with our guts. Of course, skeptics know that our brains deceive us. We fool ourselves constantly. Our guts let us down all the time.

Did you spot a media Fail or Win? Send it to me at

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  • Melany Hamill

    Melany proudly uses the titles of both geek and nerd. As a science-enthusiast and fan of debate, Melany likes to get her facts straight. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Since then her career path has meandered to its current spot as a project manager at a video game studio. Melany lives near beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. She is not seeking treatment for her caffeine addiction.