Pick any given day and you’ll find countless articles all over the Internet, each promising the newest miracle health trend. Some of it sounds like pretty crazy claims that will help you with everything from weight loss to toenail fungus. Some trends are obvious in their need to be ignored, like extreme fasting, while others may sound good while not necessarily being good for you.
Some may be a waste of your time and money. Others may be nothing short of dangerous. Here’s a look at a few of the currently trending health fads:
1. Ear candling. This alternative treatment is supposedly designed to clear the ear canal of such offenses as ear wax, congestion from a cold, general body toxins and other impurities. This is done by soaking a fabric tube in wax then inserting it in the ear. The tube is set on fire, which is supposed to create a suction effect that clears the ear. Unfortunately, research shows no suction is created by this process.
2. Placenta pills. In an effort to prevent postpartum depression, balance hormones and increase milk production, new moms are having their placentas processed, encapsulated and popping the pills to increase energy levels. There is no evidence to suggest that consuming a placenta after giving birth helps with any postpartum issues. In fact, dehydrating the placenta actually destroys hormones and chemicals it may contain.
3. Cupping. While popular with celebrities, this ancient Eastern treatment involves creating suction by placing small glass jars on the skin, usually the back. The suction breaks blood vessels under the skin, leaving a bruise, or big hickey, behind. Supposedly this practice stimulates blood flow and taps into your lymph system to remove toxins. The problem with this treatment is that the circulation system (blood system) and the lymph system aren’t connected this way.
4. Colon cleansing. We all see the commercials for juicers and cleansing. These cleanse diets require you to consume only liquids, with little to no solid foods, for a few days or a week or more. This liquid-only diet helps you lose water weight in the short term but you’ll regain it once you start eating again. In the process, you may lose muscle mass with a decrease in metabolism. Our bodies are self-cleansing machines that don’t need a break from the digestive process in order to free itself of toxins.
5. Extreme fasting. Some get so desperate to lose weight that they will try just about anything that promises rapid success. That’s what the water fast diet, or extreme fasting, does. The person maintains a water fast for a few days or more. This can lead to dizziness, fatigue or potentially fatal cardiovascular problems from an imbalance of electrolytes that can adversely affect your heartbeat. Just like juice cleanses, extreme fasting can prompt your body to break down muscle for calorie burning. While some less restrictive eating patterns may work, such as eating normally for five days while severely limiting calories for two days, eating a healthy, whole-foods-based diet is a much easier and more pleasant way to decrease your weight.