Eli5: how are treatments like acupuncture, kinetic tape and homeopathy still a thing, if scientific studies disproving their effectiveness are publicly available to everyone and doctors?

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Eli5: how are treatments like acupuncture, kinetic tape and homeopathy still a thing, if scientific studies disproving their effectiveness are publicly available to everyone and doctors?

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31 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

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Anonymous 0 Comments

People are not always rational.

People believe lots of things which are clearly nonsense. Some people believe chiropractic is real. Some people believe they need to wear their lucky socks or else their favorite sports team will lose.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Many people aren’t scientifically literate, and can’t access the information in these studies.

Furthermore, “get rich quick” scams have always been a thing, because people like to think they’re beating the system and getting easy results. If they’re told that there’s a miracle cure that *the establishment* doesn’t want you to know, some people will try it. In addition, many quacks will make false claims of how X can cure all your ails etc.; actual doctors will be a lot more cautious with their advice, so it isn’t as enticing.

Also, a not-insignificant number of people have medical trauma, and don’t trust doctors or hospitals. The placebo effect and desperation are both powerful things; when people are dissatisfied with conventional medicine, they’ll try other things to get relief.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You know how people used to die in droves from preventable diseases like measles and polio? And then vaccines were invented and people stopped dying? And now people specifically avoid vaccinating kids because it’s a scientifically proven way to reduce the suffering? And measles are back? Well, some people think that “not scientifically proven” is actually better..

Anonymous 0 Comments

Im generally a firm believer in modern medicine, and definitely not a science denier, but literally nothing Ive tried in 30 years has helped me with migraine like the treatment I got from one particular acupuncturist.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Its because these treatments ARENT UNeffective, they are just “as effective as a placebo.”

the placebo effect is surprisingly strong.

combine that with people not understanding their own body’s reaction to the thing, and you get a treatment that “feels like it works” to some who try it.

Then those people recomend it to their friends, and the cycle continues

Anonymous 0 Comments

You actually have the power to answer your own question. You are correct that kinetic tape does not work. How did you know that it does not work? Is it because you read the scientific studies and the balance of research and decide that it doesn’t work? Or do you just know people who you trust and who taught this to you, and you accepted it uncritically?

With the answer to that question in mind, consider that you’re incorrect about acupuncture. There’s a lot of evidence it does work! Here’s a thread from /r/medicine where a number of people [discuss the evidence](https://www.reddit.com/r/medicine/s/WF4yWTLfcj). As right as you are about kinetic tape, you’re wrong about acupuncture.

People like to say that the people who believe in these homeopathic treatments don’t look at evidence. What’s worth considering is that the people who understand these things *also* don’t look at the evidence. Including you! (And me!) Instead, we tend to listen to recommendations from people we trust. Personally, I know many doctors and have many experiences that leads me to trust them. But these experiences are not things like “I quizzed them on anatomy and verified their expertise,” they are things like “my half brother is a doctor” and “my doctors have always been kind and empathetic”. These are not rational and logical, they’re emotional. And by a similar token, I can empathize with those who *don’t* trust doctors for similarly irrational reasons. Maybe you should too.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Ok, so this is a weirder one than you think. How people get things wrong in “that way” rears its head in other ways. Take your question: why do people incorrectly and irrationally declare things as disproved by science when they aren’t?

Like you confidently declared 3 categories bunk. But the first one you mention is scientifically studied and validated as real, evidence based medicine. You lumped acupuncture in with homeopathy. Why would you do that? Science validates the medical efficacy of acupuncture, even if its mechanisms are mysterious and may be as simple as “stimulating pain receptors with needles excites the brain to heal the body better”. Or whatever other reason it can work.

We don’t know why you thought acupuncture is in the same realm of fake as homeopathy. A small amount of scholarly research would have prevented you from making this error. But you have a bias, for whatever reason.

Similarly, other people come to their biases in all kinds of ways. Some because placebos do sometimes heal, and people want to believe it’s mechanistically medicine. Or, someone has better knowledge than the mainstream on one topic and so are willing to believe fake things contrary to the mainstream on another topic. Some people are just contrarians. Some people need these things to maintain their religions. Some people just never paid any attention. Some people can’t weight, rank, and compare categories. A lot of people have been failed by the medical establishment and come up with all kinds of theories in response.

People are wrong about known things for all kinds of reasons, confidently wrong. The existence of doctors not believing in homeopathy won’t deter loads of folks from swearing by it. Nor will the studied efficacy of acupuncture stop many people from prejudging it to be fake.

Anonymous 0 Comments

FYI Acupuncture has been demonstrated in scientific studies to provide benefit over placebo 

Anonymous 0 Comments

There is an anti-scientific and anti-knowledge bend in American discourse and belief. America has a lot of strange religious beliefs and superstitions, and believes a lot of nonsense.