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When Websites Peddle Alternative Therapies, How Responsible Are They for Injuries?

August 6th, 2018
By Zach Christiansen of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Medical Malpractice on Monday, August 6, 2018.

JACKSON, Mississippi. Websites and centers that peddle alternative medicine solutions from everything ranging from back pain to infertility are currently flourishing. Yet, when “patients” get injured while seeking alternative therapies, who is responsible? According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, alternative therapies are no longer relegated to California and major cities on the east coast. St. Louis and other smaller cities are seeing a proliferation of therapies like infrared saunas, salt rooms, reiki, and crystal therapy.

Alternative therapies can include everything from Chiropractic care to massage to sauna treatments. While the scientific community claims that many of these treatments offer little to no proven benefit, some seekers of these treatments swear by them. And while sitting in a sauna or having a person rub you with crystals can certainly release endorphins and make you feel better, doctors have expressed concern that some patients with serious illness or cancer might think that an alternative therapy is a viable alternative to medicine and other scientifically-proven solutions.

Patients who seek alternative medicine or therapies should consult their primary care physician before starting any regimen. While many physicians will support patients seeking massages, saunas, and other “feel good” treatments, when these treatments replace medicine, they can become deadly.

Alternative therapies in themselves aren’t the only concern. Websites and magazines sometimes promote alternative therapies without these therapies being fact-checked or proven to be effective. According to the New York Times, Conde Nast and Goop, a new wellness magazine, parted ways when Goop didn’t want its claims for alternative therapies to be subject to fact-checking standards upheld by Conde Nast. According to the Times, the Better Business Bureau began investigating Goop magazine for making claims that its Moon Juice had “life-optimizing” powers. The New York Times reports that Goop now has a lawyer vet all claims made on the website before they are published. Not all websites that make claims for alternative therapies vet those claims, though. People can find themselves in the desert of the internet, unaware that certain claims might not be fact-checked.

Alternative therapies can offer the benefit of the placebo and can even make people feel better, but when used by people with allergies, certain medical conditions, or illnesses, they can pose risks. Individuals have a right to be informed about known risks. Yet, when it comes to alternative medicine, there just hasn’t been enough research done for scientists to fully understand what risks might be present, if any.

If you are considering seeking an alternative therapy, consider speaking to your doctor first. And, if you believe your use of an alternative therapy has led to injury, you may have certain rights under the law. The The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm is a wrongful death lawyer in Jackson, Mississippi who works with individuals who have been hurt due to the negligence of another person or party. Visit our Firm at to learn more about your rights and options.

The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation

1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1050

New Orleans, Louisiana, 70112

Phone: (504) 586-5200

Toll Free: (504) 586-5200

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