The Return of the Snake Oil Salesman

2 Aug

snake-oilThe thing about humans is that we always need answers. We need a reason.  Even when there isn’t one.

Religion is a popular medium in which people engage in to protect themselves against the unanswerable questions. Often they find comfort in, ‘well it’s Gods will’, ‘the lord works in mysterious way’, ‘it is a message from God to test our resolve’ and my personal favorite (usually when the priest can’t explain anything), ‘just have faith’ .

This has worked for thousands of years and for millions of people and still works for many today. But with the ever-changing world the faith in the church has begun to wane and people are seeking answers elsewhere.

Psychics have always had a place in society but in the last few years have enjoyed a resurgence. I never saw this coming. But I am sure Sinbad the psychic did.

Educated people are visiting psychics . In a desperate attempt to find answers they seek the help of a person that can see into the future. All for a small sum of $150. Bargain!  If I was the psychic the first thing I would predict is that this person has trouble saving money. If he/she is willing to pay $150 to be bullshitted to then I  would predict that this isn’t their first foray into this kind of nonsense. What is even more relevant is, that if this person could really predict the future (with even a 50% accuracy rate) I am sure they wouldn’t be dressed in hemp pants sitting in a dimly lit room in the back streets of Newtown, charging $150 bucks.

The thing I love about psychics is as soon as you ask some real questions like, ‘what are the lotto numbers going to be’ all of a sudden their psychic reception becomes cloudy.

 ‘Oh it doesn’t work that way’.  

Where have I heard that before? Sounds exactly like the local priest.

The reason it ‘doesn’t work that way’ ‘is because it is absolute bullshit. You can’t get definitives because if they give a definitive then they stand a huge chance of being wrong.   Highlighting just how far from reality they are.


Throughout history there has been elixirs and potions that have’ cured what ails you’. Some legitimate and most, simply sugar and water. Accounts of snake oil salesman in the western parts of the United States have always amused me.  I can’t believe how gullible people were back then.  But how far have we really come?

Naturopaths are the current day ‘snake oil salesman’. There are a flood of these quacks that push alternative treatments to the sick and incurable. Now I am sure there are some responsible Naturopaths that don’t prey on the hope of desperate people but who is regulating the industry?

This is from the

‘Australian Naturopathic Website’ FAQ’s section.

Can’t anyone start a “professional association”?

Yes, but rationalism applies here.

Can’t anyone call themselves a Naturopath?

At this point in time there is no legal restriction on use of the term Naturopath – so basically anyone can hang out a shingle and use the term to refer to themselves.

Is there any form of  statutory registration for naturopaths?

Naturopaths are not statutory registered practitioners in Australia.

Isn’t naturopathy just a placebo?

The role of the mind in the control and cure of illness and disease is the subject of some research. It is generally accepted that the mind can definitely play a role in an individual’s health. We believe that the time a naturopath takes to listen to a patient certainly aids the healing process.

The answers to these questions are laughable! Genuinely sick people come to these people for help. All I gather from this is that they are a bunch of unlicensed bullshit artists that try to convince you that alternative therapy is a solution to your problem.

But they must know what they are talking about, they are wearing a white lab coat after all!

‘Oh I see your problem’. This is common. Just buy these 5 or 6 bottles of bullshit for an over inflated price. Don’t eat bread and stay away from dairy. That should sort it out.

‘If it doesn’t work, come back and I will sell you another set of placebo related pills that won’t work either. Oh and here is the card to the psychic I go to. He is amazing. He predicted that I was going to come into money and ever since then I haven’t gone wrong.’

Steve Jobs is a guy that is currently reaping the benefits of natural therapies.

Jobs refused surgery after diagnosis and for nine months after, favoring instead dietary treatments and other alternative methods. Isaacson says that when he asked Jobs why he had resisted it, Jobs said “I didn’t want my body to be opened…I didn’t want to be violated in that way.” His early resistance to surgery was apparently incomprehensible to his wife and close friends, who continually urged him to do it.

But there seemed to be more to his resistance than just fear of surgery.

“I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something,” Isaacson told CBS “if you don’t want something to exist, you can have magical thinking.


Jobs was a brilliant man and a visionary which probably made him susceptible to this kind of thinking but who was the person enabling this nonsense? Michael Jackson’s doctor has been jailed for over diagnosing prescription drugs that killed Jackson. Where is the bloke that prescribed the juices and bee sting therapy to jobs? Isn’t that person just as responsible?

I have heard Naturopaths are great at giving out dietary advice. I will give you the inside word. Book an appointment with a Dietician/nutrionist and you will far better off.


If these psychics, naturopaths or alternative medicines give people hope or comfort then why do I care? I care because it only serves to dilute the person’s reality and in turn takes them further away from real healing.  To be able to understand your problems physically or emotionally and face them will serve you better in the long run than hiding behind witch doctors, tarot card readers and snake oil salesman.

At the end of the day people want to be lied to. It is easier that admitting the truth or dealing with reality.  The reality is there will always be the inexplicable, shit just happens and you just have to put one foot in front of the other keep moving forward until that day comes.

Next time you think about visiting a psychic or a naturopath, take the money you were going to spend and donate it to the homeless or even better donate it to the cancer council. I can guarantee that money will be well spent.

Don’t smoke, drink in moderation, eat in moderation and exercise.

How is that for a definitive?


Rant on,



2 Responses to “The Return of the Snake Oil Salesman”

  1. Fiona August 2, 2013 at 4:02 am #

    You can add chiropractors to the list. I’m all for the odd crack for a sore back…..if it makes you feel better…….. but some of them reckon they are a better option than going to the family GP, claiming to use spinal manipulation to treat asthma and other ailments and diseases unrelated to the spine. That is an entire industry based on anecdotal evidence.

  2. Dalrena March 9, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

    Thank you for this. I’m so sick and tired of people spouting that a naturopath healed them. What utter bullshit. They healed them of having a fatter bank account.

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