Woo and pseudoscience are widely practiced in the sporting world.
The many stories yesterday featuring Olympians appearing with cupping marks on their skin have brought renewed attention to pseudoscience in sports. Cupping, which involves putting a hot jar onto the skin, forming a suction that “draws out” toxins or unblocks energy meridians or something like that, might seem like a relatively benign form of pseudoscience, but it can be quite harmful. Orac has a great post (complete with a gruesome photo) describing the harms of this particular practice:
Cupping is nothing more than an ancient medical practice based on a prescientific understanding of the body and disease, much like bloodletting and treatments based on the four humors. As the case of Lin Lin shows, it’s all risk for no benefit. It has no place in modern medicine, or at least shouldn’t.
I’m completely unsurprised to find that pseudoscience is common among the elite athletes competing in the Olympics. I’ve seen similar…
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