By Renaud Vilafranca
Doctolib has done a lot of cleaning! Naturopaths, acupuncturists, sophrologists, hypnotherapists… 5,700 practitioners must leave the platform within six months. Because these well-being activities, open door to many excesses, are in the sights of the authorities, in particular the Interministerial mission of vigilance and fight against sectarian aberrations (Milivudes).
Gurus and charlatans
These so-called alternative “medicines” are not controlled as are the traditional health professions. In the midst of bona fide therapists, hide gurus and others charlatans. How to sort, when these healers of all kinds run the salons, like the one to be held on November 27, in Aubergenville?
In the Yvelines, we interviewed several of them. And if some seem totally in good faith to us, others hold amazing speeches.
This is the case, for example, of Laura (first name changed), “officially” magnetist since 2013. Her “work tool”: her hands, would heal ” burns, physical problems, anxiety attacks, emotional, existential and would facilitate healing.
“I accompany my patients for chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I prepare all the body’s energy to accommodate products that will sometimes burn or disrupt the body. »
An “innate” gift, which she has reinforced through training. At home, the session is charged 85 euros, without guarantee of result. We are free to believe it or not. In any case, his statements left all the doctors we interviewed skeptical.
This 40-year-old is also trained in “shamanism”, an ancestral practice supposed to be the interface between humans and spirits in certain cultures of Northern Europe and South America. This “soul carrier” thus offers “spiritual journeys”, “mourning support”, but can also, more surprisingly, “find lost cats”… “When a person calls me, I can visualize the perimeter where the animal is. We haven’t had the opportunity to appreciate the extent of his talents.
“We must be wary of new-age practices which, in Yvelines, in 2021, were the subject of around twenty reports for a problematic situation. With this quest for spirituality, fragile people reach a breaking point. I have the example of a person who took all his time, all his money and ended up leaving his children behind. Sometimes these therapists exert tremendous pressure on their clients. »
Initiation to ayahuasca is on the rise
In this spirit, shamans secretly offer, in the Yvelines, introduction to ayahuasca, a psychedelic concoction made from lianas, central to the mystical rituals of indigenous tribes in the Amazon. A beverage considered “sacred”, powerfully purgative and hallucinogenic, which has already some deaths abroad. Its consumption is prohibited in France.
“The effects vary from person to person. One can experience very violent visions, be in fear of one’s life. We go into a trance. If the experience is poorly framed, there is a risk of decompensation. If it’s prepared by charlatans, there can be deaths, ”says a participant in one of these shamanic herb initiation courses.
“Radicalization” of minds
“The problem with these belief-based wellness professions is that they are unregulated. There is neither legal framework nor order, and anyone can improvise, almost overnight, as a practitioner. Marie Drilhon, from Adfi 78, also points out that “physical, mental and spiritual health” have long been a privileged hunting ground for sects. “It’s an area where there’s a lot of money to be made. »
She also speaks of a “radicalization” of the spirits, in certain patients of alternative medicine, engrained by unscrupulous therapists. “These people switch to a vision of society so different that those around them can no longer communicate with them. »
How to differentiate the gurus from the good practitioners: “You must first of all find out about the professional’s training and search his website to ensure that he is serious. »
Well-being fair or nonsense fair?
Many of these professionals shun the press, worried about the bad image it might give of them. Paradoxically, these practices, even the most controversial, are well established. very regularly, they exhibit in different “wellness fairs” organized in the department.
In September, Moisson leisure center hosted this type of event. Some of the approximately 90 exhibitors were asking questions. This is the case, for example, of Nathalie, ambassador for Kangen water, water whose molecular structure would be transformed, according to a Japanese method, by an ionization machine sold… at 4,300 euros.
Thus modified, the liquid would have “hyper moisturizing and antioxidant” properties. This well-being commercial, with a well-rehearsed speech, receives a commission on each machine sold and on the sales of the ambassadors it recruitsa bit like a famous brand of small plastic boxes.
4,300 euros for supposedly miracle water
“It’s the price of a coffee a day for twenty years, underlines this woman, also a personal development coach. Many illnesses are linked to the water you drink. I have been drinking it (Kangen water) for three months, my hair and skin look better. It can also partially or totally soothe the pain of people who suffer from chronic diseases. »
In this regard, on its website, the magazine Sciences et avenir pointed the finger of “false therapeutic claims”, citing in particular Martin Weik, biophysicist at the Institute of Structural Biology in Grenoble : “No scientific publication has ever shown the slightest benefit (of this ionized water). »
At this same salon, you could meet Nicole, Bach flower consultant on the side of Bennecourt. These are plant elixirs that would act on the emotions: the vine for authority, impatience for patience, clematis for concentration… Sold at around ten euros a bottle, they would notably make it possible to stop smoking and soothing babies’ night terrors.
“The charlatan character of such products cannot be refuted”, denounced the Union of Community Pharmacists (USPO) in a July 2018 report. “The strongly intuitive and magic-like approaches weaken the patients. It is a product whose consumption is advocated by certain sectarian groups”, also notes Milivudes.
“Bach flowers work on animals as well as humans,” says Nicole, on the contrary. trained online to deliver these products, and who calls himself “openly conspiratorial”. She continues: “There may be a placebo effect. But a customer has never come back to see me dissatisfied and I have no control over them. If herbalists are limited to 140 plants, it is because otherwise it would cause too much harm to pharmaceutical companies. This is proof of the effectiveness of these treatments. »
During our investigation, we also encountered more down to earth practitioners, lucid about the excesses of their environment. carolina, naturopath in Limay“accompanies” its clients in pain relief, weight loss or stress management, through homeopathy, aromatherapy, nutrition advice, or work on breathing.
“People come to see me as a last resort, when they’re fed up with medication. But I would never advise them to stop treatment. There are charlatans in my profession. Those who are into spirituality, totally disconnected from reality, with Buddha figurines in their office. »
“Cure a cold with plants, why not”
“Cure a cold with plants, why not, cancer, certainly not! Charlotte, based in Clayes-sous-Bois, is “wellness massage therapist”. The trained beautician, who has followed an initiation rite in terms of personal development, masters the Thai techniques, Abhyanga, plantar reflexology and the hot stone method at her fingertips.
It offers support for relaxation, conducive to “the elimination of toxins, letting go, reconnecting to the body”, and nothing more, a reasonable price. The sessions are very spiritualized, accompanied by a ocean drum sounda smell of burnt sage and a very zen decorum.
We shot the oracles
The young woman made us test the oracle draw, which she practices with her clients. Sitting cross-legged facing the horizon in the forest of Saint-Nom-la-Bretècheeyes closed, with relaxing music in the background, she puts in our hands a set of illustrated cards, each attached to a personal development advice.
After a few minutes of meditation – where silence buzzes in the ears – you have to pick one at random, read it and reflect on the content. And it must be said, the experience had the expected soothing effect.
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