While doing some Papers Past research in a 1905 edition of the former Wairarapa Daily Times, my eye was caught by this:
They just don’t make ads like this any more.
It is one of several large ads for Dr McLaughlin’s Electric Belt that appeared regularly in the Daily Times. This electrified belt claimed to cure…just about everything. All you needed was Vital Nerve Force.
Some of the ads included wonderful testimonials, such as this one, from Mr James Harvey of Ashhurst:
“Dear Sirs,– I am glad to tell you that the Belt is doing me a lot of good. My back is better and the constipation I used to suffer from, and where I used to go three and four days without a motion of the bowels, and would have to be always taking a lot of pills to work me, but since wearing the Belt, my bowels are regular once a day, and I have not taken anything in the shape of medicines since the first time I put the Belt on. Thank God, that is one good thing. My water is clear now after standing, but before, it was like mud.”
Unfortunately we still have quacks, but at least today they’re no longer allowed to include unsubstantiated claims in their advertising.
This should have helped the human race move on from such nonsense, but gullible people are still being taken in by dubious ‘natural cures’ in the form of homeopathy, naturopathy, irridology, reflexology, bowen technique, colonic irrigation, aromatherapy, magnet therapy, colloidal silver therapy, colour therapy, cupping, crystal healing, coin rubbing, faith healing and much more.
Sometimes it is fairly harmless, sometimes there may even be a useful placebo effect, but too often the poor mug patients suffer. First in their pocketbooks and then by not taking serious conditions to real doctors. Like Yvonne Main,the Feilding woman who died after 16 months of irridology failed to cure her cancerous lesion. By the time she saw a surgeon there was a 20cm hole in her head and her brain was exposed. The best the surgeon could do was ease her into a more dignified death.