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Quackwatch is not a valid source
Use of Quackwatch as a source
An Amendment to a previous ArbCom finding has been made. In the process, important observations were made about the use of Quackwatch as a source.
Other significant discussions can be found at:
-- RS/N: Usage of Quackwatch as RS in medical quackery
-- RS/N: How can Quackwatch be considered a "reliable source"?
-- DR/N: Medical uses of silver
Alexbrn, Wikipedia has this pillar:
Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view: We strive for articles that document and explain the major points of view, giving due weight with respect to their prominence in an impartial tone. We avoid advocacy and we characterize information and issues rather than debate them. . . . All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy, citing reliable, AUTHORITATIVE sources, especially when the topic is controversial or is on living persons. Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong.
- When it comes to quackery, like CST, QuackWatch is a high-quality source. Our policy on fringe material requires us to be up-front in labelling it as such, to be neutral. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 16:11, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Did you read the links that you posted to me? It is not a "high-quality source" but rather a suspect one. To use terms like "pseudo science" and "quackery" on this page is highly prejudicial and violates the neutral tone goal. If you want to make sure that Cranial Sacral therapy is properly critiqued here, present peer-reviewed articles from scientific journals, not the words of one man, Barrett, with an ax to grind.
You write, "When it comes to quackery, like CST, QuackWatch is a high-quality source." It is your opinion that CST is "quackery." But Wikipedia clearly states, "Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong." You are trying to put forth your own point of view. Oakbranch8 (talk) 16:29, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
- CST is silly, read the source. We don't indulge WP:LUNATICCHARLATANS here. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 16:40, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
Alex, you are NOT abiding by the terms of editing this site! From Wikipedia: "Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong." If you have peer-reviewed articles from journals to cite, then do so. The term "quackery" is not even a scientifically valid, verifiable term. You are making Wikipedia in to your own advocacy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Oakbranch8 (talk • contribs) 16:47, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
- Dunno why you're mentioning personal views. Here, we follow the appropriate sources, they give us the info we relay: CST is a load of bollocks practised by quacks. Without new sources this discussion is futile. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 16:51, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
"Dunno why you're mentioning personal views . . .CST is a load of bollocks practised by quacks." Is that not a personal view, Alex? The article is supposed to have a neutral tone, and you want to add unscientific, inflammatory language to the mix to bolster your own opinion. That is not what Wikipedia is for. "Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong."Oakbranch8 (talk) 17:03, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
- Quackwatch is a perfectly valid source for quackery and related subjects such as this. What a joke it is. Stop wasting our time treebranch, and learn to use colons correctly. -Roxy the dog™ (resonate) 18:34, 15 February 2015 (UTC)
- The tone of the article is supposed to be neutral. Do you know that means? A word like "quackery" is NOT neutral. It is not even scientfic. So do not tell me to leave. You and Alexbrn are the ones violating the policies of this site: "Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong." In other words, if you hate cranial sacral therapy (which you know nothing about), then that is not supposed to be part of your editing process. This is not a site for people to come on disparage things they hate. Either be commited to neutrality, or leave. Oakbranch8 (talk) 20:10, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
- Oakbranch8, it is you who misunderstands the policy on neutrality. We are specifically instructed not to attempt to provide "equal validity" - indeed, the policy requires us to identify pseudoscience as such. As noted at the top of this section, quackwatch has been extensively discussed and identified as a reliable source of information regarding what constitutes medical quackery. VQuakr (talk) 03:44, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
I wonder if the amount of attention given to this inflammatory criticism is really WP:DUE, however. Most CST is done by licensed physical therapists, for conditions like pain. I'd never heard that it was alleged to do anything for cancer, so it feels very weird to lead with a statement that it doesn't work for something that nobody uses it for. In fact, the ACS page goes on to say, "Promoters claim this therapy can be used to help relieve headaches; neck and back pain; problems with the temporomandibular joint (the hinge of the jaw, often called the TMJ); chronic fatigue; poor coordination; eye problems; depression; hyperactivity; attention deficit disorder; problems with the central nervous system, the immune system, and the endocrine system; and many other conditions", which doesn't mention cancer at all. So nobody seems to say that CST is used to treat cancer (other than as a relaxation technique, and I imagine that many cancer patients would thereby receive significant psychological benefit from that), and therefore saying that it doesn't kill cancer cells, or namechecking ACS at all, is probably UNDUE.
The quality of most of these sources is low. For "pseudoscience", we're citing:
- PMID 15208545, a letter to the editor
- PMID 15537794, another letter to the editor
- PMID 16762070, a nine-year-old "my opinion" paper in a Chiropractic and Osteopathic journal
- doi:10.1037/0735-7028.37.5.515, a nine-year-old opinion survey in a psych journal with an impact factor of 1.2.
That last one, by the way, does contain the word pseudoscientific, but never uses it to describe CST. In fact, it only mentions CST in a very narrow context: the psychologists surveyed, on average, said that CST was probably considered discredited for treatment of anxiety and depression. That's rather different from saying that it's pseudoscience, or even that it's discredited in general (e.g., for pain). What it says about pseudoscience is this: "Recently, several authors have attempted to identify pseudoscientific, unvalidated, or “quack” psychotherapies" and "Psychological science tends to be self-correcting in that its foundation lies in empirical evidence (more than most professions, anyway). As a field, we have made progress in differentiating science from pseudoscience in the prac- tice of psychology."
For "quackery", we're citing:
- QuackWatch, where the label "quackery" comes from a highlighted reader comment(!), rather than from the authors, and
- ISBN 0683301497 from 1999, which doesn't exactly say that. What it actually says is this:
"Myofascial and somatoemotional release and craniosacral therapy are techniques that are founded on the notion that the fascia spans the entire body. A scar in the fascia can thus provoke pain elsewhere in the body. Craniosacral therapy is based on the idea that the cranial sutures are capable of movement and that spinal fluid has a rhythm of its own that can be felt by the experienced therapist when palpating the cranial sutures. Somatoemotional release is a technique that regresses patients to what is thought to be their initial trauma. Having the patient relive the trauma is considered therapeutic. We found only one study (39) in the peer-reviewed literature on these techniques. The study compared myofascial technique with a conventional technique and found the conventional technique to be superior. At best these techniques can be considered quackery that may provide a relaxation response; at worst they make the patient more dependent and disabled. Somatoemotional techniques in chronic pain patients should be avoided. Tinkering by a physical therapist with a patient's emotional past is dangerous unless the physical therapist is also a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist."
I can see that the words craniosacral therapy and quackery are in the same paragraph, but I can also see reviews like PMID 10709302 and PMID 9243408 that are listed in PubMed and that ought to have been found by anyone who was asserting that this subject isn't mentioned anywhere in the peer-reviewed literature. I think this 16-year-old book is both too vague and too outdated to be useful.
I think it would be better for the lead to say something like this:
|According to the American Cancer Society, although CST may relieve the symptoms of stress or tension, "available scientific evidence does not support claims that craniosacral therapy helps in treating cancer or any other disease". CST has been characterized as pseudoscience and its practice has been called quackery.||Craniosacral therapy may be relaxing or relieve symptoms of stress or tension in some patients, but there is no scientific evidence that it is an effective treatment for any specific diseases. The original idea about its mechanism is biologically implausible and has been discarded even by its proponents.|
I think we could reasonably cite PMID 16762070 (the opinion-ish paper) for this.
If we've got a truly NPOV paragraph, then all sides should be able to see their POV being fairly described. Does this sound like a plausible compromise to everyone? Do you think that one side is being unfairly described in this proposal? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:34, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
- while i like you proposed language a lot (except for the word "patients" with should be "people") I reject your formulation that "If we've got a truly NPOV paragraph, then all sides should be able to see their POV being fairly described." NPOV does not mean that. Jytdog (talk) 02:21, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
- I agree with Jytdog. Also, NPOV does not mean neutral "language". This is a common misunderstanding. It means editors remain neutral and do not censor content. NPOV is aimed at editors. -- BullRangifer (talk) 19:36, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, the proposed suggestions do seem reasonable enough to me. It's important that we do not overly promote self-published sources and only cite them when absolutely necessary. -A1candidate 21:38, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
- Template:U:WhatamIdoing, that is a brilliant piece of writing. I like your proposed edit. While neither side is going to love that language, I think it gives a very fair nod to both perspectives.
- I agree with comments that others have made, the term "quackery" is pejorative and inherently non-neutral. It implies an intent to deceive and defraud; there is little or no evidence of this in most modern alt-med professions, instead there is a lack of evidence which does not equal quackery. I believe that WP is exposed to legal risk if terms like quackery are used. We can be much more accurate and professional by specifically describing the facts. --Karinpower (talk) 04:54, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Karin, I'm just going to correct some misunderstandings:
There is no legal risk. Free speech allows for far more offensive terms. The courts have long since determined that issue. Also, quoting (even of online defamation) on the internet is protected speech. The original author of the defamation could be held liable, but not someone who quotes them online, and Wikipedia is online. As long as we quote properly, we can print anything (obviously taking into account our BLP guideline). See the groundbreaking decision in Barrett v. Rosenthal. Ironically, this happened to involve Barrett (!), who was being called a quack. (He didn't sue for that, but for other lies being told about him.)
Also, Wikipedia and its editors don't give a flying f@#$ whether content is pejorative, as long as it is properly sourced. Where it can get touchy is whether it is done with Wikipedia's voice or not, so when in doubt, attribute the wording. We are not allowed to censor content! The wording "its practice has been called quackery" is not in Wikipedia's voice, but points to an obvious source, which is provided.
Ergo, most of your and others' opposition here fails to honor our policies and guidelines. This allergic reaction to words like "quackery" and "pseudoscience" needs to stop. It only serves the purposes of those editors who misuse Wikipedia to advocate, promote, and defend such beliefs and practices. Even worse, it prevents Wikipedia from doing its job of documenting the sum total of human knowledge, which includes documenting very non-neutral and pejorative opinions (which are often well-deserved). The exact pejoratives, and the spirit with which they are used, must be preserved in our content. Editors are required by NPOV to remain neutral, and censorship and whitewashing violates that most sacred of all our policies. -- BullRangifer (talk) 19:30, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
I think I'm going to try to work out exactly what I'm proposing to add to the article here on the talk page, since I see that this topic is somewhat controversial and I want to make sure that my contributions don't start an edit war. Hopefully everyone will be happy. :)
I think that some examples of facilities that offer or have offered craniosacral therapy might be helpful. I personally know one such facility. It is called Developmental Therapy Associates. It is located in Durham, North Carolina. Interestingly, the craniosacral therapist often mentioned energy fields when she did the therapy, and energy fields are mentioned in the "Bodywork" article. I'm wondering if anyone knows about a connection between the two? If so, it might be added to the article. Surprisingly, the "energy waves" sounded pretty reasonable. Mostly it was about the effect that the therapy caused on the level of heat radiating off of the body. The odd thing about was she mentioned the waves being "blocked". And there was talk about breathing patterns. And a specific type of supposedly "special" music was used. The oddest thing is that it really did seem to have some effects on me, but I was under awful pressure in school and having some personal problems too at the time I was going to craniosacral therapy, so it was probably just the fact that I got to relax. Though this is really getting to be just speculation at this point. :)
Please forgive the fact that my phrasing isn't as good as it could be, but suddenly finding out I spent months being "treated" by a method that is considered as alternative medicine, as my opinion of alternative medicine is generally pretty negative, rather messes with my head and makes it hard to organize my thoughts and write prettily. JonathanHopeThisIsUnique (talk) 12:21, 1 January 2016 (UTC)
The American Cancer Society
As CranioSacral Therapy has never claimed to cure cancer, I'm unclear why The American Cancer Society leads off as an "expert" source in the first paragraph of CST's definition. And to attribute the 'quackery' label to them is even more perplexing. I've also noticed that several attempts to gently revise this paragraph continues to be rejected. Is there another avenue that we can take to create a more neutral definition? Awmerrell (talk) 17:43, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
- Try raising it at WP:FT/N (hint: it's neutral as-is). Alexbrn (talk) 17:44, 24 March 2016 (UTC)
- Thanks for coming to the Talk page Awmerrell. The answer to your question is kind of involved. But here it goes. Everything in Wikipedia must be supported by what we call a "reliable source" - people cannot write whatever they want here - it has to be a "summary of accepted knowledge", as we say, that is based on a.. reliable source (or "RS" for short). We have a guideline that covers general content that you can find here: WP:RS. But for content about health in Wikipedia, we have a slightly different guideline that is here: WP:MEDRS. What that guideline says, is that content about health, needs to be based on an independent, recent review in the biomedical literature, or a statement by an independent major medical or scientific body. For CAM-type interventions like CST, where itis hard to find reviews in the biomedical literature and our usual go-to scientific and medical authorities don't say much, we have found ACS to be invaluable as a reliable, independent source describing these CAM treatments and their relative safety and efficacy. That is why we use it. About what you said, unfortunately some people do say that CST could be used to treat cancer. But I agree with you that those folks are rare. You will notice that that ACS page mostly talks about CST as a complement to medical care - as something to help people deal with pain, etc. Anyway, that is the "why" and as much of the "what" as I can say briefly. We can chat more about how Wikipedia works generally at your Talk page. That would probably be a good thing, while you are figuring Wikipedia out. Jytdog (talk) 19:07, 4 April 2016 (UTC)
Re: Time Magazine's "America's Next Wave of Innovators"
I didn't want to wade in when I haven't worked on this article before. But I noticed that an editor that Jytdog is working with in regard to potential COI issues was reverted (here) with the comment "Upledger is not the subject of this article". This factoid about Upledger is repeated many times on the web, and I was able to find a link to the TIME article in question, which was not properly cited in the reverted link. Here's a corrected cite:
- Greenwald, John (April 16, 2001). "Alternative Medicine / Craniosacral Therapy: A New Kind of Pulse". Time Magazine. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
I'm not proposing one way or the other whether this is valid content for the article, I just wanted to save everybody some Googling if this claim comes up again. This article was part of a special section titled "TIME 100: The Next Wave/Innovators" which you can see in the table of contents for that issue. Carry on. --Krelnik (talk) 19:45, 8 April 2016 (UTC)
A couple of inserts for Craniosacral Therapy Reception?
1. In 1999, The Upledger Foundation conducted an intensive-therapy research program for 24 combat-scarred Vietnam veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The study employed a scientific protocol co-designed with the West Palm Beach Veterans Administration medical center. Treatment focused on CranioSacral Therapy and SomatoEmotional Release.®
On the first day of the research program, subjects underwent a craniosacral system evaluation, a videotaped psychiatric interview, and psychological testing by an independent licensed psychologist. Each of these evaluations was repeated on the last day of the program.
The psychological assessment battery consisted of five instruments: Mississippi Scale for Combat Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Mississippi), Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI), Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), and Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS). All five instruments were administered on the first day of the program. The BSI and the BHS were administered on the last day of the program and again one month post treatment. The entire assessment battery is also scheduled to be given again at a future date.
At the program's conclusion, the independent psychologist's report confirmed that the veterans "experienced fewer symptoms, most notably those related to obsessive/compulsive thoughts and behaviors, depression, lack of motivation, feelings of alienation and withdrawal, and in the total number and severity of general symptoms." What's more, the report rated these milestones as statistically significant, noting there was more than a 95 percent correlation between the veterans' improvements and the CranioSacral Therapy they received at UI HealthPlex.
2.The Colorado Board of Medical Examiners vs. W. M. Raemer, D.D.S., Court of Appeals, State of Colorado, Case No. 87CA1589, March 22, 1990. The unanimous ruling of the Appellate Court, in favor of W. M. Raemer, D.D.S., states that CranioSacral Therapy is an effective form of treatment for TMJ dysfunction. As such, it was ruled that dentists in Colorado are allowed to use CranioSacral Therapy for treatment in the scope of their practices. This conclusion was made after enough study to unanimously satisfy the Colorado Supreme Court.Awmerrell (talk) 19:53, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
- Thanks for making a proposal! Small thing - we don't use the registered trademark symbol in WIkipedia. See MOS:TM. Much bigger thing - you didn't cite any sources. Everything in Wikipedia needs a reliable source. For anything about health, the source has to comply with WP:MEDRS (the source has to be a review from the biomedical literature or a statement by a major health authority like the NIH, CDC, or the NHS in the UK); for non-health things the source has to comply with WP:RS - in any case it should be independent - not a self-published thing like the foundation's website. Jytdog (talk) 20:34, 10 May 2016 (UTC)