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Strange — But Beneficial — Science
You no doubt have heard of the resurgence of leeches, used in modern medicine to heal wounds. Other crazy ideas are gaining acceptance, too. We list them here, from the tamest to the hardest to stomach.
Vibrating Exercise PlatformsSlide 2 of 11
Vibrating Exercise Platforms
Vibrating exercises platforms have long been regarded as scams, but now they are shaking up the exercise industry, as well as the folks using them. The gist is that you stand on a vibrating platform for a few minutes and then jump off to do your exercise. The vibration is supposed to help you go faster, higher, deeper, or whatever comparative adjective you are after. And it does, albeit marginally, but no one understands why.
Even more intriguing is that vibration machines can help muscles heal faster and, in older people with osteoporosis, build bone density. What's lacking, for now, is research on the proper "dose" — that is, the strength and length of the vibrations. Note that these vibration machines aren't cheap. At $2,000 apiece, they'll shake the change right out of your pocket.Slide 3 of 11
Barefoot RunningSlide 4 of 11
There was a time not too long ago when you'd be crazy to jog through the city in bare feet. Well, you'd still be crazy, depending on the amount of broken glass in your path. But the notion of running barefoot even on hard surfaces isn't as absurd anymore. In fact, barefoot running might be better for your shins, knees, hips and back.
Studies are not conclusive, but more and more researchers are advocating for ditching the running shoe. At issue is that the running shoe, since its debut in the 1960s, has altered how the human body runs, forcing the runner to land heel to toe. In a natural barefoot stride, your foot lands on its ball and lateral ledge, spreading out the impact. Humans have run this way for several hundred thousand years, and pre-humans did so for likely a million years prior to this.
A study published in the journal Nature in 2010 demonstrated that running in running shoes heel-to-toe sends a shock up your legs that's virtually non-existent when running barefoot. The debate over this issue is fierce, though, as you might imagine it would be when it involves a billion-dollar industry.Slide 5 of 11
Tongue ScrapingSlide 6 of 11
Don't forget to scrape your tongue, mother always said. Well, maybe your mother didn't say this, unless you grew up in India where tongue scraping is a daily ritual for many, part of an ancient health code called ayurveda. The practice entails placing something that can resemble a small toilet brush as far back in your mouth as your gagging reflex will allow and scraping your tongue clean for several minutes.
It can hurt a little, particularly when you first start. And it can smell rather nasty, too. But there's a payoff. Dozens of studies — even ones conducted in the West — demonstrate that this is one of the most effective means for curing bad breath. [Bad Breath: Causes and Treatment]
Tongue scraping also reduces the chances of developing dental caries, gum disease and even colds. Note, however, that tongue scraping's usefulness doesn't open the door to all ayurvedic practices, such as drinking cow urine for what ails you.Slide 7 of 11
Curing with ParasitesSlide 8 of 11