Alternative medicine is typically a pretty murky place. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’re probably familiar with the world of bee facials, past-life healing and vitamin infusions. It often seems like, as long as you’ve got a scientifically-unproven claim, a celeb endorsement and at least three books on the subject, you’re probably going to be a success.
One of the most interesting things about these pseudo-scientists is how much they divide people. When Gwyneth Paltrow got on the vaginal steaming, there wasn’t really anyone on the fence about it. People were either composing Twitter rants about vaginal health or running to the nearest spa.
In that spirit, the Healthy-ish podcast has delved into the claims of the Medical Medium aka Anthony William.
In case you aren’t familiar, Anthony claims to be able to find out what’s wrong with you by listening to the voice of angels. As per his website, he first discovered this unusual gift at age four, when the angels correctly diagnosed his ailing grandmother with lung cancer. Since then he is able to help people find out what’s wrong with them “by listening to a divine voice that literally speaks into his ear.”
This holy voice reportedly tells him “what lies at the root of people’s pain or illness and what they need to do to restore their health” despite the fact he is not a doctor and has no medical training.
Podcast hosts Maz Compton, Eliza Cracknell and Dr Andrew Rochford were understandably pretty sceptical. Eliza did go as far as to listen to his hugely popular podcast but found that “he just talked about archangels and how you just need to talk to them and then they will heal you and I just couldn’t.”
The sticking point proves to be the host of celeb endorsements sprinkled across his site. If the likes of Robert De Niro, Rashida Jones and Naomi Campbell have had success, then the New York Times best-selling author has to be doing something right.
Wrong, at least according to Dr Andrew. He says that “like anything if you guess often enough you’ll get it right”
He says that aside from tests, the most important part of diagnosis for any doctor is talking and listening to people. He believes that the Anthony has had success because, like anyone claiming to be able to communicate with a higher being, he has perfected “the art of trying to learn and extract information from you.”
You end up falling for it because you want to believe it’s true rather than any genuine communication with angels.
“I mean I could pull this off,” he concludes, “anyone with half a brain could.”
Make sure you check out the rest of the Healthy-ish podcast – how much can you challenge your body? where we chat to ballerina Dimity Azoury from the Australian Ballet about the reality of life dancing at the top. In case you’re wondering, it turns out that Centre Stage wasn’t a documentary and it’s a lot harder than you’d think.