The Magic Feather Effect
The Science of Alternative Medicine and the Surprising Power of Belief
The acclaimed author of Pandora’s Lunchbox and former New York Times reporter delivers an “entertaining and highly useful book that gives you the tools to understand how alternative medicine works, so you can confidently make up your own mind” (The Washington Post).
We all know someone who has had a seemingly miraculous cure from an alternative form of medicine: a friend whose chronic back pain vanished after sessions with an acupuncturist or chiropractor; a relative with digestive issues who recovered with herbal remedies; a colleague whose autoimmune disorder went into sudden inexplicable remission thanks to an energy healer or healing retreat.
The tales are far too common to be complete fabrications, yet too anecdotal and outside the medical mainstream to be taken seriously scientifically. How do we explain them and the growing popularity of alternative medicine more generally? In The Magic Feather Effect, author and journalist Melanie Warner takes us on a vivid, important journey through the world of alternative medicine. Visiting prestigious research clinics and ordinary people’s homes, she investigates the scientific underpinning for the purportedly magical results of these practices and reveals not only the medical power of beliefs and placebo effects, but also the range, limits, and uses of the surprising system of self-healing that resides inside us.
Equal parts helpful, illuminating, and compelling, The Magic Feather Effect is a “well-written survey of alternative medicine…fair-minded, thorough, and focused on verifiable scientific research” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
Warner’s enlightening, engaging deep dive into the world of alternative medicine and the surprising science that explains why it may work is an essential read.