Behind alternative medicine and antivax speeches, a certain business sense

Smoky promises of healing for cold hard cash. At the heart of a controversy in August after promoting techniques of “derivative baths” consisting of rubbing the sex of young children with cold water, the French figure of naturopathy, Irène Grosjean, rejoiced on Facebook with a “a real opportunity to make the benefits of the benefits available to as many people as possible” of these practices. The nonagenarian offers online courses at a price of 110 euros.

Since the Covid-19 crisis, anti-scientific, anti-vax, conspiratorial and other new age narratives have never seemed to fit so well with business acumen. “There is often a commercial part that goes hand in hand with marginal beliefs, observes Romy Sauvayre, sociologist of beliefs at the CNRS. Currently, lithotherapy [une pseudoscience qui consiste à guérir par les pierres] is so popular that many websites are selling fake healing stones. When you adhere deeply to a belief, you can be ready to spend a fortune. »

In this disparate galaxy, which ranges from the front of opponents of health policy to promoters of alternative methods of care, the mixing of genres is common.

An apprentice naturopath, convinced that conventional medicine is corrupted by Big Pharma (the concentration of the pharmaceutical business sector), thus assumes with the World want to choose their job title based on the most popular queries on Google. She leans for the moment for “health educator”. At the risk of exposing herself to the offense of illegal practice of medicine, if she ventures to formulate diagnoses and treatments.

Patients with serious illnesses targeted

Health educator, it is under this term, or that of “doctor-normalian”, that one of the pillars of the antivax collective RéinfoCovid, Jérémie Mercier, presented himself by the order of doctors to the general direction of health. He does not hesitate to call breast cancer screening a” useless ” and its promotion of“scam”. In addition to his very critical speeches on the pharmaceutical industry, he offers online training combining webinars, self-published books and cooking recipes for 100 to 300 euros.

This disciple of the very controversial Christian Tal Schaller, a former doctor converted into alternative conspiratorial discourses – and also a promoter of the benefits of urine consumption, “the most extraordinary of natural remedies” –, said to address “motivated people who want to keep or regain full health”.

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