Finding Fakes – Avoiding online Health Hoaxes

I’m going to present this as a series of questions. Asking questions about the article/video/post (we’ll just say article for the sake of simplicity, but these rules apply to anything) you are reading is how you’ll be able to figure out if it should be trusted or not. Here, I present to you, a list of questions to ask before you believe what you read!

You can pick and choose questions depending on your willingness to trust this person. A lot of that may be based simply on the website you find the information. If you already trust them, chances are you don’t need to research every article.

What are you looking at? Who is an authority on that?
The only way to start figuring out what to even ask, is to know what you’re reading. We need to figure out what you’re looking at and who is an authority on that topic. For example, if you’re reading an article about dealing with tendonitis, that is a medical issue. The article should probably be written by a doctor or physical therapist. Fitness instructors can also help, and people who have dealt with tendonitis can as well. Someone who has little to no medical or fitness background, and little to no experience with tendonitis, probably shouldn’t be acting as an authority. Of course, if that person did their research properly, they may be of great help, but check out other articles or their references before trusting them.
These rules apply to articles about dieting, fitness, health, and even skin care. Just about any topic has experts, and those experts are who you should listen to.

What does the title even mean?
Does the title even make sense? They may better define what they’re talking about in the article, but a confusing title can be a red flag. Plus, if you don’t understand what the title is for, do you really need it? There’s nothing wrong with curiosity and wanting to check these things out, though! Even if they explain what they mean in the article, look it up on your own. (This is a reoccurring theme throughout this post. Do your own research!)

Check their certificate/degree.
Okay, I didn’t phrase this as a question. There are a few parts to this one though.

  • Do they even have a certificate or degree?
  • Is it from a place you can trust?
  • Is it approved by the correct place?

Enthusiasts can be great and have a wealth of information, but they aren’t always good to trust. I generally don’t trust an enthusiast only because they don’t have the training a fitness trainer or physician would have. If they’re my friend, I might trust them more, because they’re more likely to understand me and my body, but a stranger? Usually not.
People can also claim to be fitness instructors, when they really aren’t. It isn’t required by law to have a Yoga certification to teach Yoga. Most studios require it, but who is this person on the internet?

Next, now that we know they have a certificate, we should probably know where it’s from. People who are involved in medical fields, like doctors and physical therapists, go through a lot to get their certificates and they usually have them clearly presented. Because of this, we’re going to focus on fitness instructors more.
Fitness instructors can be certified from anywhere. Some even hold degrees in physical therapy, anatomy, or kinesiology. These instructors are fantastic resources, especially if you are dealing with injuries or illness. Other fitness instructors are also often well equipped to deal with the same things, but not all of them are. Some programs are notorious for being insanely easy to be certified in AND for being bad for your body.

For Yoga, we have the Yoga Alliance. It isn’t a government body, but they look over curriculum of Yoga schools, and approve it. Tons of organizations have been approved, so there’s no excuse to not being properly certified. There’s no excuse when someone else’s well-being is on the line. I got my certificate from Aura Wellness Center. They’re approved by Yoga Alliance. Because of this, I can also become a Register Yoga Teacher. If you see someone with “RYT-200”, “RYT-500” or something like either of those. That means they’ve registered as a Yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. Of course, that’s not required. It’s just more proof that your program was super real.
That also being said, programs not approved aren’t necessarily bad. I would just question why it isn’t approved.

 

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