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Full of Energy

Want to know what a craniosacral treatment is actually like? How about reiki? What about Eden energy medicine – do you even know what that is? Read on, because this past Sunday afternoon I experienced all three.

But first, the why and where. The local Healing Arts Alliance of the Big Bend (which is what they call the area of Florida I live in) held an information session for the public at our local library’s meeting room. Practitioners of about 10 different “healing arts” sat at a circle of folding tables chatting with visitors and handing out information. One even brought her diagnostic machine, which measures a person’s aura. (More on this later.) Some offered free samples of their treatments. It was a great opportunity for science-based medicine field work and I aimed to take full advantage.

The Alliance handed out a free booklet at the door listing local health care practitioners who:

. . . share a commitment to the whole person, patient-centered approach to health and wellness.

But, as the booklet explains,

[w]e do not endorse any specific method or system. Our member/practitioners are committed to a nonjudgmental collaboration and cooperative relationship . . .

This philosophy is indeed fortunate. If any of these practitioners endorsed a specific method, such as, say, the scientific method, it could lead to the judgment that what some of the others are saying is gobbledygook.

The booklet contains a helpful “Glossary of Holistic Health Terms,” which further serves to make the point that nonjudgmental collaboration is absolutely necessary to the cause. A few examples:

BioMat: This device delivers the highest vibrational resonance deep into all the tissues of the body using negative ions, amethyst, and Far-Infrared light to open the channels for intelligent cellular communication leading to DNA repair and total body wellness. Negative ions, found in abundance in nature, heighten alertness and mental energy, and decrease drowsiness. Amethyst enhances strength, stability and vigor. Far-Infrared light assists blood flow, helps release toxins and enlivens metabolism. Elevating temperature eliminates bacteria, heals and relaxes muscles, boosts immune system [sic], and promotes cardio fitness and healthy arteries.

Total body wellness is hard to beat. The one true cure, indeed!

BioMat has some stiff competition in the cellular woo department. According to the booklet, there’s also Frequency Specific Microcurrent which:

. . . uses micro amperage current (1/1,000,000th amp) to balance tissues at their own level of frequency. Like the brain or heart, each type of tissue resonates/vibrates at a unique frequency. FSM modulates the imbalanced frequencies the cells may be producing to assist the body in correcting the imbalance.

What, no quantum? You just haven’t read far enough. Here’s Matrix Energetics, another remedy for poor cellular function:

Based on the laws and expression of subtle energy physics and the concepts and laws of quantum physics, superstring theory, and Sheldrake’s Morphic Resonance. In physics reality can be described as vibrations and wave pattern; everything is light and information. Disease may be defined as a disruption, cessation, or distortion in the matrix of these fields. Physical and emotional injuries impair communication at the cellular level.

And so on. But this is small potatoes when you consider the more global perspective of Earth Acupuncture, defined here:

Disperses and regulates the flow of vital energy within the earth. A treatment used to heal Geopathic Stress on-site or from a distance.

Geopathic Stress?

Unnatrual vibrations of energy within the land (below the foundation of a building) that cause health problems in people, animals, plants, and trees. “Chaos underground” is caused by electromagnetic fields from fault lines, sink holes, subterranean water, and underground power lines.

There’s no explanation of how Earth Acupuncture is done but I found this on the internet. It looks like a lot of geometry, which I never liked, so you’ll have to figure it out for yourself. But don’t be judgmental! We want to maintain our cooperative relationships here, even if it requires extreme cognitive dissonance.

There is also Visionary CranioSacral Therapy, as opposed to run-of-the-mill craniosacral therapy, which is what I had. (We’ll get to that next.) Pay attention – this is hard to follow.

Because of the proximity of the reciprocal tension membrane – a system of membranous partitions inside the head – to the respiratory, circulatory, and locomotive centers of the central nervous system, VCT can have widespread and profound effects on peripheral circulation and general well-being as it accesses specific brain structures and psychological states by directing energy in the form of chi kung; applying sensitive mechanical pressures, which act via an improvement in the position, motion, and piezoelectric field of specific cranial bones; causing improved hydraulic flow patterns in the cerebrospinal fluid; optimizing brain temperature by reducing muscular tension and increasing heat dissipation.

Got it? No? Me neither.

It’s all about the energy

The therapist who provided my complimentary craniosacral treatment had a much more mundane explanation for how craniosacral therapy works, but then again, I did not get the Visionary kind. Perhaps she wasn’t properly trained in it or perhaps you can’t just give that sort of thing away for free. Or maybe she determined that my brain temperature was already optimal. I’d like to think so.

In any event, my therapist explained that each person has an internal “body sock” which includes the fascia and perhaps some other things I can’t recall. What craniosacral therapy does is enlarge the body sock. I didn’t quite understand her explanation of how this enlarged body sock might benefit my health. Nor did I think to ask her what happened if the body sock got too large. Does it sag, like a pair of ill-fitting hose? Anatomy aside, she told me some of the conditions it could help, including ADHD, autism and problems of special needs children. She also said that newborns benefited from craniosacral therapy because the birth process is so hard on them. You’d think a fresh body sock like that wouldn’t need to be stretched, but what do I know?

The actual treatment is pretty easy to explain. She sat beside me and put her hands on my upper back, near the shoulder. We sat there for a few minutes like that while she talked about craniosacral therapy. She thought she felt some sort of “release” at the end of the treatment but I don’t know what exactly was released. An energy blockage perhaps? Obviously, I can’t check the size of my body sock so I can’t tell you whether it got bigger. I think not, as I didn’t feel anything during the treatment and, as far as I can tell, it conferred no health benefit. The treatment did have a side effect – nausea, at the thought of her treating children.

Reiki was different. For that treatment, two therapists sat behind me for about 10 minutes and each put a hand on my upper back. See the difference?

I thoroughly enjoyed talking to these women. They were entirely sincere about reiki and also had a great sense of humor. As they explained it, there is a universal life force which flows through the practitioner to the recipient. (I didn’t think to ask why the universal life force couldn’t just flow directly into a person who needed it.) All they do is get out of the way. In some cases, literally out of the way, as reiki can be remotely, from a great distance away. They need only the person’s name and address and the universal life force will find them. Maybe the universal life force uses Google maps. Sometimes they shoot some universal life force in a person’s direction even if he didn’t ask for it. Later, according to one, the person claims to have felt something. If she asks him what time this happened, guess what? She will recall that it was just as she was sending him a dose of universal life force.

What if the practitioner actually messes up the energy flowing into the recipient? I asked that question and they had actually thought about the issue. One simply said it was faith – in her abilities, I suppose. The other said it had to do with having actually felt the energy flowing between her two hands when she held them a short distance apart, a phenomenon I’ve heard described before by a therapeutic touch practitioner. I’m not sure how this answered my question but it satisfied her concerns.

They remarked that they were feeling warmth and asked if I was too. Well, yeah, I thought, that happens if you put your hands on another person for a few minutes. If the reiki affected my health in any fashion, I have yet to discover it.

My third clinical encounter was with an “Eden energy” practitioner. She too was a very nice person and quite sincere and sweet-natured about what she did. I didn’t get an actual treatment from her, but rather an examination of sorts. I held out my arm and she had me resist her hand pressing on the arm. (It was not unlike the type of thing a medical doctor would do during a neurological exam.) She then lightly pinched my upper arm and repeated the resistance test. After that she performed another diagnostic test. She had me hold out my arm again and resist her hand. This time she pulled slightly on a bit of my hair. Like the first test, we repeated the arm resistance.

The point of all this was to detect a difference in the movement of my arm following application of resistance while I continued to hold the arm straight out from my body, both before and after the arm pinching or the hair pulling. The latter were means of causing a temporary disturbance in the flow of energy through my body and each was associated with a particular diagnosis. The hair pull was a test of hydration, although she wouldn’t say whether I was hydrated or not because she said the tests were not valid due to my being in a room full of people, which likely caused me to be somewhat self-conscious. I never learned what the arm pinching was supposed to diagnose. Had I proceeded to actual treatment, energy blockages revealed by testing would be unblocked by energy therapy.

What interested me was that all three of these treatment methods were based to a degree on the flow of energy through my body, yet they had entirely different approaches. I got the impression that this was not a wholly nonjudgmental state of affairs. When the Eden energy practitioner and a reiki practitioner (but not one of my reiki practitioners) were sitting at the same table earlier in the afternoon, before my treatment, I asked each of them whether their treatments were hands-on or not. The Eden energy practitioner said no and the reiki practitioner said yes. I detected just a bit of negative energy flow between them during that exchange. Perhaps the reiki practitioner slapped the Eden energy practitioner long distance with a smidgen of bad universal life force and the former zapped the latter back with a tad of evil energy. I just hope none got on me.

The worst, saved for last

Although I didn’t get to talk to her, a chiropractor was there with her pamphlets extolling thermography for detection of breast cancer, an idea David Gorski thoroughly debunked. But evidence be damned. The chiropractor’s pamphlet recommends annual DITI (Digital Infrared Thermal Imagining) screening for all women. Why?

DITI detects the subtle physiologic changes that accompany breast pathology, whether it is cancer, fibrocystic disease, an infection or a vascular disease. Your doctor can then plan accordingly and lay out a careful program to further diagnose and/or MONITOR you during and after any treatment.

Your doctor? And who is this doctor? Who decides if further diagnosis is needed and who monitors you during and after treatment? I don’t know. The chiropractor lists herself as the thermographer on the brochure. The manufacturer of the DITI equipment says on its website that a radiologist or “thermologist” reads the digitized images, so at least she is not reading the thermograms. Then, according to the manufacturer, if the thermogram is positive:

. . . the job of differential diagnosis begins. Reports are colour printed and sent to the patients [sic] physician / specialist.

Who is this physician and who is doing the differential diagnosis? Let’s hope it’s not the chiropractor. Of course, if the patient is referred to a medical doctor he may be put in the uncomfortable position of trying to dissuade the patient from further unnecessary diagnostic procedures or telling her she wasted her money on the thermogram.

An “integrative” primary care practitioner had a table too, manned by a nurse practitioner, who apparently runs the practice. They also have an M.D. on staff and another one as a consulting physician. The practice offers “bio-identical hormones” based on a test referred to as “FSP,” a saliva test. They also test (via a different method) for “toxins.” They sell supplements to patients and conduct Functional Medicine tests. They use the iSpot Lyme test to diagnose “difficult cases which may be Lyme Disease,” even though the incidence of Lyme Disease in Florida is miniscule. They say this test is covered by Medicare and Tricare. According to their literature, most of their Spectracell FIA – Functional Nutritional Analysis – is covered as well. This test “asks” your own cells what nutrients they lack.

And now, the worst of the worst.

I earlier mentioned the aura measuring machine. Here it is, the REBA device:
REBA machine image
I’ll try to explain how this REBA device “works,” according to the M.D. who uses it in her practice. That’s right, an M.D.

The device shoots waves, such as gamma waves, into the patient. The doctor then interprets how the waves are affecting the patient. This gives her a diagnosis. The diagnosis is part of a system called Psychosomatic Energetics, which is, according to the pamphlet she handed out:

. . . a new method of treating illnesses in a holistic way, considering the body and soul as well as the vital energies. . . . It is based on a combination of Eastern energy medicine, such as acupuncture or yoga, with scientific, modern thinking. . . . Psychosomatic Energetics enables you to measure the subtle energy field of the body (aura) very precisely. [The aim is] to find energy deficiencies and to rebalance them, like in acupuncture and homeopathy.

The pamphlet goes on to explain how one’s energy levels are disturbed by unconscious emotional conflicts which alter the function of the autonomic nervous system, leading to energy blocks. Different emotions are related to different chakras. These blocks, in turn, lead to malnutrition of the cells, resulting in pain and illness. Relief is obtained through the use of “homeopathic chakra remedies,” (sold under the brand name Rubimed) including those effective in treating the aforementioned geopathic stress, as well as electro-smog, which I take to be a related problem. One uses a homeopathic remedy called Geovita for this unfortunate condition, along with repositioning one’s bed in the bedroom, which assists in rebalancing energies and overcoming the effects of electro-smog.

I suppose if your back goes out repositioning the bed there is something for that too.

When I questioned the M.D./Psychosomatics Energetics Practitioner about her methods, her answers tended to attack medicine, not defend what she was doing. She claimed “science is a religion.” Yet, she freely traded on her status as an M.D. and a “science nerd” in promoting her practice. (According to the Alliance booklet, she completed an Integrative Medicine residency at the University of Arizona. This information is right next to “Certified in Professional Applied Kinesiology.”) I kept repeating that I was not defending medicine, I was asking her to defend her practice. She said she “had seen it work,” but never really responded to my point that this could easily be regression to the mean, confirmation bias, or the placebo effect. I asked if there were any clinical trials of her methods and she said there were in Europe and that they had been published there, where Psychosomatic Energetics is widely used. (This reminded me a little of the TV infomercial pitch: “Not sold in stores, thousands sold in Europe.”) However, the only studies I could find were referenced on the International Society of Psychosomatic Energetics website. In a classic example of Tooth Fairy Science, they were three practice-based studies published in the Swiss Journal of Holistic Medicine. The Society notes that:

Although the phenomenon has long been known and demonstrated on TV and even on YouTube, there is as yet no recognized body of knowledge.

I later found out that, in May of this year, the FDA sent a warning letter to the manufacturer of the REBA device, located in Switzerland. The letter is four pages long and details, in mind-numbing bureaucrat-ese, a number of legal problems the FDA has with the REBA, which the FDA classifies a bio-feedback device, not an aura detector. The end result of all this is that the FDA “is taking steps to refuse entry of these devices into the United States until these violations are corrected.” I don’t know if this affects REBA devices already in the U.S. or not. I called the FDA to find out but have not heard back. The website of the U.S. distributor says that the device is “currently unavailable.”

Alternative medicine as observed in the field is pretty much what one would expect. New, and sometimes competing, forms of pseudoscience are simply rehashes of the same old pseudoscience, tarted up with more advanced “sciency” terms like quantum physics and superstring theory. Words are strung together in meaningless phrases like “open the channels for intelligent cellular communication leading to DNA repair.” Unfortunately, even medical (including nursing) education appears to be insufficient to inoculate practitioners against irrational beliefs. It is deeply disturbing to see this in action. Other practitioners, who don’t have a clue about how the body works, hawk treatments that have no plausible basis in science and are either known to be ineffective or their effectiveness is unknown, but doubtful. Silly diagnostic devices are used to convince the public they have diseases and conditions they don’t have, followed by treatments sold to them by the same practitioners who test them. Under the banner of “complementary and alternative medicine” anything goes.

Posted in: Cancer, Chiropractic, Energy Medicine, Health Fraud, Herbs & Supplements, Homeopathy

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84 thoughts on “Full of Energy

  1. “Chaos underground” is caused by electromagnetic fields from fault lines, sink holes, subterranean water, and underground power lines.

    Oh, I had a practitioner of earth acunpuncture come over to my house a few years ago, he insisted that my bed needs to be realigned with the magnetic field of the planet so the microelectrocurrents of the brain are in synch with the magnetic flow of earth, the head has to point north and the feet point south.. otherwise you may experience headaches and restless sleep…

    1. DevoutCatalyst says:

      You sound skeptical !

      1. Egstra says:

        He does – how novel.

      2. I am not sure I got the alignment quite right. The magnetic field of the earth is not static, the planet has a heated molten core rich in iron and as this mass moves, it generates phase shifts in magnetic currents. The brain has an intricate mesh of electromagnetic neurotransmitters that can be influenced by external currents, which is the idea behind treatments like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy working with small electric currents to release neurotransmissions regulating the emotional state of the patient.

        1. goodnightirene says:

          @Devout Catalyst and Egstra

          You spoke too soon.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            He’s baiting.

        2. Flower says:

          Here’s a fairly detailed explanation of geopathic stress and its effects on human beings. – Some excerpts:

          “As the Earth rotates on its axis, it functions as an electro-magnet generating electrical currents in the molten metals found within its core, and an electromagnetic field on the surface which oscillates at an average frequency of 7.83 Hz, which is almost identical to the range of alpha human brainwaves. Life on earth has evolved with this background magnetic field, and creatures are accustomed to living within its presence and are able to cope with the slight fluctuations over time caused by electrical storms and the sun’s activity.”

          “The Physicist W.O. Schumann identified this frequency in 1952, and it has become known as ‘brainwaves’ or Schumann Waves. The space agency NASA has had to build Schumann Resonators into their space shuttles in order to artificially generate this electromagnetic frequency, which is known to safeguard the health of astronauts when they are beyond the influence of the earth’s vital frequency.”

          “Geopathic stress (GS) represents a distortion of this natural frequency by weak electromagnetic fields created by streams of water flowing underground, geological fault lines, underground caverns, and certain mineral deposits (notably coal, oil, and iron). For example, where the inner Earth’s vibration of 7.83 Hz crosses a water vein 200 – 500 feet below ground, stress lines vibrating at up to 250 Hz can be created.”

          “Any distortion of this 7.83 Hz level creates a stress with the potential to weaken the immune system of any mammal living above the distortion, leading to greater susceptibility to viruses, bacteria, parasites, environmental pollution, degenerative disease, and a wide range of health problems.”

          http://www.geomancygroup.org/geopathic%20stress/richard_gs_01.htm#gs2

          Further info and some research:
          http://www.geomancygroup.org/geopathic%20stress/richard_gs_03.htm#gs5

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Here’s a fairly detailed explanation of geopathic stress and its effects on human beings. – Some excerpts:

            That’s a science-sounding word salad that bears no resemblance to reality. Yes, the earth generates a magnetic field, but its effects on human consciousness are minimal at best. Fridge magnets exert more pull, by an order of magnitude, than the earth, at the kinds of distances you experience. Your computer’s hard drive has a rare earth magnet that is a dozen times more powerful than your fridge magnet. Do you know what happens if you take that magnet and put it in contact with your head? Not a god damned thing. Efforts to influence the human brain through electromagnets require million-dollar machines. The earth exerts a magnetic field of 31 microTeslas. A fridge magnet exerts 5 microTeslas. A transcranial magnetic stimulation machine exerts approximately 1.5-2 Teslas. Can you explain to me why it takes 1.5-2 Teslas to notice a frank change, but somehow a field that is five orders of magnitude lower and unfocussed is supposed to have any effect on human health?

            Maybe you shouldn’t believe just anything you read on the internet. Particularly from a group that believes in and promotes the idiomotor effect (dowsing). Schumann resonances are irrelevant to human health.

            Dearly would I love to see independent proof that the space shuttle included Shumann resonance generators, and that this was to protect the dear, precious brains of the astronauts they contained.

            1. Calli Arcale says:

              Yes, I’d also like to see some evidence of these Shumann resonance generators, along with an explanation of how the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Vostok, Voskhod, Soyuz, and Shenzhou crews seem to have managed without them. Or Skylab or Salyut or Mir or Tiangong or the ISS; dear me, those poor astronauts living months at a time up there without these generators! Though one must also point out that Shuttle never left the Earth’s magnetic field; it simply couldn’t fly high enough. 200-300 miles is not really so very far. As Randall Munroe pointed out, The reason it’s hard to get to orbit isn’t that space is high up. It’s hard to get to orbit because you have to go so fast.

              Now Apollo, that spacecraft did fly beyond the Earth’s magnetosphere. You’d think that would be mentioned, except of course that right now “Space Shuttle” is the paragon of technological sophistication so that’s what they mention. Because of course Flower is not attempting to prove, only to persuade, and the Shuttle is very very cool.

              I’m actually working on a project for a manned spacecraft. I can categorically tell you that this spacecraft will not have any Shumann resonance generators. Amazingly, this has not given NASA any concerns.

        3. Vater says:

          Let me explain briefly what TMS really does. A variable magnetic field is generated by a device positioned on a certain region of the scalp. The brain tissue lying behind is full of ions, that is particles with an electric charge. The magnetic field induces the movement of the charged particles, which are indeed, an electric current. Neurons are excited by electric currents. Therefore TMS is a tools that can excite groups of neurons from outside, without the need of opening the skull and placing an electrode within the brain.
          The technique have been extensively used for research purposes, and is now being introduced in therapy, for instance to treat depression.
          I don´t know exactly what you mean with electromagnetic neurotranmitters.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Vater, I spent a bit of time looking up the numbers, but you sound like someone who would know. A TMS machine’s magnetic field is 10,000 times stronger than the earths’, correct?

            I wonder what the drop-off is for these magnetic fields – the brain generates something like a picotesla to function, is that locally enough to overwhelm the earth’s field completely when discussing the kinds of scales of distance and force relevant to a biological system?

      3. Flower says:

        Here’s a little published research on geopathic stress:

        Biomedical evidence of influence of geopathic zones on the human body: scientifically traceable effects and ways of harmonization
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16391480

        Geopathic stress zones: short-term effects on work performance and well-being?
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20569033

        And here is a site listing research into the positive, healing energy of the earth when we connect to it – it’s called “earthing” (grounding).

        http://earthinginstitute.net/research/

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Do you seriously believe that dowsing, the method used in the first study you cited, is a reasonable means of testing? It piles tooth fairy science on top of tooth fairy science to arrive at a speculative opinion and no objective proof that anything it asserts is meaningful in terms of elucidating basic principles or improving health. Your second citation builds more nonsense on this existing pile of nonsense, to arrive at the conclusion “yeah location matters, we just couldn’t demonstrate it”.

          Do you see why criticisms are made of you, when you take nonsense like this, present it as meaningful information, then go on to sell crap based on the alleged principles uncovered? Do you not see the difference between hundreds of studies building towards a single drug, vaccine or surgical intervention (i.e. real science) and taking some spurious measures, in small-n trials, with results that don’t support your assertions, then proclaiming this justifies a whole new area of human knowledge? Do you not see how pseudoscientific your claims and profession are?

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Wouldn’t earth acupuncture be penetrating the earth with giant needles? Wouldn’t “buildings” kinda meet that definition? So you’re welcome, planet, for cities!

    3. Sue W says:

      Why not just put a magnet under your pillow?

  2. Kiya says:

    What is all this? Are people completely nuts?? I had only heard about reiki. I didn’t know there are so many of such useless things.
    I am new to your blog and I find all your posts very informative. I shared it with my family (full of doctors in India) also who often deal with patients suffering from side effects of bogus and dangerous Ayurvedic medicines.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I bet they deal with a lot of heavy metal poisoning…

  3. Andrey Pavlov says:

    The device shoots out waves, such as gamma waves, into the patient.

    I really hope it doesn’t emit gamma waves! Those are high energy ionizing radiation! Even more damaging than X-rays.

    What a bunch of whackaloons. In my time off before starting residency maybe I’ll amuse myself by going to such a “health” fair…. or rabble rousing at CAM lectures at the local uni ;-)

    1. Jann Bellamy says:

      Perhaps I misunderstood what she said. I am almost certain she did use the term “waves” but maybe I misunderstood “gamma.” Here’s an explanation (such as it is) of how the testing works from a Canadian naturopath I found on the internet:

      “The REBA test device uses a polyfrequency spectrum (PFS) to confront the body with neutral vibrations, this state-of-the-art microprocessor instrument can identify the energy blockages, emotional conflicts and geopathic stress that disrupt functioning of ANS.

      The trained practitioner uses the REBA device, to create mild stress signal which is applied to the person’s energy system.

      Using a biofeedback mechanism like applied kinesiology or the RAC, the practitioner observes the client’s physical response to changes in the strength and quality of the applied energy signal. In this way, a unique “energy profile” can be established for each person.”

      Now it makes sense, doesn’t it?

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Wow, that is some fine technobabble. How does it vibrate the nerves without vibrating the rest of the body? Does this violate the law of conservation of energy? If so, I think that means we can start using warp drives!

      2. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. says:

        “The REBA test device uses a polyfrequency spectrum (PFS) to confront the body with neutral vibrations, … ”

        Three questions:

        Aren’t all spectra poly-frequency phenomena?

        And what on earth is a ‘neutral vibration’?

        Who comes up with this crap?

        1. Jann Bellamy says:

          Well, in this case two Swiss M.D.s, one of whom is also a naturopath.

  4. oldmanjenkins says:

    “share a commitment to the whole person, patient-centered approach to health and wellness.”

    I always love when woo “masters” use this “whole person, patient-centered approach to health” garbage. This is not alt-med. Science based medical practitioners have been using this since I have been in the medical field for the past twenty years (and longer for those who have been doing it longer than me). I worked with a family practice and OBGYN residency program for seven years and was an integral part of their training. To not just approach the patient by their presenting complaint/condition but take into account everything that is occurring in their life. Their rotations took them from “birth to turf” and everything in between.

    Woo peddlers like to present themselves as the warm caring people, and the medically trained are cold and bereft of emotion. Those that believe this are basing their opinions of the scientifically evidence trained practitioners from movies they have seen which portray them as either “Dr” House or some other negatively presented stereotype. It is a false dichotomy.

    That is not to say I have not come across some practitioners who are lacking in their bedside manner. What my colleagues do not do is fill clients with a false sense of hope. That is not to say they mercilessly crush a persons desire to get “better” or “cured.” But they center themselves in reality based thinking. To do the later rather than the former is an insult to the patients intelligence and does not give them the opportunity to make appropriate choices given how little time they may have based upon their diagnosis and prognosis.

  5. PassionlessDrone says:

    Did you ask them to direct some mana juice for the Seminole/Hurricane game? We probably dont need it, but even still.

  6. Chris Hickie says:

    1. Energy force = Energy farce

    2. If this REBA device is a gamma emitter, maybe the EPA (http://www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/gamma.html#near) needs to be aware, too.

  7. windriven says:

    How long did it take you to recover from prolonged exposure to that much concentrated delusion?

    Was this a transcription error or is at as it appeared:
    “DITI detects … cancer, fibrosystic disease, ” One would think they could spell fibrocystic if that is what they are trying to diagnose.

    But what alarmed me most was:
    “The device shoots out waves, such as gamma waves, into the patient.”

    Gamma radiation is high energy ionizing radiation. I suspect the claim that the device emits gamma radiation is bullrip but if it does I wouldn’t go near it without my lead-lined jockeys.

    On a more serious note, this line from the beginning of your post lays bare the rot that lies at the center of sCAMs (and infects a good deal of modern western culture):

    “Our member/practitioners are committed to a nonjudgmental collaboration . . .”

    Nonjudgmental collaboration. There is no correct, no incorrect, no right, no wrong, everything is intellectually and ethically more or less equivalent. I won’t mention your emperor’s nakedness if you won’t mention mine. It is all sort of nudge-nudge, wink-wink. Science based medicine chiseled out of the hard rock of reality is no better or worse than the fantasies of subluxation chasers and water succussers and needle prickers.

    And I have special disdain for MDs who have so little respect for the diligent struggle of their antecedents, so little respect for the body of knowledge so hard won, so little regard for the bond of trust that their MD encourages, that they would embrace nonsense and sell it to those in their care. A pox on them.

    1. goodnightirene says:

      “And I have special disdain for MDs who have so little respect for the diligent struggle of their antecedents, so little respect for the body of knowledge so hard won, so little regard for the bond of trust that their MD encourages, that they would embrace nonsense and sell it to those in their care. A pox on them.”

      Medical schools who admit and graduate such students need to be held accountable. The buck has to stop somewhere. It becomes more difficult to counteract the woo when it is openly practiced by MD’s.

    2. Jann Bellamy says:

      It was a transcription error — my fault, and corrected. Thanks.

  8. Dan says:

    I feel very sorry for people who pay money and believe in this nonsense. There have been snake oil salesmen and women throughout history – it is nothing new. The only difference is now we have modern medicine as well. If you want to pay for a sham, go ahead and pay for it, but at least do so with your eyes wide open. Actually, no one will pay for something they know doesn’t work, so obviously people’s eyes are closed going in.

    I wish people were better educated.

  9. Mielczarek says:

    Jann, thanks for this Halloween information. The scary part is that some of these practitioners are state licensed or associated with licensed practices and their services will be covered by the affordable health care act or other health care plans.
    Eugenie Mielczarek

  10. Dan says:

    Another comment — under our provincial medical board, if that doctor was registered with our college (which she would need to be to practice medicine) – she could be severely disciplined for this REBA nonsense. There have been cases of doctors in this jurisdiction being sanctioned and disciplined by our regulatory college because they were practiced unscientific methods like this. If similar regulations exist in Florida, and she possesses a state medical license or certification allowing her to practice medicine and see patients (even for conventional techniques), she should be reported.

    1. goodnightirene says:

      I am very happy to hear this! I am equally sad that it doesn’t seem to be happening in the US.

    2. MTDoc says:

      @Dan
      The trouble with that approach here in the States is that the “doctor” just lawyers up and a stalemate ensues. It took my local medical staff ten years to get an incompetent physician off the hospital staff, and the case went all the way to the state supreme court. Not to mention the 1AM threatening calls we received, presumably from his loyal patients. We really do try to police our own, but its not easy!

      1. Dan says:

        Too bad your regulatory college is toothless, or whoever regulates physician licensing in your state….

        1. MTDoc says:

          @Dan
          It’s not the Montana system that is the problem, but you are correct,we are toothless. The federal government knows best with their one size fits all solutions, and they have not even tried to get to the basic problems with our healthcare system. Here in Montana, if they would just leave us alone to manage our own problems, it would resemble the federation envisioned by our founders. By the way our state has a balanced budget (sorry to drift from topic, but maybe not as far as some may think).

          1. goodnightirene says:

            Oh gosh, Dan, if I move to Montana I think I’d like to know that certain things would remain in place for me regarding my health care and that my government would ensure that–not that I object to the any state going above and beyond that. What exactly, if I may ask, did the founding fathers (who never heard of Montana) have in mind for health care in the 21st century?

            I’m not really clear on what you’re getting at or how it relates to the effectiveness of medical boards for real or imaginary medicine.

          2. goodnightirene says:

            Oops, that was for MTDoc NOT Dan. Meh!

    3. Jann Bellamy says:

      We do have a medical practice act and doctors are supposed to practice according to the generally accepted standard of care. Unfortunately, the Department of Health in Florida (the agency under which the board operates) is underfunded and their prosecution unit is a revolving door for attorneys in many cases because they are underpaid and their support staff is inadequate. A couple of years ago I filed a complaint with the board against an MD in Florida who was treating autistic children with chelation therapy. This doctor had been blistered by the judge in one of the vaccine cases in which he testified — I attached a copy of the opinion to the complaint. The probable cause panel found no probable cause to prosecute so the case did not proceed.

      1. Dan says:

        That is very sad. Here we are largely self-regulated by our college of physicians and surgeons. They act fairly rapidly after a complaint is received from the public. They can fine huge fines, insert practice monitors, insist physicians take remedial courses, restrict areas of practice and revoke licenses to practice. This is all done at arms length from the government. And I know for a fact that they have done this before in MD’s who practice non-evidence-based CAM. It make take a few years in those physicians who choose to fight back, but that usually just increases the fines they have to pay after the discipline committee hearings.

        1. Jann Bellamy says:

          Dan: Where do you live? I’d like to look into your regulatory system in more detail. Thanks.

          1. Dan says:

            Ontario. We are regulated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario – the CPSO. http://www.cpso.org. I don’t know this but they probably even have guidelines on the use of CAM – it would be on their website if they did. I’ve been reading their disciplinary summaries for 15 years and can recall at least one doctor who was sanctioned for the use of quack therapies. You can contact them and ask for an opinion – they have physician advisors.

          2. Dan says:

            Oops – here is the URL – sorry about that — http://www.cpso.on.ca/

  11. stanmrak says:

    Don’t you just hate things that science is unable to explain?

    1. goodnightirene says:

      No. If you are referring to natural phenomena, there is ongoing work in explaining things; if you refer to quackery, the “unexplained” is clearly known as nonsense.

      Nice try with the word salad.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Science has a perfectly reasonable explanation for all of this – humans are not very good at understanding nature, but are very good at two other things:

      1) Making up stories
      2) Deluding themselves

      These treatments are all evidence of the ease with which humans would rather believe a comforting lie than a difficult truth.

      Also, the irony of your comment is the attempt these practitioners make to use science to explain away what they do. They’re pseudoscientists, pretending at science because their customers aren’t sufficiently informed to understand what’s actually happening.

    3. qetzal says:

      No, I love things that science can’t explain! It means there’s something new to learn!

      However, that’s clearly not the case here. Science can explain all of the things Dr. Bellamy described: they’re all bunk! They don’t work. Science can even explain why people think they work when they don’t: confirmation bias, regression to the mean, outright deception, etc.

  12. tgobbi says:

    FBM: “Oh, I had a practitioner of earth acunpuncture come over to my house a few years ago, he insisted that my bed needs to be realigned with the magnetic field of the planet so the microelectrocurrents of the brain are in synch with the magnetic flow of earth, the head has to point north and the feet point south.. otherwise you may experience headaches and restless sleep…”

    This looks to me like your basic old feng shui concept. Penn & Teller did a very funny segment decimating feng shui on their Bullshit TV series. For anyone who’s never seen that particular episode, I recommend it highly. or

    1. Calli Arcale says:

      I always wondered how this was supposed to work if, for instance, you lived in northern Canada. The closer you are to the geomagnetic pole, the more significant its wanderings are. Would you need to take measurements and realign your bed before sleeping each night? :-P

  13. tgobbi says:

    The links to Penn & Teller’s feng shui segment didn’t appear. I To access it, Google penn & teller bullshit feng shui bottled water. It should come up as the first hit.

  14. Dave says:

    Science so far cannot explain things like dark matter (to use an example), but we can measure its effect from the rotational speed of stars at the edges of galaxies and from gravitational light bending. There’s good evidence for it. There’s no evidence for this hocus-pocus.

  15. Chris Hickie says:

    There is such a thing as Mu metal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu-metal) which is used to shield sensitive experiments from outside magnetic fields (such as in magnetoencephalography (http://web.mit.edu/kitmitmeg/whatis.html).

    Would there were such a thing as Woo metal.

  16. Sastra says:

    [w]e do not endorse any specific method or system. Our member/practitioners are committed to a nonjudgmental collaboration and cooperative relationship . . .

    Sounds like an Arts Foundation — or an Interfaith Alliance.

    When I questioned the M.D./Psychosomatics Energetics Practitioner about her methods, her answers tended to attack medicine, not defend what she was doing. She claimed “science is a religion.”

    Well, to be fair, the way she’s doing it, it is.

  17. Carl says:

    Electromagnetic fields from sink holes? I thought they were… you know… holes. Maybe if a lot of water contaminated with the right stuff was flowing through it would be possible in some really minor irrelevant way, but they list underground water separately.

  18. Flower says:

    We are energy beings – the activities of our cells and tissues generate electrical fields; our mitrochondria generate an energy field measured in voltage. Peter Mitchell’s demonstration that ATP synthesis is powered by proton gradients was one of the most counterintuitive discoveries in biology, and it took a long time to be accepted.

    All tissues and organs produce specific magnetic pulsations, known as biomagnetic fields, and pathology alters the biomagnetic field. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, a distinguished researcher at Yale University School of Medicine, Harold Saxon Burr, suggested that diseases could be detected in the energy field of the body before physical symptoms appear. Moreover, Burr was convinced that diseases could be prevented by altering the energy field.

    All biological processes are a function of electromagnetic field interactions, such as the Schumann’s Resonances which exist in the space between the surface of the earth and the ionosphere, and to which life on earth is attuned.

    Energy medicines and modalities, such as acupuncture, also interact with our cellular EMFs to induce healing.

    Since 85 per cent of medical research is privatised – i.e. conducted by the pharmaceutical industry – it’s easy to see that funding for more and larger trials into energy medicines and modalities will not be forthcoming from the profit driven private sector, since these medicines cannot be patented and monetised to the same extent as drugs.

    Moreover, with governments going broke around the globe, tax-payer funded research into energy medicine will be increasingly more difficult to initiate.

    However, there is some scientific research into these modalities which is showing evidence and / or promising potential for application in medicine, without the harmful effects of drugs. Here are some examples:

    Acupuncture improves sleep in postmenopause in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22943846

    [Scalp penetration acupuncture for insomnia: a randomized controlled trial]
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20141734

    The biologic effects of grounding the human body during sleep as measured by cortisol levels and subjective reporting of sleep, pain, and stress
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15650465

    Meta-analysis of biofeedback for tension-type headache: efficacy, specificity, and treatment moderators
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18540732

    Immediate effects of microsystem acupuncture in patients with oromyofacial pain and craniomandibular disorders (CMD): a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19876045

    Pilot crossover trial of Reiki versus rest for treating cancer-related fatigue
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17351024

    Long-term results of biofeedback treatment for faecal incontinence: a comparative study with untreated controls
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19486084

    See also the interesting research at the QiGong Institute’s website:

    Work by Lund, Burr, Becker, and others leads to the inescapable conclusion that organisms tend to express quasisystemic electric changes when perturbed, and, conversely, will tend toward wellness either through endogenous repair currents or the application of equivalent external currents. We show that an all-inclusive elec-tromagnetic field representation for living systems is fully consistent with this extensive body of work. This electrogenomic field may provide the basis for a new paradigm in biology and medicine that is radically different from the present emphasis on molecular biology and biochemistry.

    http://www.qigonginstitute.org/html/scientificbasis.php#Medical%20Research

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      We are energy beings – the activities of our cells and tissues generate electrical fields; our mitrochondria generate an energy field measured in voltage. Peter Mitchell’s demonstration that ATP synthesis is powered by proton gradients was one of the most counterintuitive discoveries in biology, and it took a long time to be accepted.

      The size of the electrical fields generated by the human body are miniscule, easily overwhelmed by a fridge magnet. I have rare earth magnets that I can put on the palm and back of my hand, and they will remain in position no matter how I move my arm (baring throwing a baseball). Despite this obvious strength, my hand functioning is completely unimpaired. The fields are locally important, but unimportant once you move beyond nanometric scales. You don’t know what you are talking about.

      All tissues and organs produce specific magnetic pulsations, known as biomagnetic fields, and pathology alters the biomagnetic field. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, a distinguished researcher at Yale University School of Medicine, Harold Saxon Burr, suggested that diseases could be detected in the energy field of the body before physical symptoms appear. Moreover, Burr was convinced that diseases could be prevented by altering the energy field.

      Do you have any research that he was right? Perhaps something newer than 80 years old? People have thought lots of stuff. People thought the earth was balanced on the back of a turtle swimming through space. People are wrong. Burr was apparently wrong.

      All biological processes are a function of electromagnetic field interactions, such as the Schumann’s Resonances which exist in the space between the surface of the earth and the ionosphere, and to which life on earth is attuned.

      Yes, at an atomic level electromagnetism is responsible for linking atoms into molecules, molecules into proteins, and ultimately the 3-dimensional structure of those proteins which ultimately determines the actions of molecular biology. But that doesn’t mean magnetic fields are the appropriate treatment or cause of all disease, and the strengths of these fields are so infinitesimally low, the distance they act at so unimaginably short, that they are washed out by far more powerful forces. And in particular, as I discussed above, the earth’s magnetic field is far, far too weak to have any effect. Further, even if this belief were meaningful, slapping a magnet on as treatment is about as meaningful an effect as hitting a music box with a sledgehammer to correct the tuning.

      Energy medicines and modalities, such as acupuncture, also interact with our cellular EMFs to induce healing.

      Energy medicine doesn’t work, just ask Emily Rosa. Or the Cochrane Collaboration (or maybe don’t for this one, the CC appears to have demonstrated the difference between EBM and SBM).

      Since 85 per cent of medical research is privatised – i.e. conducted by the pharmaceutical industry – it’s easy to see that funding for more and larger trials into energy medicines and modalities will not be forthcoming from the profit driven private sector, since these medicines cannot be patented and monetised to the same extent as drugs.

      The solution would seem to be “more public funding of scientific research”, not “embrace nonsense. Also, therapeutic touch practitioners still manage to charge money for their services, and therapeutic touch organizations still manage to charge for their training sessions – so apparently it’s being monetized. Also, non-patented medicines are still quite profitable – witness acetaminophen, ibuprophen and aspirin, just among the pain relievers.

      Moreover, with governments going broke around the globe, tax-payer funded research into energy medicine will be increasingly more difficult to initiate.

      Good.

      Acupuncture improves sleep in postmenopause in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study

      Since acupuncture has never been shown to be an “energy based treatment”, claiming this is due to “energy” is simply wrong. Acupuncture claims to mainipulate qi, but qi has never been proven to exist, or be manipulable. You’re putting the cart before the horse. Even now, acupuncture researchers are exploring explanations like tissue planes, fascia and counter-irritation (everything except placebo, the most reasonable explanation that exists to date). But even if you claim the important part of your point is the “drug free” part, not the “energy” part, doesn’t studies like this show that medicine is willing to examine acupuncture and other drug-free options? This is published in a mainstream medical journal, so what’s your point?

      The biologic effects of grounding the human body during sleep as measured by cortisol levels and subjective reporting of sleep, pain, and stress

      Your grasp of science is atrocious. This study of 12 people had no control group. How do you know the changes weren’t due to the careful and solicitous attention from the researchers? How do you know patients didn’t start sleeping better because they changed their mattresses? Would you be in favour of a drug sold by Pfizer that was tested on 12 people without a control group? If not, why is this terrible study design acceptable?

      Meta-analysis of biofeedback for tension-type headache: efficacy, specificity, and treatment moderators

      Yup, and look at that, a mainstream medical outlet recommending the treatment now that there is an evidence base. So once again, you point to the difference between the nonsense you pander to, and real medicine – evidence.

      Pilot crossover trial of Reiki versus rest for treating cancer-related fatigue

      Would you take a drug tested on eight people where the control conditions were not identical? Here’s a hint – if one condition is “rest” and the other condition is “lying down with someone talking to you, present in the room, and touching you”, your control group does not match your intervention group (particularly when the outcome measures are fatigue, a nonspecific effect for which placebo controls are important).
      Read a book.

      1. Calli Arcale says:

        Wait a minute……

        Harold Saxon Burr

        Harold Saxon? HAROLD SAXON??!?!! Ignore the “Burr”. That’s just there to throw us off. Clearly, this is actually the Master.

  19. Dave says:

    An interesting article was published in JAMA some years back, looking at energy fields and touch therapy. The author, a 14 year old girl doing a science project, postulated that touch therapy practitioners who claimed to heal by realigning energy fields should be able to actually detect these energy fields. The study involved setting up a screen, having the therapist place her arms under the screen, and the investigator then bringing her arm close to one of the therapists’ hands and asking her to specify which hand (presumably if the therapist could feel the energy field produced by the investigator this should be easy). The therapist was right 50% of the time, which is what you would expect if you just guessed. Therefore the study showed that the therapists were unable to actually detect an energy field.

    How can you manipulate something you can’t detect?

    I use electromagnetic impulses produced by patients all the time – every time I read an ekg, or obtain an EMG or EEG. And I’ve seen electroconvulsive therapy used (very rarely) on patients with severe psychotic depression with impressive but short term results. But sentences that use phrases like “organisms tend to express quasisystemic electric changes when perturbed” and “This electrogenomic field may provide the basis for a new paradigm in biology” are unclear to me.

    It is just a fact of business that companies which produce drugs are going to study these drugs for effects, try to get the studies published to get the drugs approved so they can sell them and make a profit. They go down numerous blind alleys in the process. This is only evil if the studies are fabricated. Unfortunately, government funding for any scientific research has been curtailed.
    The alternative therapy industry is free to do the same as the drug companies and should be morally obligated to prove their product is effective before submitting patients to it.
    Actually, though, as pointed out in a Penn and Teller episode, what most alternative therapies are selling is personal attention.

  20. Dave says:

    Before some irate poster comments that conventional medicine should also have proof of effectiveness, I agree.

  21. OhReally? says:

    How is biofeedback “energy medicine” anyway? It is just giving auditory or visual feedback on muscle activity, to improve conscious control of something, e.g. heart rate, breathing pattern, etc. Don’t try to turn that into quackery too.

  22. Self Skeptic says:

    I wouldn’t want to disappoint, so here’s an irate post. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. ;-)

    It’s impractical to expect mainstream medicine to have proof of effectiveness, I’ve come to realize. Even things that work pretty well for, say, 65% of patients with a condition, won’t necessarily work for the next patient to walk into your office who (probably? maybe?) has that condition. What’s needed is more acknowledgment of how weak most of the evidence really is, and more realistic expectations, considering this uncertainty.

    But that would be emotionally upsetting for both doctor and patient. So neither one of them wants to go there. It seems more appealing (and less work) to nurture hope and optimism, than to undertake a skeptical assessment of the evidence. (And I’m talking about mainstream, Skeptic-Movement-affiliated doctors; let’s not even waste time talking about CAM).

    1. weing says:

      “But that would be emotionally upsetting for both doctor and patient. So neither one of them wants to go there.”
      I’m skeptical of that. Patients do look for certainty. I explain to them that they can be sure of only two things in life. Death and taxes.

      1. Self Skeptic says:

        @Weing,

        The hope and optimism to which I was referring, is SBM’s belief that the medical literature is usually scientifically sound. It’s looking to me as if it is often, perhaps usually, not.

        I guess you already know that, as the death and taxes line suggests. I liked a line in one of Jerome Groopman’s books. He quoted a doctor saying to a patient, “Now, let’s talk about what we know, and what we don’t know.” But in medicine, no one knows the difference, because as a group, MDs are not reading the literature and throwing out the papers that have fatal flaws. Instead they seem to be throwing out papers don’t come from prestigious institutions, or highly ranked journals. This may be a good way to assess “plausibility”, but it has nothing to do with evidence. It’s politics, not science.

        I can see why it is so difficult for medicine to challenge its current biases, and I can see that compromises must be reached between scientific rigor and social needs, in a social science like medicine. What I object to, is the pretense that medicine is scientific, in the way that a physical science is.

        1. Self Skeptic says:

          Correction:
          In the first line above, I should have said “SBM’s and the patients’ belief…”.

        2. weing says:

          You also need to consider the volume of medical literature. A doctor can easily keep up with the medical literature by skimming it for only 29 hours a day.

        3. Dave says:

          Please read the August 2013 issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. It talks about multiple practices which have been changed recently. There’s an active discussion in the medical field right now about what level of blood pressure to treat or how tight to aim for an Aic. There’s massive discussion about when to use mammograms and when and whether to use PSA’s. You can reference the BMJ website for active debates about saturated fat in the diet and the recent reversal in steroids with spinal cord injury leading into heated discussions of TPA with strokes. I think there’s a lot of skepticism present in the field. You seem to think that any article published is swallowed by doctors as gospel. Not so. We’ve all seen articles come out with great fanfare only to be disproved by later data – activated protein C for sepsis and extremely tight glucose control in ICU’s coming immediately to mind.

          Biologic organisms such as humans are complex. They aren’t like hydrogen atoms. Until we have a much better understanding of this complexity medical studies are going to messier than those of the physical sciences. No one’s pretending otherwise.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Until we have a better understanding of genomics and proteomics, chances are we won’t be able to have truly personalized medicine. And even if we do have such an understanding, research will probably still have a strong group component – you need groups with controls and randomization to determine causality. The individual genomic and proteomic assessments will just be used to refine the characteristics of the groups.

      Science and medicine aren’t “done’, they are works in progress. Even with the huge amount of information now available, we are still profoundly ignorant of many aspects of biology, which is devilishly complex, many orders of magnitude more than physics where the individual particles are interchangeable. I don’t think any doctor believes the science we have now is ideal and optimal and I think most realize the art of medicine is about adapting the science of medicine to the individual.

    3. mousethatroared says:

      Self Skeptic “What’s needed is more acknowledgment of how weak most of the evidence really is, and more realistic expectations, considering this uncertainty.

      But that would be emotionally upsetting for both doctor and patient. So neither one of them wants to go there. It seems more appealing (and less work) to nurture hope and optimism” etc

      Hmm, I haven’t found that with the majority of medical folks I have dealt with as a patient, parent or with family members who had serious illness.

      When I getting evaluated by my rhuematologist, he told me that my test indicated my symptoms might be related to an auto-immune disease and he would be willing to give me a trail of a particular medication to see if it helped. He gave me a run down of the risks and side effects…which are well documented. I said, “well, If you think there’s a good chance it will help…” He corrected me “Well, no, I wouldn’t say a good chance. My educated guess would be 25% chance…which is better than Vegas, but not great.” I wouldn’t say that was overly optimistic.

      I have found an occassional overly optimistic or overly certain medical profession. Generally I try to avoid them, I suspect that they are more resistant to nuance, tend to minimize patients reports of symptoms or side effects of treatment…when they don’t align with their expectations.

      Personally, I believe – hope for the best, plan for the worst. I look for professionals who are willling to communicate the realistic worst case scenario, but are not crippled by the knowledge that things are unpredictable.

      1. Self Skeptic says:

        @MTR,
        Yes, I saw in some other thread that you’re taking corticosteroids. I’m glad the doctor was willing to give you your treatment of choice, despite the low odds of success. I agree that it’s worth taking considerable risks in treatment, when one’s life is being disrupted by a chronic disease. You’re so active here, I’m sure you weighed the pros and cons, and ruled out the possibility of a chronic infection as well as possible, before proceeding. I hope you’re feeling better.

  23. Reiki Lover says:

    Believing in Reiki is as irrational as believing in God, yet there are billions of people around the world who do. No harm, so long as they don’t opt out of medical care to try Reiki or faith healing instead. I think it’s entirely possible to embrace both.

    I love Reiki and I can understand why others are so attached to it (it’s wonderful). Some people see, sense and feel it. Others do not. I don’t know why …

    That said, for me Reiki is a spiritual path 1st and a healing tool 2nd. Being whole is about a lot more than being free from illness. Its Joy, Peace, Mental Stability, etc ..

    To your point:

    “I didn’t think to ask why the universal life force couldn’t just flow directly into a person who needed it.”

    It is there for you already but you’d have to WANT to receive it – which I suspect you don’t. It might also help if you meditate on opening your chakras, as that can help you become more aware to the energies that are available to you. If you wish.

    This meditation is for sale on Amazon, only 1 USD. If you’d like to try a fun experiment, do it 3-4 times a week for six months & then try Reiki again. Or try something completely different in 6 months, like Remote Viewing. =)

    http://www.amazon.com/Guided-Meditation-Grounding-Centering-Claiming/dp/B0029DAO7A

    Thanks

    Reiki Lover # 1

    ps … I have seen the Rosa study, if you’re wondering =)

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      @Reiki Lover,

      Did you happen to notice the name of our blog?

      1. Reiki Lover says:

        Hi Harriet,

        I did. I am not suggesting that reiki is medicine. Just that for some people it is very real. And that Jann might not have been in the right frame of mind to feel or notice anything (and that some people never do).

        Take care

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          If reiki isn’t medicine, why is it portrayed as somehow healing?

          Also, opinions about fashion are real for people. Tastes in music are real. Politics are real for some people.

          Biology is real for everybody, as is physics. You don’t get to pretend reality is different for you.

          1. Reiki Lover says:

            @WilliamLaurenceUtridge,

            I take it medicine has a physical/physiological effect? Healing can be emotional or spiritual. It isn’t about curing or removing illness.

            Also, I am not pretending : my perception is different. But I take it I am on the wrong website to have that discussion anyway.

            Thank you all for your responses and best of luck.

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              I take it medicine has a physical/physiological effect? Healing can be emotional or spiritual. It isn’t about curing or removing illness.

              Yes, but reiki doesn’t let you do any of that.

            2. Calli Arcale says:

              I have yet to meet a reiki practitioner who does not limit themselves exclusively to emotional or spiritual healing. There are claims of actual, physical healing.

              And anyway, claiming to provide emotional healing is pretty damn dangerous. Do you pretend reiki can treat bipolar mood disorder, helping them to stabilize their emotions?

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Believing in Reiki is as irrational as believing in God, yet there are billions of people around the world who do. No harm, so long as they don’t opt out of medical care to try Reiki or faith healing instead. I think it’s entirely possible to embrace both.

      If you are a nurse and you do this, you are wasting time that could be spent actually caring for patients, you know, for real. If you are not a nurse, if you are charging money for it, you are wasting the money of a sick person.

      Defending reiki with “but lots of people believe in stupid things” isn’t really a defense, by the way. It just shows that you share a stupid believe with a lot of other people.

      I love Reiki and I can understand why others are so attached to it (it’s wonderful). Some people see, sense and feel it. Others do not. I don’t know why …

      I can see why you like it, you can convince yourself that you’re doing something useful in situations where you are otherwise helpless. It’s an illusion of control. With enough practice, you can probably train your neural circuits to trickle a bit of fake feedback into your brain. Yup, I bet it feels just as good as the ecstasy of St. Teresa.

      This meditation is for sale on Amazon, only 1 USD. If you’d like to try a fun experiment, do it 3-4 times a week for six months & then try Reiki again. Or try something completely different in 6 months, like Remote Viewing. =)

      Meditation is a well-validated cognitive tool with lots of positive effects. It’s self-reinforcing in many ways – relaxation, calmness, concentration, and probably some pure pleasure. It just doesn’t hook you up to some sort of cosmic power grid.

      One can acknowledge the benefits without turning it into magic.

    3. Jann Bellamy says:

      If you want to use reiki as a spiritual or religious practice you obviously have the legal right to do so, although charging people for it is unusual for a religious practice. I believe the First Amendment protects your actions in such circumstances. (I am not entirely sure the effect of selling one’s services in a religious context would have on your First Amendment claim of protection — I’d have to research that.)

      However, when you claim reiki is a legitimate health care practice and beneficial to one’s health, and charge for it, apart from a religious context, you are in the same category as other health care professionals and, for that matter, pharmaceutical companies. You must, in my view, be able to offer a plausible mechanism of action and reliable evidence of benefit. Reiki can’t do that. Under these circumstances, in my view, the practice of reiki is misrepresentation in the sale of a service.

      I hope you can see the problem in claiming you can summon some incorporeal “energy” and charge for the privilege of providing it to someone else. You can see from this post the many similar claims being made, all for money. You may not believe in their “energy” as opposed to your “energy,” but you are doing exactly the same thing as they are.

      1. Reiki Lover says:

        Hi Jann,

        I haven’t charged for reiki personally though I have paid for it once or twice (usually I swap with healer friends). I think I found my way to this blog because I do feel reiki helps me. I personally feel/sense the energy and wonder what it is about. As far as results, I experience less pMS since i started giving myself reiki though I am aware this could be a placebo effect.

        Even that pms relief is just a mind trick, its a convenient mind trick.

        I think I found my way to this blog because I do feel/sense something when I give and receive healing. And i was curious about what it means and does.

        Meditating regularly makes it easier to feel reiki. Maybe it has something to do with your brain waves changing. That is why I suggested it above.

        Thanks for taking the time to respond (and in a respectful way)

        Take care

  24. Dave says:

    Self skeptic, it is true that not all individuals respond to a given treatment. These blogs are full of statements about the “number needed to treat”, and the percent of individuals who respond or who have side effects, about the difference between relative and absolute risk reduction. Unfortunately that is the state of medicine right now. When we talk about “proven effectiveness” it means that statistically patients are more likely to do better with the treatment than with a placebo, (or for newer therapies than the established “usual care”). Anyone who reads this blog for any time at all should understand this.

    If I might give an example, if an individual came into the emergency room with a myocardial infarction when I was in medical school he would get morphine, aspirin, nitroglycerine and oxygen. Today his treatment would be tailored to whether he had a non-ST elevation MI, an ST elevation MI, or a right ventricular infarct, and to whether a cath lab was immediately available. He may recieve thrombolytics, an emergency cath, a variety of medications working on various coagulation pathways, possibly beta blockers or ace inhibitors, and a statin. But still some people die of myocardial infarctions. Some will die from the effects of treatment, such as getting intracranial bleeds if thrombolytics are used. But more of the patients survive than without the treatment and the survivors generally do better than when I was in medical school. I guarantee you that in twenty years the treatment will be different, the survival rate will be a few percentage points higher, but still some people will die. You can get mad at medicine for not being able to save everyone with the current state of the art and you can get mad that we cannot yet predict what will happen with an individual patient, but we only can use the tools that are available right now.

    It’s frustrating for doctors, too. I’ve had one patient with metastatic colon cancer at diagnosis (liver mets) who lived nine years, who responded very well to chemotherapy (statistical chance of being alive at five years was less than 10% at that time), and others who had no response whatsoever. I’ve had another patient who presented with bilateral spontaneous femoral fractures due to multiple myeloma who was alive a decade later (and I wouldn’t have bet a nickle that she would be alive in a year when we made the diagnosis based on the statistics) and others who died within weeks despite the same therapy who presented with less advanced disease. It would be SO much easier to counsel people if the effects of treatment for that individual were predictable. I can discuss the average response of patients to chemo, but maybe my patient will have an outstanding response like the people I mentioned or maybe it will just make them sick with no benefit at all – how the heck do I know? You can be frustrated and angry over this, or accept that it’s the way it is at present. There is work being done on this. We now routinely test some cancers for mutations in various genes which better predict responses to certain chemo agents, but it’s far from perfect.

    FYI it is considered standard of care at present to have patients sign a consent form after a careful explanation of risks and benefits for any potentially dangerous therapy. This would include chemotherapy, biological agents used for inflammatory conditions, thrombolytics for strokes or MI’s etc. As per mousethatroared’s post above.

    Also you might want to read Steven Jay Gould’s section in his book Full House where he describes his reaction to the dismal prognosis given by his doctors when he was diagnosed with lymphoma.

  25. devo-T says:

    “They remarked that they were feeling warmth and asked if I was too. Well, yeah, I thought, that happens if you put your hands on another person for a few minutes.”

    I don’t always snicker, but when I do, I prefer sarcasm.

    Other choice points in the article:

    The hair pull was a test of hydration, although she wouldn’t say whether I was hydrated or not because she said the tests were not valid due to my being in a room full of people,…

    I, uh, what? if the tests weren’t valid, why even do them? Also, how being in a room full of people could affect this is, sadly, something we’ll never know (and rightly so, because I guess nobody told her hair is dead). I must admit, your hair’s hydration may vary — although it’s more likely to depend on what kind of conditioner you use.

    The [REBA] device shoots waves, such as gamma waves, into the patient.

    Just, wow. I don’t know about you, but I’ll pass on any waves “such as” gamma waves being shot into my body — regardless of how expensive that colorful doodad looks.

  26. restinhebrew says:

    Holy horseshit Batman! We really need reign in this lunacy before it spready. Oh wait, too late!

  27. Paul Kramer says:

    Thank you Jan Bellamy, for your article ‘Full Of Energy’. I am a Licensed Massage Therapist, and massage therapy is riddled with quackery. You name it and and we were taught it in school. Energy medicine and so on. Wilhelm Reich for example, with his ‘Orgone’ energy, was hailed as some sort of new age prophet by our teachers. I remember at the close of class one night the instructor had us all sit in a circle, join hands, meditate and then she asked if we could feel the ‘Qi energy ball’ in our hands.
    I guess it’s cheaper than instruction in human anatomy and, physiology that includes participation in a cadaver dissection lab.
    The thing is, that when you questioned any of these ‘therapies’ and pseudo-scientific beliefs, you were branded as a cynic, that’s just too full of ‘negative energy’ to see the truth.

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