Complementary and alternative medicine Friday Woo Medicine Quackery

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Capturing the vibrational woo of youth

It’s been another eventful week on the ol’ blog, staring out with a post on despereate cancer patients self-experimenting with dichloroacetate, continuing on to do another fisking of the anti-evolution neurosurgeon and discussing real individualization of treatments, provided a little basic cancer biology, and ended up with some of the first straight medblogging that I’ve done in a long time. And then things finished up with the depressing news that Elizabeth Edwards’ breast cancer has recurred in her rib and possibly in her lung. Things have somehow gotten a bit too serious around here, even though I usually like to keep them from getting too deadly earnest.

And that means it’s the perfect time for some woo. Friday came just in time, didn’t it?

In order to show you just how amazingly woo-ey this week’s “target” truly is, here’s a shot across the bow in the form of a quote by one Sir Peter Guy Manners:

Recently, in Germany, researchers took the DNA of a 17-year-old boy, recorded its sound frequencies, and saved them. The boy was accidentally killed, but the scientists still had his DNA frequency patterns. Later, the DNA frequencies of the 17-year-old were transmitted into the body of a man in his late thirties. And the man almost became the young boy. His skin became youthful, he became slim, his hair went back to its natural color. Today he’s in his forties and he still looks like a much younger man.

Do you have any doubt that this is a worthy addition to our catalog of woo? Taking the vibrational essence of a dead 17 year old and using it to turn a much older man young again? Come on, it doesn’t get much better than that! But what is this woo of which Dr. Manners speaks? It’s called cymatics:

In the early 18th century, the German physicist Ernst Chladni, the ”father of acoustics,” covered plates with thin layers of sand, set them vibrating, and observed the patterns that were made in response to different sound stimuli.

In 1967, nearly three hundred years later, Hans Jenny, a Swiss doctor, artist, and researcher, published Cymatics – The Structure and Dynamics of Waves and Vibrations. In this book, published in both German and English, Jenny, like his precursor, showed what happens when one takes various materials like sand, water, or iron filings, and places them on vibrating metal surfaces.

When this is done, shapes and motion-patterns appear. Some of these patterns are nearly perfectly ordered and are stationary. Others develop in a turbulent, organic fashion, and are constantly in motion.

Jenny used crystal oscillators, and invented what he called a ”tonoscope” to set his plates and membranes vibrating. One of the most fascinating discoveries he made was that the vowels of Hebrew and Sanskrit, when toned into his media, formed the actual patterns of the letters themselves! Modern languages did not have this effect. All of which leads to the speculation that there may be some truth in the concept of a ”sacred language” — an actual, physical reason why the recitation of sacred mantras and texts may have real healing properties.

i-0c286c9f7fd2b677c3aeed1051a25725-Cymatics,complex.jpg i-fbf3cbb947c1f8bcfb762bef01e10032-Cymatics,triangle.jpg

Oh, no! This sounds like Dr. Emoto, only with sand and vibrations! What is it with woo-meisters and “vibrations” or “vibrational energy.” If it’s not one thing vibrating, it’s another. If it’s not light, it’s sound. And if it’s not light or sound, then, when all else fails, throw in a fallacious appeal to a bogus understanding of quantum theory, often gussied up with a really ugly interface. Not surprisingly, the Sound Healers Association (which, not surprisingly, was featured here in an earlier dose of woo) speaks very highly of Sir Peter Guy Manners.

But it gets better. I bet you thought you knew a bit about evolution, didn’t you? I bet you thought you understood the basic principles of natural selection, leavened with maybe some random genetic drift and sexual selection, along with other operating principles of evolutionary theory.

You’d be wrong:

Jenny thought that evolution was a result of vibrations, with the vibrations of one level of organization, such as that of cells, each one unique, combining to create glands and organs and so on, each new level being a harmonic of the previous one. Jenny saw that we could heal the body with sound by understanding how different frequencies influence the genes, cells, and organs of the body.

Out of Jenny’s work, and that of other scientists in the late fifties, came the reality of using sound to transmute diseased cells into their healthy counterparts.

I know I’ve been a big advocate of arguing that evolutionary theory provides useful insights into human disease and medicine, but this isn’t exactly what I had in mind. I haven’t decided if his “evidence” is more consistent with evolution by natural selection or “intelligent design.” Probably neither, just woo. But let’s see what Dr. Manners has to say himself, hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Here’s his view on the cause of all disease (all alties have to have a single cause for all disease, don’t you know):

Thus a large proportion of disease affecting mankind is primarily due to an obscure electrical deviation from the normal in the structure of the molecule-which in their billions form the substance of our tissue- which in their turn form the substance of our bodies.

If you are prepared to admit that sound waves transmitted through the air by bells (which have different structures from each other) will have a different character; then you can be quite sure that vibrant electrons forming a cancerous molecule must be differently arranged-differently numbered from those forming tubercular or any other pathological molecules. You can be equally sure of the waves or radiations they respectively send out will also be different in character. There will be the cancer waves, the tubercular waves, the malaria waves, sulfur waves and quinine waves. Perhaps no physician has thought of this.

Perhaps the reason no physician thought of it is because it’s utter woo. But Dr. Manners must continue:

We can easily see each organ will have its own or sonic sound field, its own noise if you wish. If properly detected, it should provide us with information of the process going on it that particular organ. Also keeping in mind that the human body, as well as the particular organs, is not a heap of matter accumulated at random. It is a well organized entity and hence bears the analogy to crystal. In scientific literature this analogy has long been suggested. The first question which presents itself to an investigator is, can it actually be demonstrated that our reasoning within the sonic field and human body is valid? Can any experiment be given as definite proof?

Ah, yes. Our minds are like crystals. Of course. How could I not see that. However, you skeptics out there might be wondering something. You might be wondering why, if these vibrations truly exist and can be manipulated by those skilled in Cymatics to heal, no one can detect them. Come, now, you must know that Dr. Manners will have an answer to that:

First, let us state clearly that these sounds must be extremely faint, otherwise our ears would detect them. So a very sensitive detector must be used. In the history of physical science all sorts of devices have been found for detecting such sounds. Now the general statement can be made, that as well as human beings, all objects are radiating sound waves.

Yes, the sounds are so faint that it’s not just our ears that can’t detect them. Nothing can detect them. I hate to jump in right here, but you haven’t shown us any evidence that these sounds even exist or that these “sensitive detectors” can actually record them, much less that, even if the exist, they have anything to do with health or disease? Isn’t Cymatics putting the cart before the horse here a bit? Just a thought.

But, no, Dr. Manners doesn’t listen:

Of course, every individual has its own pattern, or different collection of tones and shapes and geographical position. In each, the state of health is different. Also this sonic radiation will impinge on the surrounding objects and will be partially deflected by them. According to the environment a standing wave pattern should surround us with its nodes and anti-nodes.

As we move about in life, the field of surrounding waves arranges itself accordingly and will change in some incidental details. However, the fundamental pattern of interference will remain permanent. The general law could be defined thus: this radiation and its pattern is due to the distribution of the matter and its mutual correlation in any individual case. The actual chemical nature of the matter, its position, its temperature, its shape and so forth, is implicated by this definition. From this, we can see that harmony is the secret of perfect health.

Within the human body, any deviation from this harmony would result in ill health. This harmony of sound will only exist within the body providing that each molecule plays its part in the whole. Any deviation, any molecule moved and displaced in any way will upset the general scheme of the body’s harmonics. If the molecule is moved then the others will immediately rearrange themselves accordingly. The whole will be changed, and the sonic pattern also changes.

But what does all of this have to do with the Fountain of Youth? Good question! I was wondering that myself. Wonder no more:

Perhaps the most exciting possible application of Cymatics, as we indicate in the story that leads off this article, is its potential to reverse the aging process.

”When you’re born,” Dr. Manners said, ”every cell multiplies. Then, at puberty, the frequency patterns of the cells change, and instead of multiplying, cell replaces cell. As we age, cells still replace each other, but the tempo slows down.

”Within a few years of time we will be able to prevent this slowing down of cell replacement. And this can all be done with sound. If we take a frequency sample of your DNA at age 18, and save it, then later, if we transmit this frequency to your cells, they will rejuvenate.”

i-0bcee4b8b0141566ff51f0da5adb89cd-mar_mark5.jpgWhat, I wonder, about us old fogeys who were unfortunate enough to be born too soon, at a time before Dr. Manners’ work, before he could helpfully take a sample of our DNA and extract its vibrational essence and frequency when we were eighteen? Are we out of luck? Or could we, vampire-like, use Dr. Manners’ device (pictured) to extract the vibrational essences from some 18 year olds and use them to rejuvenate ourselves? Yes, i saw Lifeforce, too, and I think it’s high time for a remake, with an appropriate replacement for Mathilda May walking around naked and draining the life forces of all her victims, much as Dr. Manners undoubtedly drains the wallets of his victims (except that hopefully he is not naked when he does it, a thought too awful to contemplate).

As for the actress to portray the Mathilda May role in the remake, I nominate Jessica Alba.

That’d be a lot more interesting than contemplating more vibrational woo any day.

Before developing the tonoscope Dr.
Manners used to use a more direct method
to harvest vibrational life energy to save to
rejuvenate himself with later.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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