Complementary and alternative medicine Friday Woo Medicine Skepticism/critical thinking

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Bouncing away the toxins

After last week’s Your Friday Dose of Woo, which featured an amazingly extravagant bit of woo that took up 10,000 webpages of some of most densely-packed woo language that I’ve ever seen, I feel the need for a change of pace. It’s time to simplify this week. After all, if I were to do nothing but woo on the order of sympathetic vibratory physics, the Wand of Horus, quantum homeopathy, or DNA activation every week, your brain might well fry. And, if your brain didn’t fry, my brain would for subjecting myself to such material week after week. Every so often, I need just a little wafer to cleanse the palate, so to speak.

Fortunately, I’ve found just the thing. Believe it or not, I used to like The Man Show. It just so happens that each episode of this show ended with girls on trampolines. It also just so happens that, besides exercise and allowing men to indulge their crude side, trampolines can be used for most marvelous woo:

The typical rebound mini-trampoline is about 3′ in diameter and 9″ high. It is safe, easy to use, and effective. Research has led some scientists to conclude that jumping on a mini-trampoline is possibly the most effective exercise yet devised by man, especially because of the effect rebounding has on the lymph in the body.


And what, pray tell, is that effect? Sure, it’s exercise (although I tend to wonder if it’s as fantastic an exercise as the woomeisters responsible for this website claim), but it’s so much more than that. It’s a lymphatic rejuvenator and cleanser. But why do you need a lymphatic detoxifier? Because your cells are bathed in toxins, of course! At least, that’s what so many “alternative” practitioners will tell you, anyway. They’ll also tell you that your body, honed by countless generations of evolution, somehow can’t deal with those toxins without a lot of help, either in the form of colon cleanses, liver flushes, or chelation therapy, just to name a few. (One wonders how humans survived before these innovations; they probably drowned in their own toxins.) So what does all this have to do with the lymphatic system? This:

The human body needs to move. The lymph system bathes every cell, carrying nutrients to the cell and waste products away. Contrary to blood which is pumped by the heart, the lymph is totally dependent on physical exercise to move. Without adequate movement, the cells are left stewing in their own waste products and starving for nutrients, a situation which contributes to arthritis, cancer and other degenerative diseases as well as aging. Vigorous exercise such as rebounding is reported to increase lymph flow by 15 to 30 times.

The lymph fluid moves through channels called “vessels” that are filled with one way valves, so the lymph always moves in the same direction. The main lymph vessels run up the legs, up the arms and up the torso. This is why the vertical up and down movement of rebounding is so effective to pump the lymph.

Of course, no evidence is presented to support the contention that jumping on a trampoline does anything more for the lymph flow than any other sort of exercise. Nor is any evidence presented that increasing lymph flow does anything to cure all the diseases found listed in the website, but just trust them. After all, they have medical-looking diagrams; so they must know what they’re talking about, right? Well, not exactly. They’re smart enough to mix in a little fact, but then they go right off the deep end with it (the whole bit about cells being “left stewing in their own toxins,” for example) by saying things like this:

Many people have badly congested lymphatics and don’t even know it. At this time in our country the lymphatic system is the most over-looked system of the human body. In Europe stimulation of the lymph flow is the fourth most commonly prescribed medical treatment. Most U. S. healthcare practitioners seldom consider the lymphatic system’s critical role in preventing illness or its importance to the over all healing process. Some of the organs that are part of the lymphatic system are lymph nodes and lymph veins, the tonsils, adenoids, appendix and the spleen and you know what happens to those parts of the body whenever surgeons get close to them. Swollen glands, with which most of us are familiar, are symptomatic of blocked lymph nodes, which indicate a breakdown in the mechanical functioning of the lymphatic system. Other examples of congested lymphatics are:

Chronic Sinusitis
Heart disease
Eczema & other skin conditions
Loss of Energy
Fibrocystic disease
Chronic fatigue
Repetitive parasitic infections
Multiple Sclerosis
Lupus erythematosis
High blood pressure
Viral infections
Puffy eyes
Bacterial infections
Low back pain
Loss of Energy
Ear or balance problems
Excessive sweating

Wow! Who knew that blocked lymphatics can cause basically any disease under the sun. I was always taught in medical school that blocked lymphatics caused a nasty condition called lymphedema. That’s the swelling of an extremity that can happen when the lymphatic drainage from that extremity is blocked, most commonly by surgery to remove the lymph nodes as part of the treatment of either breast cancer or melanoma but also by various parasitic infections. However, we’re talking serious obstruction here, not the vague “blockages” that this website claims. Trust me, if you have significant problems with your lymphatic drainage, you’ll know it. The involved extremity will swell. As for all the diseases that are claimed to be “caused” by lymphatic obstruction, they’re all more or less a crock. There is a tenuous link in some of the diseases (for example, lymphatic blockage of the breast and arm after surgery for breast cancer, often coupled with radiation to the breast, can predispose to a form of cancer called a lymphangiosarcoma. Even so, this is a pretty rare tumor, even after breast cancer surgery. In other words, under certain conditions, lymphatic blockage can predispose to cancer, but such cancers are still rare, and they are of only a very few types.

Somehow, I suspect that the rare lymphangiosarcoma after breast cancer is not what these woo-meisters had in mind.

But what about the benefits? They are myriad, of course:

Let’s talk about the eliminative organs, such as the bowels, kidneys, lungs, lymph system, or skin, for example. When a foreign substance is present, the body’s first reflex is to expel or eliminate it. When this elimination is suppressed by any means such as taking pharmaceutical drugs, for example, some of the foreign matter gets pushed back into the system. As elimination is blocked, the very substances the body is trying to eliminate become stored within the body, causing any number of disease symptoms. the body then becomes toxic. When this happens, the degenerative disease process begins.

The dreaded pharmaceutical drugs! Oh, no! Anything but that! Fortunately for you also, rebounding is also touted to be “good for the immune system. (But what “alternative” medicine website can resist making this claim?)

Naturally, though, if you want the maximal benefit from “rebounding” on a trampoline, it’s not enough just to jump up and down. Oh, no. You have to combine it with oxygen therapies, a detoxification diet, oral chelation therapy, and a variety of other woo. After all, if you buy a trampoline from them (helpfully able to handle up to 250 lbs.), they only get you once. If you buy various remedies and “detoxification” products from them, they’ve got you nailed on a regular basis.

Although you might never have expected it, think of “rebounding” as a “gateway” bit of woo to get you hooked. Sometimes the simplest bit of woo is still the best.

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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