Complementary and alternative medicine Friday Woo Medicine Pseudoscience Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Help me Obi-Wan. You’re my only hope.

In the year and a half or so that I’ve been doing Your Friday Dose of Woo, I must admit that I’ve come across some truly weird stuff. Stuff so weird that, after reading it, you wonder either, “How on earth could someone seriously think something like this is true or would work?” or “How can anyone be so unscrupulous as to scam people like this?” Not infrequently, both questions come to mind simultaneously. Other times, I realize that it’s fundamentalist religion of some sort or bizarre spiritual quasi-religious beliefs that are behind the woo. I’ve also started to notice recurring themes, patterns of woo, if you will. These tend to encompass “vibrations,” abuses of quantum theory, manipulation of “energy,” “intent” (otherwise known as wishful thinking, in which sufficient “intent” is thought to be enough to alter water or manifest one’s desires), among other recurring themes.

Then I came across 8light: Holographic Commnication for Your Mind and Body, which promises that you can improve your life without drugs, herbs, or chemicals. Now there’s some woo I don’t see every day: Holograms (which is my excuse for the lame Star Wars joke in the title; never let it be said that I don’t like to use pop culture references that reveal that I came of age in the 1970s).

So let’s find out what this whole 8light thing is about, shall we? It starts by asking you, “What if you could have more energy, lose weight, and get a good night’s sleep. Now you can.” Interesting. What is it about this 8light thing that lets you do all of those things by apparently bathing in the light of woo. We’ll have to dig a bit deeper. Let’s look at a press release that was sent to a friend of mine named Angel:

Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to sleep. Tossing and turning. Your mind is racing, going over everything that happened today. Getting a good night’s sleep has just become easier and safer without the use of drugs, chemicals, or addiction.

Extensive research shows that an easy to peel and stick holographic disc the size of a nickel can be used for a restful   Nights’ sleep when placed on an acupuncture point. This 21st century innovation by the Atlanta based company  8ight LLC, is the marriage of holographic technology combined with proven traditional Chinese acupuncture to activate the body’s meridians, thereby creating a healthy, balanced, and natural sleep without the expense and inconvenience of multiple appointments and the use of needles.

For the past six years, the Sleep in America polls — conducted on behalf of the National Sleep Foundation – have provided a snapshot of the nation’s bedroom woes. Consistently, the polls have shown that about half of adults in the U.S. do not get a good night’s sleep almost every night. Today, one in six adults report getting less than six hours of sleep nightly effecting some 40 million.  Sleep is vital to good health and according to the CDC it ranks right up there with healthy eating and exercise. Poor sleep can lead to depression, health problems – even accidents.

Internet Market Consortium (IMC), a Jenkintown, Pennsylvania based company is responsible for the U.S. marketing.  Lou Jasikoff spokesman for IMC added, “I could not be more excited. This is truly an amazing product.   It is easy to apply, drug free with no addiction and no side effects!” 

I can’t help but notice that apparently this amazing product, whatever it is, also seems to inspire plagiarism, as most of the very first paragraph of the press release is lifted word-for-word from the Stanford University Sleep Disorders site. Be that as it may, the woo itself has a lot of potential. Come on, how could it not? Holographic technology combined with some aspect of traditional Chinese medicine? This woo has promise. So let’s delve a bit into the website to find out what it’s all about. Amusingly, the website has on its sidebar a link to something the woomeisters call the “science center.” Can Orac resist such a link on a woomeister site? I think you know the answer to that one.

So what is the “science” behind this 8light thing? First, it starts with a picture of Mehmet Oz with Oprah and quotes him: “We begin to realize that the next big frontier … in medicine is energy medicine. It’s understanding for the first time how energy influences how we feel.”

Ooooh. Very bad. I’m in pain. Not so much from the vapidity and woo of the above quote but from seeing Dr. Oz inexplicably wearing not only his scrubs but his surgical clogs during one of his appearances on Oprah’s show. If there’s anything that provokes ridicule among one’s surgical colleagues, it’s showing up outside of the hospital dressed like that. It’s obvious that Oz practically wants to scream, “I’m a surgeon, dammit! Respect me!” Apparently he doesn’t realize that there is such a thing as being too obvious. After all, Dr. Oz practices in New York as a Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Columbia University (I know; I’ve heard him in ads for Columbia on New York radio stations), and Oprah tapes her show in Chicago; so there’s no excuse that he just got out of the clinic or the O.R. In any case, if you’re a surgeon and show up in media appearances dressed like you just came out of a difficult case, unless you’re actually at your own hospital or on your way to or from the hospital, your fellow surgeons are snickering at you.

But I digress. Back to the woo. Let’s look at something they call the “science overview“:

The revolutionary holographic disc by 8ight marries the traditional Chinese medicine of acupuncture with a state-of-the-art holographic delivery system. The holographic Data Disc™ activates the body’s meridians by concentrating various affects on acupuncture points to activate the points thereby creating a healthy, balanced body. TCM teaches that meridian energy is the basis for health in the body. If the meridians are energized, the organs are energized, and thus work more efficiently. By wearing our holographic data disc the energetic affect is lengthened as compared to needles, acupressure, ultra sound and new patch type products.

Like a computer disc or music disc, information using cutting edge technology is stored on each hologram. When the hologram is applied to your body or clothing, it enters your body’s energy field. Once the disc is in the energy field the body accesses the information stored on Data Disc™ which looks like a penny-sized silver sticker. The energy field becomes the carrier wave for the accessed information to stimulate the acupressure point just as needles would do in acupuncture.

Yep. Hologram. Needles. It’s all the same thing as long as it’s placed on the appropriate “meridian.” It’s all the same woo. But why acupuncture points? Who knows? I’m more interested on what information is in each hologram:

For over 6,000 years, various cultures have understood that objects and natural sensations influence our daily lives with their color, sound, design, etc. With the advances of science we are able to capture these natural influences and create ways to store and retrieve this information using our proprietary holograms. The body can now access this information on an “as needed” basis, in a non-invasive way, when placing a holographic disc or Data Disc™ on an acupuncture point.

Well, that’s obvious. But more important is “intent”:

Expectation is a powerful tool in helping to shape results. Intention begins with the understanding that the subconscious mind is the work horse in directing both personal accomplishment and processing most of our thoughts. We are all familiar with stores of people who surpassed what seemed like insurmountable tasks who credit their accomplishment to a determined mind.

Motivational speakers, are the first to challenge their audience to create a whole new outlook on how to accomplish goals. “If you think you can – you can,” is the foundation for setting intention. Secondly, visualizing is the key to activating the subconscious mind. Visualization is a technique used by many superior athletes for success.

I wonder if they mean something like this:

Somehow I don’t think that’s what they mean, but that’s what came to mind.

But how does it really work? it’s the Biofield, dudes:

Like a two dimensional shadow cast on a wall by three dimensional objects, both we and our world are four dimensional shadows cast by five, six, and higher dimensional realities. This multi-dimensional approach is showing new directions for research into mysteries like black holes and super strings in space, and phenomena observed on other planets.

For thousands of years, the sages have taught that humans are not just a bag of flesh, bones, and chemical compounds that exist in space and time but, in addition, consist of subtle energies. That view is consistent with the view emerging in modern science,” Ron Moorefield, Vibratory Acupoint Balancing.

Like, wow, man. Sooooo groovy and true. But what about the Holograms, maaaan? Patience:

Holograms were chosen as a delivery vehicle to relay information to the human body due to their storage and retrieval properties. The concentrated layers in each hologram are determined based on scientific testing using surface mammography, oximeters, spectrographs, thermal imaging and other measuring devices.

Basic design elements in the Data Disc™ are a mathematical vortex which incorporates color, geometry, symbols, and intention names lasered into each hologram during the manufacturing process.

The layered images may or may not be visible to the eye, but are imbedded in the design. The basis for design is derived from the Haramein-Rauscher solution to torque and Coriolis force as an amendment to Einstein’s field equations, which modifies the Kerr-Newman solution as noted under Geometry.

Who knew you could do so much with a hologram? Certainly not me. Personally I think of Princess Leia in Star Wars or the holodeck on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I’m still left with one question, though: Why acupuncture points? Good question:

Each holographic disc is easy to use with its adhesive backing in placement over the desired acupuncture point. Each Data DiscTM is scientifically designed for a specific desired effect such as: more energy, restful sleep, weight loss or pain relief. Therefore each acupressure point placement of the Data DiscTM is chosen to coincide with the effect desired.

For example, the action™ disc is placed on the acupuncture point pericardium 6 on the inside of the right wrist.

The same effect can be replicated with the use of acupuncture needles, however the convenience of wearing the holographic disc has obvious advantages, no needles, no appointments, and low cost. Additional advantages of utilizing acupuncture points is the concept of taping into vital energy (qi), which is believed to flow through the body. It is thought to regulate a person’s spiritual emotional, mental, and physical balance.

The holographic disc activates the body’s energy field or biofield, which in turn activates the meridians creating a healthy, balanced body, in a non-invasive way.

Of course it does.

But, like me, I’m sure you want some evidence. So here’s some evidence how these discs can reverse the effects of the nefarious cell phone disrupting your natural energy flow in your body:

Words fail me. A more convincing demonstration is hard to imagine.

The question is, of course, how much will this woo set me back? It’s a bargain, of course. The action disc, sleep disc, and the slim disc all cost only a mere $65 apiece. It’s a small price to pay for all the benefits these discs claim to be able to bring!

You know, I’m in the wrong business. But, then, I’ve known that for a long time now.

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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