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

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Manifest this, woo-boy!

Woo has patterns. I’ve learned to see them, and, if you read Your Friday Dose of Woo on a regular basis, perhaps you’re starting to see them too. Not that I had originally intended to become so well-versed in woo that I start to notice these things. What really happened is that I just sort of fell into it when one day I happened to come up with the idea for this little Friday feature. Truth be told, it seems to have grown and taken on a life of its own, such that on weeks when I don’t do it (like last week), something about the blog just doesn’t feel right. On the other hand, it sometimes irritates me, because stuff happens on Friday and sometimes I’d rather blog about that stuff, but every Friday the woo sucks me in.

And, geez, is there a never-ending supply!

This week is no different. The woo that I happened to find has many recurring elements of woo. There’s vibration, of course, as all good woo must have. There’s a lot of stuff about “intent,” too, as if your intent is going save you if you are unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with cancer. Let’s not forget energy. There are lots and lots of references to energy, too. It’s all capped off (of course!) with an invocation of DNA. So, say hello to the Vibrational Integration Bio-photonic Energizer, or, as its maker likes to call it the V.I.B.E. Machine. Say hello, as well, to the evidence that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is science, maaaan. It’s the form of a scientific–yes, scientific–study entitled:

Clinical study on Direct Correlations between Psychotronic and Biochemical Measures of Human DNA by Rein, G* and Moscow, P+
*Quantum Biology Research
+Holistic Philosophy Consultants
(or, in the Wayback Machine, as the URL seems to redirect, you can find it here.)

Yes! I forgot to mention that this woo also has not only “quantum” but it’s “holistic” as well. Let’s see what the V.I.B.E. machine can do:

Human DNA conformational changes have been previously used to measure energetic influences of subtle energy generated by healers. This new bio-assay measures direct resonances with the physical DNA as well as underlying quantum process associated with hydrogen bond formation. Experiments reported here were designed to measure possible correlations between psychotronic and biochemical measurement of DNA in real time as physical DNA rewound following thermal denaturation. Physical measurements of DNA were made in NY using a spectrophotometer and radionic measurements were made in Ohio using the Harmonic Translator. An active phone line created a connection between the two locations and allowed exact timing for simultaneous measurements using both devices.

Wow! They used real phone lines! Such amazing technology! To me all it sounds as though they’re doing is denaturing (separating) two DNA strands by heat and then letting it renature (anneal) again as the temperature slowly falls. We do this sort of thing in the lab all the time when we do PCR. We also do it all the time when we’re making double-stranded probes for gel shift assays. It’s nothing particularly impressive. Of course, if they really could do “psychotronic” measurements on DNA (whatever that means), I suppose that might be mildly impressive. Or not. More likely, it means that the woo-meister is making it up as he goes along. But, hey, let’s give him a chance to explain:

The results indicate that both methods show a decreased reading as the DNA rewound. In addition, both methods detected a momentary reversal of the rewinding process, where unwinding occurred for a few seconds. These reversals may represent moments of resonance when the DNA stops rewinding, opens up and absorbs energy in its environment. At these resonance conditions, the reversal measured by both psychotronic and biochemical occurred at exactly the same time. These results demonstrate, for the first time, a direct correlation in real-time between physical and etheric measurements.

Or it could just be that these guys don’t know how to maintain a constant rate of decrease in temperature. Yes, that’s a far more likely explanation than any sort of “psychotronic” influence on DNA in solution. Of course, given this amazing result, I want to know just what this machine supposedly is. Fortunately, the company selling it has provided a very nice little brochure, but I think I like this description of the machine better:

Mission statement

We at VIBE Technologies are committed to raising the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual vibrations of each living individual on the planet.

Of course they are. On to the woo:

What is the VIBE Machine?

The VIBE machine is an electronic device that brings the vibrational level of your body back to its natural state of being. VIBE stands for Vibrational Integrated Bio-photonic Energizer.

But how–I ask–how does the VIBE Machine accomplish this amazing feat of bringing the vibrational state of your body to its “natural state of being” (whatever that is)? Easy:

Healthy cells, according to Nobel prize winner Otto Warburg, have cell voltages of minus 70 to minus 90 millivolts. Due to the constant stresses of modern life and a toxic environment, cell voltage tends to drop as we age or get sick. As the voltage drops, the cells are unable to maintain a healthy environment for themselves. If the electrical charge of a cell drops below minus 50, a person can become chronically fatigued and may get sick often. If the voltage drops to minus 15, the cell becomes diseased. When the body’s immune system gets overwhelmed and cannot fight an abundance of toxins and then we continue to put toxins into our bodies and minds such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, negative fear-based thoughts and heavy emotions, we can experience a physical imbalance.

The cells of a body that are being affected by a negative condition, have an oscillating rate that is lower than it was originally designed to have. After many months or years of this internal dis-harmony, our immune system can weaken and the symptoms begin to show in the form of an actual terminal physical imbalance or disease. All cells have small electrically powered pumps whose function is to bring in nourishment, and take out toxins. Imagine going into a house where the power has been turned off. The plumping wouldn’t operate so the toilets wouldn’t work. There would be no running water; therefore, no showers or baths could be taken and doing dishes would be impossible. The refrigerator wouldn’t work so there wouldn’t be any food to eat, and the food that was in there would go bad. Add to that trash strike and now trash is piling up. As you could guess, anyone living in that house would probably get sick.

Noooo! It’s another woo-meister invoking poor Otto Warburg. Of course, it is true that Warburg, as a fair number of scientists are wont to do, did drift a bit into woo in his old age, but I doubt that even at his worst he would have endorsed claptrap like this. This is also not the first time we’ve heard this sort of “electrical” woo before, in which the source of all disease is supposedly due to a “decreased voltage gradient” across your cell membranes. It seems to be another recurring theme in woo, along with abuses of quantum theory, claims that we’re full of “toxins” that must be removed, and, of course, vibrations. It’s also irritating how woo-meisters always argue by analogy–usually bad analogies. Calling ion channels “electrically powered pumps” is about as simplistic as it gets and not even really accurate, particularly the part about taking out the “toxins.” True, there are multidrug transporters that are responsible for chemotherapy resistance, but it’s a stretch to link these to the sort of vague, unspecified “toxins” that the woo-inclined like to rail against. Not that these sorts of considerations have ever stopped this sort of woo before, nor have they stopped claims that there is a magic machine that can somehow increase the “energy” levels of your cells:

One way to efficiently and safely raise cell voltages is with a device called a VIBE machine. An earlier type was invented by Georges Lakhovsky in the early 1900’s. Dr. Lakhovsky discovered that healthy cells acted like little batteries and discovered how to recharge them (raise their voltages). He found that transmitting energy in the range between 750,000 hertz and 3,000,000,000 hertz raised the cell’s voltage. Dr. Lakhovsky had great results with all types of physical imbalances.

Not only was his unit able to return sick cells (and people) to health, but also those who used it regularly noticed that they rarely became sick. He proved the principle that life forms can absorb radio wave energy. The VIBE uses that principle to strengthen the healthy cells of the body, so that they can resist physical imbalances. Knowing the right frequencies and putting them out simultaneously does not necessarily destroy an infection, but we believe it charges the cell making it strong enough to resist the infection.

That’s right; all you have to do is to stand in front of this machine, and you can do all this:


Yep, that looks like it can do all the stuff claimed for it, doesn’t it? But there is one bummer about the machine. If you read the website, you’ll find that this machine weighs 85 lbs.

That’s some seriously heavy woo!

Still not convinced? Well, then, let’s look at some more science. Here’s a “study” (and I do use the term loosely) that claims to examine the effect of the VIBE machine on depression. Oddly enough, it doesn’t appear to have been published in any sort of peer-reviewed journal. Obviously those close-minded scientists are suppressing the genius of these investigators, as you will see. It sure does look all “science-y”; so it must be science, right? One thing that leaps out at you is that this is a totally unblinded study, which makes it pretty much close to useless. But, hey, that’s just the nasty scientist in me talking. Big surprise, the investigators noted a decrease in all the measures of depression and anxiety that they looked at:

Given this, the suggestion is for a phenomenon we call “entrainment” or conditioned space, the suggestion that the space itself, the office had become “entrained” with the energy of the VIBE and therefore, all who entered that space potentially received the benefits of VIBE sessions with or without actually having VIBE sessions. Further investigation and research into the possibility of the VIBE machines ability to entrain or condition a space is needed, and would require a separate, controlled space in which to collect data from the control group. The implications are enormous.

To which I respond: Huh?

As far as I can tell, this whole VIBE machine thing seems to be another way of “manifesting.” According to the seller of the machine:

Have you ever wondered why one person walking down a dark alley at night will get mugged while the previous person goes by untouched? Bad things may happen to apparently “good” people and good things may happen to seemingly “bad” people. This phenomena is all based upon the level of positive or negative energy that they are sending out into the Universe.

You are like a radio tower that is constantly sending out a certain frequency of energy. Your thoughts and feelings together create an “energetic blueprint” that is constantly being emitted out into the world. The interesting thing is that this vibration is always being reflected back to you, showing up as physical results in your life. What you send out is EXACTLY what you get back!

Whatever you continuously focus your attention on, is what you will manifest in your life. Once you learn how to retrain your mind and body to operate at a higher “manifesting vibration” you will consistently magnetize ONLY positive people, situations and experiences into your life. When you start practicing these ancient manifesting exercises for 90 days in a row, you will be able to keep your mind steady on FEELING and VISUALIZING what you want! This means you will be able to start manifesting EXACTLY what you want everywhere you go!

Oh, no! I think I’ve finally figured it out. I should have seen it coming. After all, I can’t plead inexperience anymore. What we appear to be looking at here is a variation of The Secret. Now, there’s some serious stupidity. Even more offensive is the “blame the victim” mentality in which people who have bad things happen to them are painted as having brought misfortune upon themselves because of the “negative” energy or thoughts they are sending out to the universe. By that sort of logic, victims of the Holocaust obviously brought the Nazis down upon them. I just can’t emphasize enough how vile the whole “Secret” woo is.

Indeed, the only difference between this woo and The Secret is that the Secret emphasizes “intent,” while this woo associated with the VIBE machine claims that by getting you up to a “higher vibration” you can have whatever you want, and it admits this:

Just trying to think positive thoughts and have positive feelings won’t cut through the negative patterns the mind has created.

Naturally, you need this woo, possibly augmented by the VIBE machine:

You will need a more powerful system that will energetically break through ANY experience a feeling of being blocked or stuck in the situation and fall back into old patterns. By doing our daily manifesting routine to consciously raise your vibration you truly become UNSTOPPABLE at manifesting your heart’s desires!

Of course you will.

And, of course, you need to make sure to read just how seriously the makers of the VIBE machine take their device, as evidenced by this blurb in the company’s brochure:

The information provided here is to be used as a reference source only. VIBE Technologies LLC does not warrant the completeness or accuracy of this information nor in any way endorse or recommend any specific individuals, medical professionals, or course of treatments listed. In no event shall VIBE Technologies LLC be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or any action taken by you in reliance on this information nor does your use of this information constitute the offering of medical advice from this pamphlet or VIBE Technologies LLC.

Nothing like a company that stants by its products, is there? Of course, how could it be otherwise. This is nothing more than the usual quack disclaimer that’s designed to absolve pushers of woo of any responsibility for their actions or recommendations. Whenever you see this, run, don’t walk, away!

And remember that you can’t increase the voltage of all the cells in your body, nor can you get anything you want just by wishing for it.

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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