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

Your Friday Dose of Woo: MORA the same ol’ same ol’ woo

This week was difficult.

No, it wasn’t difficult because I had hit one of my periodic woo writer’s blocks that I whine about, no doubt to the occasional annoyance of my readers, even though I have one of the greatest hobbies in the world. I mean, I get to do something that I love (writing and blogging) and even get paid a nominal sum for doing it. Even better, this whole Respectful Insolence™ thing has grown far beyond my wildest imaginings when more than three years ago, on winter’s day in a deep and dark December, I experimented with Blogger on a whim and created the first incarnation of this blog. Now more people than I could ever have imagined actually read my nearly daily (and often more than daily) brain droppings. How great is that?

The difficulty, it turns out, was due to my having identified two equally deliciously woo-ey targets–I mean topics–for this week. As if deciding between two woos, both equally matched in outrageous ridiculousness, wasn’t enough, a good friend of my wife’s sent me a link yesterday to a bit of woo that is every bit the equal of the two that I was trying to decide between. It was a triumvirate of woo, and I couldn’t make up my mind! Sadly, for those of us of a science- and evidence-based mindset in medicine, an embarrassment of riches is a frequent situation when I come to do this weekly exercise in amusement. Fortunately, in fact, I’ve encountered this problem enough times that I knew exactly what to do.

Have a beer and examine the relative merits of each woo again, of course.

Oh, and listening to an album of World War II-era music, for whatever reason, seemed to aid me in my decision. Truly, I have officially entered the stage of my life that I like to call old fart-dom. In any case, it’s amazing what a bit of that golden, fizzy liquid can do for clarity of mind when it comes to woo, particularly when coupled with scratchy recordings of jingoistic big band music from the 1940s. My mind sandwiched between the glory of the two, particularly while listening to Don Cornell with Swing and Sway with Danny Kaye singing I Left My Heart at the Stage Door followed by the Andrew Sisters singing Here Comes The Navy (or even Barry Wood singing Arms for the Love of America), it became clear to me that there was really only one bit of woo that floated my boat in such a way that a German U-boat couldn’t sink it.

Just like when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s a-MORA:

MORA-Therapy is an all-encompassing assessment and treatment modality utilizing a patient’s own “ultra-fine electromagnetic oscillation”. The method had its inception in 1977 after development by the German physician Dr. Franz Morell and electronics engineer Mr. Erich Rasche from whose names the name MO-RA originated.

During more than 20 years of research, carried out by well known scientists in Germany and abroad, it was found that each individual possesses a unique spectrum of ultra-fine electromagnetic oscillations which can be electronically sensed, processed and then utilized as therapy.

Today, it is known that the chemical processes in the bodies of humans and animals are controlled by the “information” carried by and within these oscillations. Furthermore, organs and cell types possess characteristic oscillation spectrums – which are at the same time unique to each individual. The electromagnetic oscillations referred to in MORA-Therapy may be compared to (but are different from and much finer than) the cardiac impulses detected by an electrocardiogram (ECG) or brain “waves” as measured by an electroencephalogram (EEG).


We have what is arguably one of the most important elements of any device of woo: an appeal to “oscillation” or “vibration.” But there’s more there than that. So much more. Note that there’s the fallacious appeal to that favorite of woo-meisters everywhere, information theory. Truly, information theory is the new quantum theory when it comes to pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo. The reason should be obvious. Like quantum theory, no one other than those who study it really understand information theory well enough to know its limitations. Also, like quantum theory, information theory is easily abused because it can easily be twisted into rationales that seem to support the most common delusions of the “alt-med” crowd.

But what does MORA actually do? If there’s one thing I’ve come to be most annoyed at when it comes to woo, it’s that woo-meisters tend to be maddeningly vague when it comes to describing exactly what it is their nostrums do. I realize that there are very good reasons for this, the first of which is that they do not want to be sued or prosecuted. Vagueness is their best friend. Still, that doesn’t make it any less maddening. Let’s see if we can figure it out. Apparently MORA has something to do with the Individual’s Unique Regulatory Forces Set Free, whatever that means:

Damage or disturbance to the body of any sort may alter the internal milieu, so that the biophysical and biochemical functions are affected and sickness results. For example, harmful substances (like the heavy metals commonly found in food, drinking water or environmental pollution) not only affect the body with their physical-chemical nature but also affect it on the regulatory, informational level by way of the ultra-fine oscillations that they too possess.

Functional disturbances occur whenever the delicate guidance of bodily processes is influenced too greatly by interfering and unnecessary (pathological) oscillations. These malfunctions may eventually cause physical manifestations of disease if the body cannot adequately compensate for them.

Dr. Morell had the brilliant idea to specifically eliminate these interfering oscillations by utilizing their own “mirror images” to cancel them out, thus unburdening the body and facilitating natural self healing.

Hey, I remember this stuff! It’s basic physics, where it’s possible to cancel out a wave by adding a wave that’s 180° out of phase. We even did experiments in the laboratory course in basic physics in college to demonstrate this. But this still doesn’t really tell us what MORA therapy is. In fact, oddly enough, the woo-meisters at the Occidental Institute Research Foundation (the “organization behind the MORA) seem rather oddly insistent on telling us what MORA is not:

It is not electrotherapy, just as it is not radiation therapy of any kind. Most of all, it is not a paranormal medical method of treatment, the effect of which has to be believed in for an effect to be induced! MORA-Therapy makes use of the latest discoveries in bio-physics and has been thoroughly and scientifically researched and proven.

Of course it does. Of course it is. Right. They tell us it’s “thoroughly and scientifically researched and proven.” Not just scientifically, but thoroughly scientifically, as though that should be more reassuring than just scientifically. Personally, if I were pushing the MORA, i’d make sure to mention that it was extra super thoroughly scientifically researched. There’s nothing like the words “extra” and “super” to convey the idea of real science above and beyond the other usual woo terminology. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking too it.

But I still don’t know the specifics of what MORA therapy involves. Let’s take a look:

The patient usually receives treatment from a MORA device via a hand and a foot “electrode”. Therapy with the more advanced MORA-Super device though, is usually via two hand and two foot electrodes simultaneously. (As MORA-Therapy is not an electrotherapy, the electrodes are electrodes in name only as no electricity passes through them during MORA-Therapy.)

Ha! To me this sounds as though they simply hook up a hand and a foot to electrodes and do a “zap!” à la Hulda Clark! Of course, if a normal “zap” isn’t enough for you, you can always shell out extra for a super zap! Ain’t it a beautiful thing?

It is if you’re selling this woo. But that’s not all:

The patient’s own oscillations enter and exit the MORA device via the electrodes and cables in the same way as nerve impulses are conducted into ECG or EEG devices. Specialized electrodes may also be used to target specific skin areas or pain sites.

A MORA device is even able to determine, via a physically active biological filter, which section of an individual’s micro-magnetic information spectrum will provide the most beneficial therapy at a particular point in time.

The body’s debilitated regulatory forces are then unburdened and strengthened via the optimal amplification and optimal processing of that spectrum.

Troublesome oscillatory information, from deposits of heavy metals or “informationally non-metabolized” foods for example, is inverted – or changed – into its mirror image and is then returned in this form to the body. In this way pathological oscillations burdening the body are optimally reduced or even eliminated via their respective opposite oscillations produced by the MORA device. The patient is treated exclusively with his own specific, individual oscillations, as existing within him at that point in time. At no time during therapy is there administration of foreign energies or foreign substances.

Usually, during the first stage of treatment (so-called Basic Therapy) the whole of the body is harmonized. In the second step of treatment localized disease areas of the body, for example pain regions, are addressed. The device settings are readjusted for this second stage and special electrodes (e.g. finger-type, roller or flexible electrodes) are often used. Sometimes the MORA-Active electrode or probe may be employed to contact, via a magnetic field, disease oscillations from organs deep within the body. The assessment and progress of therapy may be monitored and thus controlled by measuring acupuncture points. Changes in disease symptoms and laboratory results will be noted over time.

I stand in awe at this woo language. It takes a special talent to come up with stuff like this, not to mention a certain ethical–shall we say?–flexibility. Either that, or a total lack of ethics. Of course, a total lack of ethics is a prerequisite for selling this stuff; so I realize that my mentioning of a lack of ethics is redundant. I do note, however, that another favorite of woo-meisters was not-so-subtly introduced here. Regular readers should recognize it immediately, but for the newbies around here I’ll point out that it’s the mention of heavy metal toxicity.

However, I’m more interested in this bit of amazing woo, something I’ve never, ever seen before, namely the concept of “informationally non-metabolized” foods. It’s an amazing term. Indeed, I have no idea what it means. I rather suspect that the person who came up with it doesn’t know what it means, either. Not that that ever stopped a woo-meister before. As a physician, I know that all food is metabolized unless it is something that the body can’t absorb or unless there is something wrong with the GI tract. So what does “informationally non-metabolized” mean?

Hell if I know. Perhaps one of my readers could enlighten me. Certainly this passage didn’t:

The instrument does more than just that. Using a complex system of electronic filtering it is able to separate the healthy oscillations from the un-healthy ones out of the patient’s total frequency spectrum. In effect, it separates the pathological frequencies from the physiological ones. This filtering mechanism has been amply proven through medication testing techniques involving both helpful and harmful ones, including carcinogenics. The patient’s pathological oscillations are inverted electronically, and then serve as corrective or therapeutic oscillations when introduced back into the body, since this ‘exact reversal’ process effectively eliminates these pathological oscillations. By choice, this can be accompanied by the physiological component of the patient’s total oscillation spectrum. Both can also be amplified tenfold by the instrument during the process of output transmission back into the patient. Bear in mind that all this takes place continuously in a fraction of a second, with only ever increasingly healthy components and information (electromagnetic oscillations) reaching the patient during the therapy.

Extensive statistical analysis of medication testing data has shown that a basic course of therapy with the MORA-Therapy Unit prior to Electro-Acupuncture evaluation of the points, will eliminate up to eighty percent of the patient’s disharmonious readings. That is, it effects a substantial change towards normal (“50” for GEA) in up to eighty percent of the pathological reading points. This saves the Electro-Acupuncture practitioner an enormous amount of work in subsequent point balancing actions on the remaining pathologically indicative points. Without the basic therapy step, too much time is wasted trying to nail down the actual underlying pathology out of that initial chaos of point readings.

And we all want to save our friendly neighborhood electroacupuncturist enormous amounts of work, don’t we?

One thing I learned perusing the website that is the home of this wondrous woo is that there’s much more where the MORA came from. For instance, there’s the MORA Super Therapy, the MORA Combi-Therapy, and the MORA III therapy. I really don’t care what the difference between these additional three varieties of MORA woo is. I’m guessing it has something to do with price more than anything else.

After reading this most excellent woo, however, I had to wonder what, exactly, is the Occidental Institute Research Foundation. I’m sure you wonder the same. Far be it from me to deny my ravening fans! Give the people what they want, I say! Let’s take a look:

Occidental Institute is an international nonprofit society for practitioners of biological medicine. The Institute itself has been in continuous operation since 1972. Since 1980, we have specialized in German biological medicine, which is far ahead of the United States and Canada from the standpoint of its acceptance, utilization, established remedies, and superior instrumentation. Since then, we have become the most influential organization in North America and many other English speaking countries, serving approximately six hundred affiliated Research Associates (members).

We’re not some Johnny-come-lately group just climbing onto the German biological medicine bandwagon. We have already trained hundreds of practitioners from diverse English speaking countries, in the most effective German diagnostic and therapeutic methods. Essentially, we are an information and technology bridge linking clinically proven German advancements with English-speaking practitioners. However, since we do not simply endorse any particular German approach or product line, but rather cover all of the most effective modalities (see next page), you can rely on us for truly unbiased advice.

Besides facilitating purchase of instrumentation and training on it, we offer comprehensive printed or recorded programs, publications covering acupuncture, homeopathy, Mayr Therapy and a wide range of related topics, newsletters, yearly clinic and lecture Tours to Germany, seminars by top experts from Germany and North America, and – most importantly – affiliation with fellow practitioners.

Homeopathy? I’m devastated! I thought this was all supposed to be scientific. Unfortunately, homeopathy is the über woo of über woos. It’s the woo-iest woo of all. But what’s with all this German woo? What’s wrong with good, old-fashioned, American woo? Do these guys think that we Americans can’t come up with woo every bit as ridiculous as anything the Germans have ever come up with? (This must be the influence of the aforementioned jingoistic big band music from WWII talking.) Maybe they do and maybe we can’t. After all, this isn’t just homeopathy we’re talking about. This is electronic homeopathy, which, because it’s electronic and all high tech looking, must be better than regular homeopathy. Of course, I have to wonder what a homeopathic dose of electricity is. How do you dilute it? How do you succuss it? Inquiring minds want to know!

There’s another thing, too. It just occurred to me that Samuel Hahnemann was German. That would explain the wonder that is electronic homeopathy and the RITU Interface featured at this website.

Never mind.

Look at it this way, though: What else but German engineering could come up with such a device. The engineers at Mercedes are no doubt hiding their faces in shame upon learning of this device.

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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