Archive for the Alternitive Medicine Category

Tong Ren Therapy

Posted in Alternitive Medicine with tags , , , , , , , on June 1, 2008 by youtubeskeptic

This has got to be one of the most disturbing videos and some of the most irresponsible “reporting” I’ve ever seen in my life.

The introduction to the story sends up one of the biggest red flags that what you’re about to hear is 100% crap.

“From chronic illnesses to late stage cancers; one Massachusetts man says he has come up with a therapy that can heal almost any ailment”

One of my rules of thumb when considering a claim of a medical treatment is that if it claims to be a universal cure all then there is pretty much a 100% chance of it being garbage. Of course,just about every woo woo “therapy” claims to be able to cure cancer.

So,what exactly is Tong Ren? Apparently it’s a acupuncture/voodoo hybrid that this guy,Tom Tam, just made up out of thin air. You just tap the “energy” points on the doll with a tiny hammer and somehow this is supposed to heal you. I noticed that when they did close ups of people who were supposed to be tapping a specific point,that they were tapping randomly all over the place almost.You would think that if it actually worked the way its claimed then the accuracy of the tapping would be of the up most importance since you have to make sure the healing “energy” is directed to the correct point.I mean,if I had a brain tumor I wouldn’t want to lose all that healing because people were tapping the back of the neck or the upper back.Here is the “Theory of Tong Ren from Tam’s website.

“For any healing system, there has to be a supporting theory, no matter where the theory comes from or whether it makes sense. The theory of the collective unconscious is the basis for Tong Ren Therapy. Without proof all theories are merely conjecture. Proof may be found in research or empirical data. Tong Ren has not been proven by any expert research. This type of research involves financial support, political support, development of modern science, and case studies by a qualified practitioner. The proof for all of my theories is only through the experience and results of my patients and myself. Of course I have no doubt that Tong Ren Therapy works. No one can deny the work we have done or the results we have achieved or argue about it.”

Need I say more?

The anecdotal evidence is pretty typical of alternative medicine techniques. The patient is undergoing standard medical treatments for their disease and doing the alternative techniques on the side,but if they start to get better all the credit goes to the alternative “therapy” and not the chemotherapy or whatever standard treatment they were involved in.

Doing some research I found that the Tong Ren proponents are already trying to parade around the fact that Harvard Medical/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have initiated a pilot study. Here is what they are doing:

“The purpose of this study is to obtain preliminary evidence of the efficacy of the Tong Ren Healing System in improving symptoms from treatment or disease through an anonymous cross-sectional survey of participants of Tong Ren Healing sessions. We will collect self-report surveys from attendees at 6 different sites for Tong Ren Healing group sessions in Massachusetts. A self-administered survey has been developed for this study to assess the following: conditions for which people seek treatment; duration of treatment; other treatment modalities sought for condition; reports of changes in symptoms and conditions; for those who report improvement, extent of improvement. Although the primary population of interest is patients with cancer, we will collect surveys from all attendees to assess impact of Tong Ren on other chronic conditions. Approximately 300 participants will take part in this study. Results will be used as preliminary evidence for future research in this healing modality.”

So basically,its just a survey of people who at least already believed enough in it to go to a session and to self evaluate the effects-anecdotes.This is hardly anything in the way of proof of Tong Ren. The sad thing is that usually the public only hears about the results of pilot studies such as these which are almost always positive,especially a survey study which does nothing but help to establish the claimed effects of a treatment so real studies can be formulated,but then the public never hears the results of the actual conclusive studies which come out to be dead negative.Name me one time you’ve turned on the news and heard them say “remember the positive pilot study on (insert treatment) we told you about 10 years ago? Well the phase four conclusive studies have come out and the results were negative”. I know I sure haven’t!

At the end of the story they tell us that Tom did not want to be interviewed for the story.Strange. I looked up other news stories about Tong Ren and he declines being interviewed for them all. Mr.Tam cites his reason for not being interviewed on that be feels “critics have made unfair accusations”. What kind of nonsense reporting is this? If someone makes fantastical claims but refuses to be interviewed for a story on it then DON’T DO THE STORY! Whats the point of this other than to do an easy fluff piece which does nothing but harm to people who need real help?

For more on Tong Ren straight out of the horses mouth you can go to TOMTAM.COM. There you can find the Holy Trinity of woo woo with “Tong Ren Astrology” . Acupuncture,voodoo and astrology combined? Sounds reasonable to me. You can also sign up for the upcoming training course….only $300! Or,you can buy a “TENS machine” and give your Tong Ren doll electric shock therapy for only $85. Think of all the illness you might have caused when you were a child blowing up G.I Joe action figures with a M-80.


Gua Sha

Posted in Alternitive Medicine with tags on May 15, 2008 by youtubeskeptic

According to Wikipedia, Gua Sha is literally translated “to scrape for cholera” which kind of confuses me since cholera is an infectious gastrointestinal disease.The basic technique is to lubricate the skin and then stroke it repeatedly with a smooth edged object while applying a good amount of pressure.This is supposed to help pull “sha”-toxins- to the surface of the skin,and the sha causes the skin to discolor.

So what does Gua Sha supposedly help?Here is a short list of common things it is said to help:

  • Reduce fever (the technique was used to treat cholera).
  • Treat fatigue caused by exposure to heat (often used to treat heat-stroke) or cold.
  • Cough and dyspnea: bronchitis, asthma, emphysema.
  • Treat muscle and tendon injuries.
  • Push sluggish circulation, fibromyalgia.
  • Treat headache.
  • Treat sunstrokes / heat syncope and nausea.
  • Treat stiffness, pain, immobility.
  • Treat digestive disorders.
  • Treat urinary, gynecological disorders.
  • To assist with reactions to food poisoning

It wouldn’t be true woo woo if it didn’t claim to help treat a wide variety of unrelated ailments!

If you want to see a real good look at the results of Gua Sha,here is another quick video:

I don’t think I’m going to far out on a limb when I say “Sha” is nothing more than superficial scratching-in terms of the first video- and SEVER bruising and bleeding as shown in the second video!Seriously,who wants their body to look like that?It’s just bruising people!It is the hallmark of alternative and quack medicine to take something as common as a bruise and put some type of spin on it.Oh,but wait,they have proof that its not just superficial scratches and bruising.

“Sha rash does not represent capillary rupture as in bruising, as is evidenced by the immediate fading of petechiae to echymosis, and the rapid resolution of sha as compared to bruising.”

Thats right,they just say its not;therefore its not.

Amazing though,how the different colors of “sha” represent the spectrum of skin discoloration exactly the same as superficial scratching and brusing:

“The color of sha varies according to the severity of the patient’s blood stasis — which may correlate with the nature, severity and type of their disorder –appearing from a dark blue-black to a light pink, but is most often a shade of red.”

A good way for them to prove their claim is to have this “sha” tested to see exactly what it is. I mean,if its not bruising but “toxins”,then it should test as such. Have they done this? No,not that I could find anywhere.It’s just mysticism piled onto normal everyday things and since its “ancient Chinese” people think that that means it actually works.

Save yourself some cash and just get into a bar fight or something if you want to look beat up cause thats all you’ll get from Gua Sha.

Using Muscle Testing to Screen for Cancer

Posted in Alternitive Medicine with tags on May 9, 2008 by youtubeskeptic

Let’s watch “Dr.” Overman teach us how we can muscle test for cancer.

WOW- The level of irresponsibility in this video is just off the charts!

In case you’ve never heard of Applied Kinesiology (AK)-AK is the idea that the body can-through muscle strength- discern the truth of personal statements (like a lie detector),weather or not your body likes certain substances like food or medication,and according to this guy;weather or not you have diseases.

The most common way I have seen to “muscle test” is the type presented in this video with an arm held straight out and someone applying medium downward pressure to the out stretched arm.The idea is that if you utter a false statement or hold a subsstance that is harmful to your body close to you;that your muscles will weaken allowing to practitioner to easily push the arm down, and the opposite for a truth full statement or a helpful substance.I have also seen muscle testing being done by creating a ring with your middle finger and thumb and then trying to break the ring by pulling it apart (someone else would do this for you),or by trying to pull it apart yourself using the index finger of the opposite hand.


You make the statement: “I am a human being.”

In this case,you should be able to resist the downward pressure and keep your arm out to your side.

You make the statement: “I am a 12 headed aquatic unicorn.”

In this case,however,your muscles should weaken making it impossible for you to resist against the downward pressure and your arm will fall to your side.

I stumbled upon this video a few weeks ago when a friend of mine asked me if I had ever heard of AK.I told her I had and our discussion of it led me too look at any new You Tube videos posted on it since I had last looked them up. I was terrified to come across “Dr.” Overman giving a seminar and explaining to the class how you don’t need to go to the hospital and use real technology because it’s easier and cheaper to just have someone do this garbage instead.

“…you don’t have to put’em in a huge multi-million dollar building with this multi-thousand dollar instrument to screen them.You can just do it yourself anywhere you are because you have your brain and hand.Right? And I like that.”

The scariest part is that while his was making these ridiculous statements you could watch the joy and wonder on the faces of the people listening to him and listen to their agreement with his statements.

It’s no wonder that a little investigation of Overman gives you the results that he sells herbs and supplements as a way of treating sickness and disease and uses AK as a way to pick out the correct supplements for the people that come into his store.Of course,real scientifically tested and proven treatments also “test” negatively and are to be avoided.I cannot expess strong enough the importance for getting real screening and treatment of you suspect having cancer or any other illness.

I tried to leave a comment on the video stressing the point that he was being totally unethical telling people such things,but shortly after posting it I found the “Dr.” had deleted it.

Oh,and in case you were wondering by what means he calls himself a doctor-he cites himself as getting his doctorate in Naturopathy from the Trinity college of Natural Health.In other words;a doctorate in pseudoscience from the Trinity College of Bullshit.Guess what? I just got my doctorate in Puddle Jumping from Yellow Boots University.Please refer to me as “Dr.Murray,PJ” from now on.

So,is their any proof that muscle testing and AK actually work? No.

When double blinded tests of AK have been conducted the results were no better than chance.

If someone tries to bring up AK (in the case of my friend,it was a massage therapist)and convince you that it really works;here is a simple double blinded test you can set up:

  1. Get 10 small containers of the same size and shape (like water bottles all of the same brand)and black them out so whats inside cannot be seen.
  2. Fill 5 with just plain water and 5 with a mixture of water and powered rat poison. Be sure to measure equal amount into each container so there is no weight difference.
  3. Make sure all parties involved see the containers being filled so there is no dispute that 5 are indeed water and 5 are indeed the mixture.
  4. Have the person being tested do a muscle test on each bottle while they know which ones contain the water and which ones don’t.This will confirm that the persons muscles will respond positively to the bottle with water in them and negatively to the bottles with the poison mixture in them.
  5. Place the bottles in a private room or area and have one person,who is not involved in conducting the test,walk into the room alone and attach numbered pieces of tape 1-10 on each bottle randomly and record on a piece of paper which numbers correspond to which substance. (ex. 2,5,6,8,10 = water 1,3,4,7,9=mixture).Have them seal the paper in an envelope and place the envelope on a table in view of everyone.
  6. Have a different person enter alone into the room with the bottles and have them mix up the numbers on the bottles randomly and have them record which new numbers correspond to the old numbers (ex. bottle 2 now = bottle 6,bottle 4 now = bottle 9,etc).Have them seal the paper into an envelope and place it with the other envelope.This way no one knows what containers contain what until the end of the test when the envelops are opened.
  7. Have a third person go into the room and choose randomly each of the bottles one at a time and bring them out to be tested and record the results.
  8. After all the bottles have been tested open the envelopes to reveal which bottles contained which and compare them to the the results of the trials.

Chance alone would predict 5 out of 10 to be correct.Of course if AK really worked as the practitioners claim,there should be no reason for them to not score perfect or at least maybe 8 or 9 correct.