Woo by Bernie

I recently wrote about a local news station’s support of woo. This naturally brought out another woo supporter, this one by the name of Bernie. He came out flailing weakly, throwing around ellipses like he gave less of a shit than the honey badger, and – of course – he provided us all with a wonderful link. I originally only glanced at it because of its opening paragraph:

What do the latest theories in quantum physics have to do with massage and bodywork? Plenty, according to medical and Ayurvedic herbalist, Kevin Spelman.

A sure-fire way to know if something is about to be a load of bullshit is to look for some mention of quantum physics by someone who is not a quantum physicist. That was enough for me to recognize that I didn’t need to go any further. But you know me. I have now gone back and actually read the article. Allow me to highlight some of its ridiculousness.

One of the most pervasive paradigms continuing to influence our thinking is the mechanistic model of classical physics. Even though many of us have heard of the new physics, and even though our high-speed information age is based on this new science, we still tend to view the universe through mechanistic and reductionist eyes and to live our lives utilizing the old paradigms of cause and effect and separation.

Now, I know it sounds like I must be quoting out of context. After all, the author Lonnie Howard, does refer to the new physics seemingly out of the blue. She has presumably already mentioned these new physical laws at some point, right? Nope. I took a look. She mentions quantum physics, but surely she can’t mean that. Albeit a relatively young field, no knowledgeable person would refer to quantum mechanics as “new” since it dates back to the 1920’s. A supporter of woo would never! never ever! speak beyond her ‘expertise’. R-right?

“Ask yourself — who would you want to be touched by? Wouldn’t you want to be touched by someone who believes the make-up of the universe is essentially energy?” That is Spelman’s underlying question to his students, permeating all investigations in his class.

Wait, can we pick anyone? Because I have a few celebrities in mind. Not to mention Nate’s mother, of course.

Science used to define physiological responses in relation to linear models of how the universe works. Spelman believes the latest quantum physics theories offer a more realistic view of the human system and the way we move through nature. He expresses it poetically when he says, “There is original energy and it manifests in a pattern that is constantly expressed through nature, whether a cloud, a microorganism or a mood shift. The body is a web of continuous and dynamic energy and molecules. There is no place in the body out of the boundaries of this energetic influence. The mind blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah…

I suppose that is a bit of a poetic expression of things. Maybe once Spelman takes his first science course ever he can learn other ways of expressing his thoughts.

According to Spelman, “We have gone from absolute denial of the existence of an energy field around the body to indisputable evidence that an electro-magnetic field exists within and around the body.

I’m pretty sure he’s talking about the microwave background radiation that permeates the Universe. It really has nothing to do with living organisms.

Current medical research demonstrates that devices pulsing magnetic fields of specific frequencies can stimulate the healing process of a variety of tissues.

True.

Current biophysics documents the release from healers’ hands of similar frequencies and intensities.”

False. And misleading.

The intensities involved in pulsed electromagnetic therapy are significantly higher and more concentrated than whatever happens to be produced by humans. Furthermore, this schmuck is trying to imply that the human hand can heal people via some magical energy field. It can’t.

Two of Spelman’s goals are to help students become more energy sensitive, and to help them realize they are literally changing the electromagnetic field of the body when they work with a client.

See? I told you.

Can a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil eventually cause a hurricane on the coast of Australia? The answer is yes.

I didn’t realize we weren’t talking reality any longer. My apologies.

When Albert Einstein was asked what he felt was the most important question of all time, he replied “Is the universe a safe place?” That question necessitates an individual investigation into one’s own belief system. Blah blah blah blah…

This is a dubious misquote at best. First of all, the original quote is best traced as being “Is the Universe a friendly place?” Second, it isn’t even certain Einstein ever said this. Third, without any context, it’s difficult to know what Einstein meant. I mean, we can be sure he wasn’t supporting some woo bullshit, but it isn’t clear if he was talking about the Universe’s capacity for life or something entirely different.

Responding to his own question — who do you want to be touched by? — Spelman emphatically states, “I want to be touched by someone who believes miracles are common occurrences.” And as Einstein reminds us, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

I’m going to go out on a crazy, crazy limb here and say Einstein was speaking metaphorically. He was a scientist. He didn’t accept arbitrary interventions in the Universe by magical outside agents. And he definitely did not accept woo horseshit.

Lonnie Howard is a writer and poet living is Santa Fe, N.M. Her background is in massage and psychology, and she is the director of The Scherer Institute of Natural Healing.

Oh, what a weird coincidence. This poet woo supporter is writing about one of her employees at her school of woo. She sure is lucky she had all those objective reasons to write favorably about Spelman and woo. Can you imagine how awkward a negative article would have been? Really dodged a bullet with this one.

WCSH6 supports woo

WCSH6 is the local news channel I most often watch. I enjoy the setup, the newscasters, and the background isn’t from the 90’s like every other channel. I even “like” the station’s Facebook page. I get some decent status updates there, including the number one reason anyone watches TV news – weather forecasts. But not all the status updates are so great. I unfortunately recently got one absolutely awful update around 7:30am this morning:

Two ways to heal for half off! Find your healthy balance for life. https://www.dealchicken.com/portland-me/4201
Women Receive 50% Off a Polarity Session or 53% Off an Ayurvedic Massage at Tracy Liberty!
http://www.dealchicken.com
Chicks rule, and Tracy Liberty Polarity Therapy and Ayurvedic Massage knows it: The wellness provider focuses solely on women’s health. Tracy Liberty is offering a 90-minute polarity session for only $42.50 (a $85 value) or a 90-minute ayurvedic massage for only $45 (a $95 value). The polarity sessi…

This is some sort of sponsorship deal the station does with various companies. I presume they make a few bucks in exchange for throwing up a status update or two. That’s all well and fine, except that in this case, they are making money by supporting woo. Ayurveda is utter malarkey and WCSH6 ought distance itself if it wants to maintain the good reputation it currently has. In fact, I wrote as much in response to the status update soon after it was made. My post has now disappeared, though I have reiterated my point. (I will also be linking to this post on their wall.)

In looking at the sponsor’s deal, it appears to include an inexpensive message along with some yoga and woo medicine. I’m sure the message is fine (in fact, it sounds like a pretty good deal), and yoga is nice and dandy, but there really is no need for the woo medicine. Given the lack of scientific standards in alternative medicine, safety is a major concern. Ayurvedic practitioners have a history of doling out toxic materials. (They even think that simple heating and melting will solve toxicity issues.) There is no telling what the leader of this woo, Tracy Liberty, is offering. It may be completely inert, but there are not sufficient standards present to allow a consumer to make a fair and informed decision. (If there were such standards in alt-med, one thing would lead to another and we probably could get rid of the malarkey all together.)

I find it disappointing that WCSH6 has decided to support woo. Whatever profit they made from this deal is not worth it. It puts the health and safety of consumers at risk for no good reason. I hope the station will refrain from making such deals in the future.