Respectful Insolence

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Vibrations.

After a year and a half of doing Your Friday Dose of Woo every week with only a couple of breaks, it’s all I can feel or hear sometimes.

Vibrations.

What is it about woo and “vibrations,” “harmonics,” or “waves,” anyway? It doesn’t matter if it’s sound waves or electromagnetic waves. Somehow the denizens of Woo World seem to think that vibrations have special powers beyond what physicists tell us that they have, such as the ability to transmit energy. Hardly a week goes by, it seems, when I don’t encounter claims by woo-meisters such as being able to “raise cellular vibration” or “use the ‘wave’ of laser light to reprogram DNA,” not to mention seeing invocations of Nikolai Tesla to justify a claim of being able use a “symphony of alternating currents” to heal (including a nice picture of the light spectrum to look more scientific, naturally), recording the “vibrational” pattern of youth and then using it to rejuvenate (holy Dorian Grey, Batman!), or using “healing sounds” to “tone” for global harmony.

I’m starting to see and feel vibrations in my sleep.

What more could the woo-meisters assault me with in terms of vibrational woo, I wonder? What variation could they possibly come up with that I haven’t seen before? There has to be something, somewhere–perhaps even with quantum vibration! I know.

Combine vibration with acupuncture, and you have Acutonics®. Ladies and gentlemen, we have woo! And very fine woo it is, as you shall see!

Experience has taught me that nothing quite makes a pseudoscientific claim sound more plausible to all too many people than the ever popular appeal to ancient knowledge:

Harmonic Medicine links ancient sciences and arts with modern healing methods and tools. This holistic modality uses sound and vibration to heal the body, mind, and spirit. At its roots, we recognize that to truly heal we must hold a unified view of the cosmos in which all things are inextricably bound and exist in relationship to one another whether it be an organ system, family system, ecosystem, or solar system.

Um, OK. But why must we hold a “unified view of the cosmos, in which all things are inextricably bound” in order to heal? It doesn’t follow at all. Perhaps Donna Carey, the pioneer of this fabulous system,” can explain:

Unlike many other forms of energy medicine that are practiced today, this system is grounded in the wisdom of 5000-year-old healing practices based on cyclic energy flowing in pathways in the body, and in elliptical and circulating fields outside the body. The methodology is both scientific and shamanic. Harmonic Medicine aligns, re-harmonizes, and attunes the human energy fields to achieve optimal health, actualization, and wholeness.

Sure. It’s all clear to me now. How about you? Not really, you say? Well, maybe an explanation of how it works will help you see the light (or feel the vibration, if you will):

The Acutonics Healing System is an energy-based non-invasive treatment that is similar to acupuncture. Precision calibrated tuning forks are applied to specific acupuncture and acupressure points to access the body’s Meridian and Chakra energy systems. These tuning forks represent a natural harmonic series based on the orbital properties of the Earth, Moon, Sun and planets. Their rich resonance and vibration connects with and supports the body’s natural frequencies. It brings us into alignment with the cycles of the Cosmos known since antiquity as the Music of the Spheres. The tuning fork is struck on an Acutonics® Acuvator then placed on the body or held near the ears. The sound waves of the forks vibrate and travel deeply into the body along energy pathways, affecting human physiology and reaching places not easily accessed by traditional medicine. Applying the forks stimulates and balances the body’s physical and subtle energy field to promote healing and inner harmony. Listening to the forks speaks to us deeply by connecting with our vestibular system, within the inner ear canal, and accessing our sense of motion, balance, space, memory, and healing.

Wow! Who knew that putting tuning forks on acupuncture meridians could have such power? Certainly not me. Certainly not modern science- and evidence-based medicine. Somehow, some way, Acutonics is claimed to invoke “remembrance of the cosmic tone,” whatever that is, in order to accomplish many wonders:

This healing methodology has the power to connect us with the source of original harmony. It provides access to a deep inner balance by sonically resetting negative cellular patterns. The work is powerful and profound; it has the capacity to relieve chronic and debilitating illnesses and imbalances of the psyche and soul. Through the Acutonics Healing System we are able to realign and reharmonize ourselves with the greater cycles of the universe.

You know, I need to buy me one of these tuning forks. Who knew that simple tones could sonically reset negative cellular patterns. (I really have to remember that term, except that I might spice it up a bit.) The question that I have, though, is: What good is it? I mean, what can it really do? Lots of things, of course. In fact, it’s claimed that Acutonics can treat back, neck, shoulder, and knee pain; arthritis, fibromyalgia; tendonitis; bursitis; sprains and strains; migraine headache; sciatica; peripheral neuropathy; stroke residuals; food allergies; heart burn; peptic ulcer; constipation; chronic diarrhea (how does it treat constipation and diarrhea?); indigestion; gastritis; irritable bowel syndrome; stress; depression; anxiety; anorexia, insomnia; allergies; sinusitis; asthma; environmental illness (imagine the power of combining Acutonics with “detoxifying chelation therapy!”); bronchitis; colds; flu; irregular or painful menstruation; PMS; infertility in women and men; menopause; fibroids; incontinence; urinary tract infections; sexual dysfunction; prostatitis; fatigue; hypertension; and chemical addictions.

Is there anything Acutonics can’t treat? I didn’t see cancer there. I wonder why not. After all, what better test for “sonically resetting negative cellular patterns”? I can’t think of a more “negative cellular pattern” than a malignant cell. Perhaps Acutonics isn’t that strong, after all, the talk of “aligning and harmonizing with the greater cycles of the universe” notwithstanding. Even the Acutonics people seem to admit this:

NOTE: Acutonics® and Harmonic Medicine are powerful forms of healing. If you are suffering from a serious health problem we suggest that you work in concert with the appropriate members of your health care team.

Oh, no, it’s what Pal, MD likes to refer to as the Quack Miranda Warning! I guess all those case studies and testimonials should be taken with a grain of salt. I do really love one of the sets of diagnoses that Acutonics was used to treat in one of the case studies:

  • Limping situation, excessive Yang on the back and deficient Yin from the front
  • Hormone imbalance from Grave’s disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Adrenal burn out
  • Liver Qi stagnation
  • Kidney Qi deficiency
  • 2nd and 5th Chakras blocked as a result of thyroid and lower back issues

I wonder how you code and bill for these diagnoses. Oh, wait. Woo-meisters don’t have to worry about that. It’s all cash on the barrelhead.

My curiosity about this amazing new vibrational healing technique wasn’t sated yet, though. I wanted to know more. Even the information on the website wasn’t enough. Of course, I wasn’t so curious that I was going to fork out up to $450 for a set of tuning forks, up to $1,800 for a set of hand chimes, $39.99 for a “Belted Acuvator,” or to subscribe to the Journal of Harmonic Living. Fortunately, Donna Carey, along with Ellen Franklin, CEO of Acutonics, was happy to educate me further in this interview:

Julia: Can you explain how the tuning forks reflect the planetary frequencies?

Donna: The forks are calibrated to the planetary energy, and they are 23 to 33 times higher than the planets. This takes us to the audible range, and it makes the invisible sound of the spheres — the invisible song of the planets in the Universe — audible.

Our forks are made with Space Age metals, not alloys, so they never go out of tune. Also, these are not like other chromatic tuning forks that go up the chakras or go up with A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Our forks reasonate with the frequency of the planets. They are non-linear, and are not based on middle C. Our 5th, or our Zodiac 3rd, is not perfect; there is a space there for movement and change.

The linear music that our culture has now, with its basis on middle C, is music that was constrained by the church. This is a different framework entirely.

The methods that go up the chakras — always with the same color and sounds — don’t line up for everyone. I imagine, for example, that if seen from a vibratory perspective my liver appears quite different from that of someone who doesn’t have a family history of alcoholism. Nothing is exactly the same for everyone, and there is that room for flow and movement in nature. Our work reflects those natural components.

Ellen: Also, the intervals are important. When you strike two forks, there are two notes or sounds, and there is an interval between the sounds. The interval is the space or resonance between two notes, and that’s also a vibration. The sound makes powerful waves or frequencies on the spine or acupuncture point, and — because the body contains a large percentage of water — it reverberates through the body. Sound travels four times faster through the body’s water content, and so this energy of the planets or the cycles of the solar system is brought into the body in a powerful way.

The planetary vibrations from the tuning forks actually realign the body with its own natural cycles and bring in the Divine Blueprint.

Of course, this raises more questions than it answers. For example, why 22 to 33 times higher than the “planetary energy,” whatever that is? I suspect it was a number pulled out of someone’s nether regions in order to justify using tuning forks in the audible range. But, then, what do I know? I’m just a dumb surgeon. Perhaps an astronomer out there could tell me what this “planetary energy is.” (Calling Phil Plait!) More interesting to me is this–shall we say?–unique view of inherited disease or tendencies to disease:

This method is very successful with inherited disease — what’s called “grandfather-grandson” in Oriental medicine. What has happened with inherited disease that the organism has simply passed the vibratory rate of the disease from generation to generation. But the higher frequencies of the planets can move away the vibratory rate of inherited tendencies.

Silly me. I always thought that inherited disease was usually due to the transmission of DNA and the disease gene or disease susceptibility genes to the offspring. I should have realized that it was vibration. I’m beginning to think that Donna should meet up with the DNA activation guy. Could you imagine the woo? Maybe she could team up with him to super-activate her own DNA. She could cleanse her DNA of its negative vibratory rate, realign it with the higher frequencies of the planets, and thereby become one with the universe.

At least then I could sleep without having nightmares about vibrations.

Comments

  1. #1 longsmith
    January 4, 2008

    This is hysterical. The best I’ve seen here all year. Where do you find these? I actually laughed out loud.

  2. #2 Bob O'H
    January 4, 2008

    Hmm. Das Wohltemperierte Universum?

    Bob

  3. #3 Nelson Muntz
    January 4, 2008

    There’s obviously room for improvement here. It could use overtones and beat frequencies. Oh, and chords — majors, minors, the whole shmear. Why have different scales been investigated?

  4. #4 anon
    January 4, 2008

    NOTE: Acutonics® and Harmonic Medicine are powerful forms of healing. If you are suffering from a serious health problem we suggest that you work in concert with the appropriate members of your health care team.

    Hah. Confusion of cause and correlation is brewing…

  5. #5 Crosius
    January 4, 2008

    The special place the practitioners of woo have in their pantheon for vibration probably rises from the same part of our primate brains that thinks you can make a fuzzy television clear up by whacking it (aka. Inducing spontaneous alignment through application of solitons of controlled magnitude.)

  6. #6 Y. S.
    January 4, 2008

    lol!
    Very funny. I love these kinds of spot lights. Thanks for your time and effort.

    This is a blog that is worth subscribing to! ;)

  7. #7 Blake Stacey
    January 4, 2008

    Plus ça change. . .

    It would have been a great disappointment to me if Vibration did not did not somewhere make itself felt, for all scientistic mystics either vibrate in person or find themselves resonant with cosmic vibrations; but I am happy to say that on page 266 Teilhard will be found to do so.

    Peter Medawar on Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man

  8. #8 Abel Pharmboy
    January 4, 2008

    Also, these are not like other chromatic tuning forks that go up the chakras or go up with A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Our forks reasonate with the frequency of the planets. They are non-linear, and are not based on middle C. Our 5th, or our Zodiac 3rd, is not perfect; there is a space there for movement and change.

    Lovely. . .not based on middle C. So this is like tuning a guitar to be between notes – kind of like listening to the radio between stations (for those who still have dials on their radios). That’s enough to induce ‘inner disharmony.’

  9. #9 kristina
    January 4, 2008

    Aristotle would not be pleased. I think!

    I suspect this will become the next “latest” autism treatment as a variant of AIT—as noted here.

  10. #10 kristina
    January 4, 2008

    Aristotle would not be pleased. I think!

    I suspect this will become the next “latest” autism treatment as a variant of AIT—as noted here.

  11. #11 Lorne
    January 4, 2008

    Beauty. You could get some funky jazz progressions out of those tuning forks. I think they got the planetary/universe frequencies screwed up though. According to NASA, the universe is tuned to B flat, much to the delight of us low brass players.

  12. #12 Knight of L-sama
    January 4, 2008

    The linear music that our culture has now, with its basis on middle C, is music that was constrained by the church.

    Is it just me or was this an attempt at the Galileo Gambit? (Not to mention completely ignoring the pentatonic scale used in China. Or the fact that something very similar to the modern octave scale was also used in antiquity)

  13. #13 Uncle Dave
    January 4, 2008

    Orac wrote;
    “For example, why 22 to 33 times higher than the “planetary energy,” whatever that is?”

    Or for that matter why throw salt over your shoulder or avoid walking under a latter….

    “Julia: Can you explain how the tuning forks reflect the planetary frequencies?”

    You should have probably asked how noise cancelling head sets work right after that question.

  14. #14 khan
    January 4, 2008

    Listening to the forks speaks to us deeply by connecting with our vestibular system, within the inner ear canal, and accessing our sense of motion, balance, space, memory, and healing.

    “Use the forks, Luke.”

  15. #15 MattXIV
    January 4, 2008

    Bob,

    Nein – Das Wohltemperierte Schlangeöl. :)

  16. #16 ringo
    January 4, 2008

    You think this is bad? I once went to a doctor who claimed that there were “invisible entities” that came out of my nose and mouth every time I coughed or sneezed, and that these “entities” were capable of passing on my illnesses to those around me, sometimes even illnesses that I hadn’t gotten yet!

    When I told him I couldn’t see any entities, he tried to weasel out of it by saying they were too small to see. Yeah. Right.

  17. #17 jd
    January 4, 2008

    Perhaps, as a surgeon, you could update Lenin’s maxim: “Whenever I hear the words ‘holistic modality’ I reach for my scalpel.”

  18. #18 TT
    January 4, 2008

    Is “planetary energy” supposed to be what zodiacs work on or is it some sort of quantum healing reference?

  19. #19 Phy
    January 4, 2008

    Aww, no mention of “harmful toxins”? I was looking forward to my favorite drinking game.

    jd, that’s a quote from a play written by Nazi poet laureate Hanns Johst. Although Lenin may have liked it, I don’t know.

  20. #20 ebohlman
    January 5, 2008

    Your Friday woo-based band name: Energy of the Planets.

  21. #21 Marcus Ranum
    January 5, 2008

    Acutonics is claimed to invoke “remembrance of the cosmic tone,” whatever that is

    The “cosmic tone” is, apparently, the cash register sound that Pink Floyd used in the intro to “Money” on “Dark Side of the Moon”

    Ching, ching, racketa-tacketa, ching…

  22. #22 Chris G.
    January 5, 2008

    Somehow the denizens of Woo World seem to think that vibrations have special powers beyond what physicists tell us that they have, such as the ability to transmit energy

    Hey! Vibrations most certainly _do_ transmit energy! The problem is that energy gets elevated into this crazy metaphysical concept.

  23. #23 DLC
    January 6, 2008

    Well, you see, the cosmic tone allows you to mobilize your chi by using planetary quantum effect, also known as blatant stupidity.

  24. #24 N 'Man O' Rage' R
    January 7, 2008

    Hilarious! And surely, shirley (donna) meant inaudible – not invisible sound of the spheres?

    Heres some more woo – Chromotherapy. There is a boutique hotel in Manhattan Beach, LA called Shades (www.shadehotel.com) that sells this woo as part of their Spa rooms. The whole place looks like a perennially decorated Xmas tree. The ‘Chromotherapy’ controls in the room are so complex I couldnt turn it all off. The beds were comfortable – but couldnt sleep due to all the lights! However the place boasts an excellent bar, with amicable bar wenches and good food. Wouldnt sleep there again though.

  25. #25 Patrick
    January 7, 2008

    I’m sure a rock concert penetrates even further than some low amplitude pitch fork, in fact, this makes me want to go crank up the amplitude listening to Chakra Khan (oops)

  26. #26 McDuff
    January 7, 2008

    You know, the sheer volume of all this stuff means that there must be a market for it. Is it more or less unethical to con a bunch of hippies out of their dough because you’re an unscrupulous acoustic technician who understands about the power of staging to affect emotions and can write some compelling nonsense than it would be if you really believed this shit?

  27. #27 Christophe Thill
    January 8, 2008

    “I imagine, for example, that if seen from a vibratory perspective my liver appears quite different from that of someone who doesn’t have a family history of alcoholism.”

    Excuse me if I sound a little rude, but I’m tempted to say : so does her brain, for sure.

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