Respectful Insolence

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).

Yes!

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.

Comments

  1. #1 Interrobang
    May 16, 2008

    I dig that passive voice. dd Obscure the agent, man, obscure the agent, man… pp A good time was had by all. Seemingly all these woomeisters do this; I suspect for two reasons. First of all, they want to assert that “reasearch was done” without actually having to pony up pesky things like details. Secondly, they think it sounds more “sciency” to write like that. Close, but no cigar.

    (Speaking as an ex-composition teacher, that “It is known that…” construction is a hanging offense, though.)

  2. #2 Flex
    May 16, 2008

    informationally non-metabolized = When you accidently eat the price tag stuck on your piece of fruit, and your large intestine gets sticker shock.

  3. #3 Kelly
    May 16, 2008

    So….electronic homeopathy uses watered down electricity the same way traditional homeopathy uses watered down ingredients? And — just as there are no longer any molecules of the original ingredient in the homeopathic solution; there is no longer any actual electricity in the homeopathic electricity. Do I understand this correctly? *whew* woo is complicated! :D

  4. #4 writzer
    May 16, 2008

    Dear Professors Doktors MORA:

    Will the therapy interfere with the FM reception in my metal fillings?

  5. #5 Niobe
    May 16, 2008

    Thanks for taking this one on.

    Scratch that, make that EXTRA superduper thanks with sugar on top.

  6. #6 Ophite Heresy
    May 16, 2008

    I can field your question about “informationally non-metabolized” foods. Fitting in with the rest of the MORA theme, it is pretty high-yield woo!

    The term itself has limited currency, primarily among a group of inter-related European woomongers. In addition to the German IORF, there are two or three English woo groups who have signed on, most notably the London-based New Ways Clinic. But the phrase is just the repackaging of a more familiar woo concept in pseudo-Information Theory-speak.

    The woo-view is that natural foods have oscillations that are related to those of the healthy human. Some other woo sources even talk about “harmonic foods”. Processed and preserved foods (and especially GM foods!) are tainted with oscillations that are incompatible with … erm, whatever they’re supposed to be compatible with. So even though the food gets digested and ostensibly provides nutrition, it remains “informationally non-metabolized” producing (based on your flavor of woo) “pathological oscillations” or “vital disharmonics”. And that, as many Friday Dose readers will doubtless notice, is just Europe’s newest spin on a common cancer denialist trope.

  7. #7 DLC
    May 16, 2008

    Wow. that’s some powerful Woo.
    Orac, have you checked you biohazard suit after handling or being near woo of that potency ?
    Safety First, you know !

  8. #8 Ange
    May 16, 2008

    Correction: I think you will find that I am listed under the “best friend” category not “good friend of my wife’s”.

    I only hope the woo link I sent can live up to the stringent YFDoW standards in the future.

  9. #9 longsmith
    May 16, 2008

    Where to do you find this stuff?
    Sheesh.
    More to the point, who believes this stuff?

  10. #10 Alex
    May 16, 2008

    “Occidental Institute Research Foundation”; it’s almost a perfect information-free title. Like “Institute Studies Research Foundation” or “Studies Foundation Research Institute”.

  11. #11 ancientTechie
    May 16, 2008

    Ravening fans? Ravening? Geez, just because we can’t get enough of your wonderful woo revelations… Oh, right.

  12. #12 charles
    May 16, 2008

    Therapy with the more advanced MORA-Super device though, is usually via two hand and two foot electrodes simultaneously…

    I imagine therapy with the even-more-advanced MORA-SuperExtra IV device involves an electrode on each testicle.

    And within this mess I think I see the main purpose of the “Occidental Institute Research Foundation”:

    …facilitating purchase of instrumentation…

    Indeed.

  13. #13 jayh
    May 16, 2008

    Your dilemma is as good as any reason to meditate over a beer. but it must be a German beer.

  14. #14 jayh
    May 16, 2008

    Ref double entries FYI

    I was aware that you are having the timeout problem, so I only hit ‘post’ once, but apparently simply hitting refresh also doubles the post.

  15. #15 Warren
    May 16, 2008

    These malfunctions may eventually cause physical manifestations of disease if the body cannot adequately compensate for them.

    There may be some truth to this. I know* that after parsing this finely-tuned information-free spew of “information theory” hogwash, my own physiological symptoms included blurry vision, headache, dizziness and a profound desire to have, as George Carlin put it once, an involuntary protein spill.

    In fact, one could say I was feeling downright woozy.

    ==

    *This is anecdotal, of course, but we all know the plural of anecdote is data.

  16. #16 AndyD
    May 16, 2008

    “informationally non-metabolized” foods:

    An earlier comment came close to explaining this but fell a little short. It is widely recognised, among biological scientists, that all food, organic or inorganic, has a unique and independent consciousness. Indeed, it is this consciousness that makes it digestible as it freely interacts with our own biological processes on an equal level. Materials that do not benefit from such consciousness (although they might have a consciousness on a different quantum level) do not readily metabolise in the human body.

    “informationally non-metabolized” foods are, to put it in layman’s terms, ill-informed foods. They have not been gifted with the information that allows them to interact properly with the human metabolic system. It is akin to two people speaking completely different languages. In such a case, the MORA oscillations act as an interpreter between the food and the digestive system, thus allowing normal metabolic processes to continue. That description is necessarily simplistic but the actual process is beyond explanation in terms your readers would be likely to understand.

    Whilst you may mock this treatment and the research behind it, I think you missed an important point in the text you quoted. The supporting research was not just carried out by scientists, it was done by “well known scientists” – surely that fact will change your mind? Won’t it? Okay, so be it – but don’t blame me if your food can’t adequately communicate with your stomach and reach necessary agreement on how it should be digested.

  17. #17 Jim
    May 16, 2008

    At last I understand the regular afternoon eruptions of various bodily-produced gases; a failure in communication twixt digestive tract and lunch.
    Perhaps a few sessions with a top expert (must be much more expert than a regular expert, an expert expert?) could train my tract to better understand fast food.

  18. #18 Melissa G
    May 16, 2008

    I don’t know about you, but my food is dumb as crap.

  19. #19 Murray Bowles
    May 16, 2008

    Thank goodness they have a “physically active biological filter”. I’d hate to have ALL my oscillations negated!

  20. #20 DonZilla
    May 16, 2008

    “I don’t know about you, but my food is dumb as crap.”

    Mine too. After all, if food was smart, it wouldn’t let you eat it. :D Thanks Orac!

  21. #21 Jim
    May 16, 2008

    took me awhile, actually occured to me while thinking about more conventional crap in the throne room
    “(As MORA-Therapy is not an electrotherapy, the electrodes are electrodes in name only as no electricity passes through them during MORA-Therapy.)
    an “electrode” that passes no electricity but does pick up or transmit; is not that an antenna?

  22. #22 Koray
    May 16, 2008

    As far as internationally successful woo sources go, Germany makes perfect sense. Ancient China, Japan, Egypt, Inca, etc. or if it has to be contemporary, then it needs to be from a developed country to imply credibility. In any case, the country needs to have the right stereotype. There’ll never be Portuguese or South Korean woo. No offense to their respective woomeister hopefuls; their local market is all they’ve got. It’s the reality they’ll have to deal with.

  23. #23 Kemist
    May 16, 2008

    “The supporting research was not just carried out by scientists, it was done by “well known scientists” – surely that fact will change your mind?”

    ROTFLMAO !

    You sir, owe me a keyboard.

  24. #24 Shay Simmons
    May 16, 2008

    I think it is high time I re-read “A Far Cry From Kensington.”

  25. #25 Dr Aust
    May 16, 2008

    Also gut, meine Herren.

    While it may have taken German engineering to construct the ritzy looking box of electronic tricks, one shouldn’t get the idea that Germany is alone with the electro-woo. There are pioneers of science-y sounding electro-energy woo all over the place, including such US-based luminaries as Jim Oschman PhD and Richard Gerber MD.

    Zu Befehl!

  26. #26 AndyD
    May 17, 2008

    “The supporting research was not just carried out by scientists, it was done by “well known scientists” – surely that fact will change your mind?”

    “ROTFLMAO !

    You sir, owe me a keyboard.”

    Sorry.

    I didn’t mention that the most critical part of the research involved a survey put to some well-known foods, including a range of German breads and a family-sized pizza (with the lot) and that these foods happily confirmed everything the well-known scientists had discovered.

    In fact, Gerhard Helmuttstein, the very famous bio-chemist from one of Berlin’s most prestigious laboratories commented, after the survey, “If we’d only thought to ask the food in the first place, we could have saved ourselves a lot of time wasted on research. We are such dummkopfs sometimes, it’s a wonder anyone takes us seriously!”

  27. #27 Sophist FCD
    May 17, 2008

    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!

    Given their practices, I can only conclude that it must be diluted with large amounts of money.

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