Respectful Insolence

i-ae859cfde878c44cdbd8e6bfdc9c9bdc-rejuvenique_3.jpgI know I like to say that woo is eternal, and it is. That doesn’t, however, mean that individual examples of woo are necessarily eternal. Some, it seems, are. Does anyone doubt, for example, that homeopathy, which has been around for over two hundred years now, will still be around 200 years from now? I’d like to think it won’t, but fear that it will, even though I know I won’t be around to find out. Ditto for energy-based “healing” and naturopathy, among others. On the other hand, not all woo is eternal. Sometimes the reason is fashion, which, as we all know, is fickle. Sometimes the reason is that the “healer” made his bucks and doesn’t want to outwear his welcome, if you know what I mean, usually leaving just one step ahead of the law, which then shuts down the operation.

This next bit of woo seems to be defunct. Indeed, it was recently seen marked massively down to $9.99 from $160. Times, apparently, aren’t so great for Salton, Inc., the company that made (and apparently still makes) the victim–I mean, topic–of this particular week’s exercise in abuse. As a prelude to introducing it to you, I can’t help but mention that I just don’t understand the whole aging and rejuvenation thing. True, I’ve been fortunate enough to have for most of my life been blessed with an appearance more youthful than my actual chronological age, but lately time has been catching up with me and the apparent difference between the two has been steadily decreasing. So I understand that it’s a bummer getting old and how it might be desirable to turn back the clock. What I don’t understand is why anyone would be desperate enough to use a product like this on such thin “evidence” that it works. The device I’m talking about is Rejuvenique:

My friends, this has to be the creepiest device ever yet featured on our little Friday exercise. Look at the mask. Linda Evans may say that it looks like the Phantom of the Opera. I’m not so sure. I’m thinking Jason or Hannibal Lecter myself, only with less personality. Don’t believe me? Watch the video again and look at hte part where the camera zeroes in on the eye of the woman wearing the mask. Doesn’t it remind you of Silence of the Lambs? Of course, the woman wearing the mask isn’t an evil serial killer with a penchant for liver with Fava beans and a nice Chianti; she’s just some poor model enduring dozens of electrical shocks to her face, which is probably why she has that wild, desperate look in her eye, kind of like this:

But, hey, maybe there’s something to this woo. Skepticism doesn’t mean being close-minded. I mean, it’s possible that it might actually do something. Highly unlikely, but possible. So, in the interests of fairness, let’s see what Rejuvenique says about itself:

Rejuvenique is the patented beauty system designed to help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. An initial use period of 90 days is recommended for Rejuvenique, followed by regular weekly maintenance sessions. The Rejuvenique mask features 24k gold plated sensors, which circulate sensations over the face. The Rejuvenique system is based on an interpretation of the theories of accupressure.

Includes rejuvenique mask with: 

  • 26 gold plated contact points
  • adjustable – washable velcro headband
  • control hand set
  • cable connector
  • 9 volt battery
  • owners manual
  • Rejuvenique VHS video instructions
  • and a tube of contact toning gel

This is what Salton, Inc., the company that makes the device (and, appropriately enough, apparently the parent company of Black & Decker) says about its pride and joy:

Imagine reducing the appearance of wrinkles and achieve a smooth, toned, radiant look without undergoing time consuming procedures, harsh chemicals or other expensive evasive measures. Would you do it? Traditional skin care is designed to cleanse, moisturize and pamper. “What I saw missing from the vast array of skin care products on the market,” said Dr. George Springer, Doctor of Chiropractic and inventor of the Rejuvenique system, “was a product that would tone the face and skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and giving the skin a more youthful look.” The system has a facial mask with 26 contact areas that receive a mild impulse from the custom control unit. These impulses help create a gradual reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles resulting in a face that looks and feels more youthful with that healthy rosy glow. “With the Rejuvenique system”, explained Dr. George Springer, “you have a product that offers a whole new range of benefits for your face and skin.”

And, yes, the mask is doing exactly what you think it is: Administering numerous shocks to the face to cause contractions of the facial muscles, supposedly to “tone” it. You’re supposed to put this thing on your face three or four times a week for at least 15 minutes, sit back, and endure the shocks–all in the name of looking “youthful.” I’m sorry, but I think I’ll just endure aging as my face becomes progressively more wrinkly and saggy over the next couple of decades. Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate the entire infomercial, just the 90 second version above. Fortunately, Ridiculous Infomercial Review has the scoop:

Hosted by Linda Evans, the former Dynasty star and New Age aficionado, this infomercial introduces us to the Rejuvenique mask and its inventor, Dr. George Springer, “a past associate professor of dermatology who’s also been practicing holistic medicine for the past 19 years.” Practicing holistic medicine? That’s reassuring!

Aren’t they all practicing “holistic” medicine? Does anybody practice science-based medicine anymore? Still, it’s got to work. After all, it’s science! “Dr.” Evans even made Dr. Springer do a clinical trial:

“When I first heard about the Rejuvenique system, I have to admit I was very skeptical…I requested a special trial just for this show,” Linda Evans tells us–and, of course, New Age channeling enthusiasts are renown for their steely-eyed skepticism.

The women who participated in that “special trial” are then interviewed by Dr. Springer and two of his colleagues. The ladies say that the electric probes of the Rejuvenique mask improved their faces almost immediately (though both the doctors and the women refrain from describing the results as being “fast as lightening”).

Wow! That certainly sounds like a rigorous clinical trial to me! Dr. Springer even claimed that “80 percent of participants experienced a reduction in the appearance of lines ‘and a more radiant complexion.’” What do you think? Alas, for Dr. Springer, apparently the FDA didn’t quite agree and sent him one of those nasty warning letters like the ones it sent out the other day to a bunch of cancer quacks. Apparently it didn’t see the genius of this device.

Perhaps you want to know what this device is really like. Obviously an infomercial will try to paint only the best picture of its subject. Fortunately, the Rejuvenique is still available on Amazon.com, and there was an intrepid blogger named Eric Nuzum, who did an “N of 2″ clinical trial. Well, not exactly. What actually happened is that two of his friends tried it out, and he videotaped what happened:

Yep, it’s about what I expected. Is it any surprise that the above video looks like a bit from an episode of Jackass?

You know, it occurred to me. If Dr. Springer ever wants to bring back Rejuvenique, I think he should consider some alternate designs. For example, if you’re a Doctor Who fan, as I am, you might like these:

i-94b198e26891d5e3569d8710ab81cc9c-cyberman2006.jpg
i-b5e9e7219046d3a02baccb4da4da0b3e-Robots_of_Death_DWTT.jpg
i-baf951522e4c507a82c9d010eedb2d5a-jek.jpg

(Bonus Who geek points to anyone who can identify the third photo without clicking on it.)

Or, if you’re a horror movie aficionado, maybe one of these would be more your speed:

i-7d0b69633f11323bb026615cbfbd78fe-MichaelLynda.jpg
i-a8434a8d1e413ceacfea4de57d00fb61-298567428_3c0f1c40f3.jpg

No, they’re both too similar to the original design, particularly the last one.

Wait! I have it! I know the perfect design for Rejuvenique v.2.0! Check it out:

i-cf11cd69d4d44a221875be96dd660676-dr_doom.jpg

That’s right! A Doctor Doom mask! Think about it. Remember how many times I’ve said I wanted to cover my face in shame at the antics of creationists physicians like Dr. Michael Egnor? Remember how I even joked–well, half-joked –about covering my face in a Doctor Doom mask? A Rejuvenique mask shaped like a Doctor Doom mask would be perfect for this purpose. Not only would it hide my face, but the electrical shocks would distract me from the pain induced by the sheer stupidity of the “intelligent design” creationist blather that regularly emanates from the keyboard of Dr. Egnor.

Comments

  1. #1 wolfwalker
    June 20, 2008

    Sounds like this one really does belong in the boneyard. I mean, this thing looks positively pathetic next to some of the stuff you’ve posted lately in YFDoW. No wonder it’s basically out of business; it just can’t compete with the newer, wilder strains of woo. Evolution in action, I guess.

    As for the mask, it reminded me of a) several classic Twilight Zone episodes, and b) the helmet-mask worn by the scarred Vizier in “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.”

  2. #2 Devichan
    June 20, 2008

    That would be the villain from “Caves of Androzani,” whose name is escaping me. Do I get half points? :)

  3. #3 Lilly de Lure
    June 20, 2008

    Is it me or are none of the masks as scary as what has happened to Linda Evans’s face?

    What exactly did she do that pissed off her cosmetic surgeon that much?

  4. #4 Uncle Dave
    June 20, 2008

    “Dr. Springer brags that the result of all this electricity is like doing 8 sit-ups a second on your face.”

    I wouldn’t touch that line with a ten foot…….

  5. #5 Uncle Dave
    June 20, 2008

    “Is it me or are none of the masks as scary as what has happened to Linda Evans’s face?”

    No, it is not you and I believe that look is refered to as the Riddler look. Note Meg Ryan appears to have had her lips blown to strange asymetrical proportions at a fairly early age.

  6. #6 Niobe
    June 20, 2008

    A 3.5 star rating. Amazon, you never let me down.

    Although this one is hilarious:
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R3830ANLTSSEVG/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm/

    To me the thing looks like it’s missing a ball gag.

  7. #7 Warren
    June 20, 2008

    What exactly did she do that pissed off her cosmetic surgeon that much?

    Posted by: Lilly de Lure

    She was a test run for the guy who reworked Jacko, I think.

  8. #8 barbie123
    June 20, 2008

    why is she wearing a mask and holding one?

  9. #9 HP
    June 20, 2008

    All those monsters are pale imitations. I’m sure that this is the little nightmare that inspired the Rejuvenique: Les Yeux sans visage.

    It’s even got a French name.

  10. #10 BB
    June 20, 2008

    Does anyone else rermember that Salton made a kitchen dessicator, you knmow, so you could dry you own fruit? Does that explain it?

  11. #11 Dangerous Bacon
    June 20, 2008

    Let’s not forget the absolute scariest mask of all.

    Your wrinkles will be shocked into straightening out, even without the benefit of electricity, when you wear this:

    http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y134/scolexhex/wilford_brimley-diabeetus.jpg

  12. #12 Dr Aust
    June 20, 2008

    Apart from the horror mask-wearers so far mentioned as models for the product, can I put in a word for Michael Myers from John Carpenter’s classic Halloween. Michael Myers’ chosen visage for the 1978 movie was, as I remember, a truly bad dime-store William Shatner mask.

    PS Do we know if Linda Evans is still into “channeling”?

  13. #13 Regan
    June 20, 2008

    Too bad they didn’t stick to the electric yogurt maker.

    I guess if things become really desperate you can just wear the mask, ala Vanilla Sky.

  14. #14 Calli Arcale
    June 20, 2008

    “That would be the villain from “Caves of Androzani,” whose name is escaping me. Do I get half points? :)”

    Yep. That would be Sharez Jek, one of the more interesting and complex villains of the series. Though definitely partly inspired by “Phantom of the Opera”, Jek is not a pastiche of the Phantom. He’s his own character. “Caves of Androzani” was one of the best serials, in my opinion. None of the villains are two-dimensional (except perhaps the monster, which the director wisely chose to minimize upon seeing how unconvincing it was); they’re all complex characters operating based on their own particular motivations. Great story.

  15. #15 Sophist FCD
    June 20, 2008

    Damn you HP, I was going to make an “Eyes Without a Face” reference. Stupid A1 knockoff…

    Also, is Linda Evans related to Bruce Campbell or something?

  16. #16 Trisha
    June 21, 2008

    I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t recognize the 3rd guy.

  17. #17 Samantha Vimes
    June 21, 2008

    The mask of Jaherzhad, I think, although my spelling is probably off. My husband made a copy of it for a pledge break once!

  18. #18 Blaidd Drwg
    June 21, 2008

    Orac, that’s Sharez Jek, from “The Caves of Androzani” Peter Davison’s last episode.

    Peri, “Doctor, what’s happened?”
    Doctor, “Change, my dear, and it appears not a moment too soon!”

  19. #19 Liesl
    June 21, 2008

    Oh, this isn’t as dead as people think. Along the same principle, except with the opposite desired effect, neuromuscular dentistry uses the principles of acupressure and acupuncture to relax your jaw into its “normal” state before taking impressions for a bite plate. I fell victim to this when I was living in a small town with only once dentist who treated TMJ, before the internet was big enough to really find out about these things. In my defense, he never used the words acupuncture or pressure. $3,000 later, I had a flimsy mouth guard that I bit through within the month. Oh, and the kicker? All of our aches and pains were caused by TMJ because the nerves that run by the jaw go to the brain, which then confuses the jaw pain for pain in places like your stomach, toes or behind. Nope, not kidding.

  20. #20 Ginger Yellow
    June 23, 2008

    I love how QVC the name is. It ends in -ique! It must be classy.

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