Respectful Insolence

i-e7a12c3d2598161273c9ed31d61fe694-ClassicInsolence.jpgEvery so often, real life intrudes on blogging, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times. So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from almost exactly four years ago, in July 2006. Also remember that, if you’ve been reading less than four years, it’s probably new to you, and, even if you have been reading more than four years, it’s fun to see how posts like this have aged. (Sometimes I shudder when I go back to read stuff that I wrote four or five years ago.)

Come to think of it, if you have been reading more than four years, let me know in this thread. I think it’d be cool to remind myself who my longtime readers are and, if possible, to find out who the longtime lurkers have been! Also, fear not! Orac will return sometime over the three day holiday weekend, after he’s recharged is his circuits.

***
When I originally conceived of doing a weekly feature entitled “Your Friday Dose of Woo,” I did it almost on a whim. Now that I’ve reached the second week, I’ve realized that this is going to be harder than I thought. No, it’s not that it’s hard to find suitable targets. Quite the opposite, in fact. There’s just too much woo out there, that it’s really hard to choose a suitable subject. I had a hellacious time trying to pick one particular instance of woo that tickled my fancy enough to dedicate a blog post to it.

Of course, I did think about doing a followup to last week’s Friday Dose of Woo about the quantum homeopathy. I was even assisted in this endeavor by readers who were kind enough to send me a PDF of the complete article by Lionel Milgrom from which the abstract I quoted came. Not only that, but it turns out that Dr. Milgrom is a prolific little bastard when it comes to fusing quantum mechanic jargon with homeopathy to produce a highly toxic mixture of woo whose effect on my brain was such that I’m still recovering from trying to read the whole thing. Indeed, another reader sent me four articles by Milgrom, all chock full of the same toxic woo brew (apologies to our latest host of the Skeptics’ Circle). After a few pages, my brain’s energy field must have become quantumly entangled with that of Dr. Milgrom at the subatomic level. Or something. Either way, my brain hurt too much before I could finish all of that woo. I think my neurons were rebelling as the homeopathic quantum woo field assaulted them.

Maybe next week. Milgrom’s papers represent perhaps the most target rich woo environment I’ve ever seen. In a way, it’s almost too easy–other than the brain pain, of course. But then, what’s a little pain in the service of critical thinking?

Fortunately, after much searching through links that I had saved, I found just the thing to cleanse my chakra after prolonged exposure to Milgrom’s quantum homeopathic altie woo: Allergy Antidotes. When I saw this therapeutic technique, which I had never heard of before, billed as an “Energy Psychology Treatment of Allergy-like Reactions ,” I knew I had my woo for this week.

So what can Sandi Radomski, the proprietor of Allergy Antidotes and apparently a licensed social worker and naturopath, do for you?

According to the Allergy Antidotes website, it’s a three-step process:

STEP 1: Assess whether substance sensitivities are a possible cause of symptoms.

This is all well and good, but somehow I’m guessing that Allergy Antidotes will find that virtually every patient’s symptoms are caused by “substance sensitivities.” Why do I think that? Just a hunch. You’ll see why.

STEP 2: Identify specific reactive substances. Any symptom can be from a substance sensitivity. In turn, any substance can potentially weaken the body’s energy system. Possible culprits range from toxic chemicals such as petrochemicals, to non-toxic substances such as eggs and vitamin C. Since everything is suspect, a methodical system is required to assess whether a particular substance is weakening a person’s energy system.

Reactive substances can be easily identified using non-invasive muscle testing. This variety of muscle testing, adapted from Applied Kinesiology, involves the patient holding or thinking about different substances while applying consistent pressure to the patient’s outstretched arm. If the arm “gives way” (weakens) it is an indication that the held substance is weakening the muscle energy system.

Uh-oh. Applied kinesiology (AK)? We’re talking some serious dubiosity here. (OK, I mean “dubiousness,” but I just liked the sound of “dubiosity.” In fact, I may just use the term “dubosity” in the future.) AK is a pseudoscience the basic premise of which is that every organ dysfunction is accompanied by weakness in specific muscles. Practitioners thus go through elaborate measurements of the strengths of various muscles. In this case, Allergy Antidote is applying AK to alleged allergies or sensitivities to specific substances. Heck, the patient doesn’t even have to hold the substance; he just has to think about it, and AK can diagnose it as a cause of “weakening of the muscle energy system.” Neat, eh?

Too bad AK makes no sense physiologically and there is no scientific evidence that it does what practitioners claim:

Although the claims of applied kinesiology are so far removed from scientific reality that testing them might seem a waste of time, competent researchers have subjected the muscle-testing procedures to several well-designed controlled tests and demonstrated what should be obvious to rational persons. Some have found no difference in muscle response from one substance to another, while others have found no difference between the results with test substances and with placebos. One study, for example, found that three practitioners testing eleven subjects made significantly different assessments; their diagnoses of nutritional deficiencies did not correspond to the nutrient levels obtain by blood serum analysis; and that the responses to nutrient substances did not significantly differ from responses to placebos [9]. Another study found no effect from administering the nutrients “expected” to strengthen a muscle diagnosed as “weak” by AK practitioners.” [10] Other researchers who conducted an elaborate double-blind trial concluded that “muscle response appeared to be a random phenomenon.” [11] Another study showed that suggestion can influence the outcome of muscle-testing. During part of this experiment, college students were told that chewing M&M candies would give them instant energy that would probably make them test stronger. Five out of nine did so [12]. In yet another study, four AK practitioners tested seven patieents who were extremely sensitive to wasp venom. Altogether, 140 muscle tests were done to see how the patients responded to preparations of venom or salt water in a bottle. If the test were valid, the venom bottles should result in “strong” reactions and the salt-water bottles should produce “weak” test reactions. However, the practitioners were unable to identify which bottles contained which.

But, hey, alties never let a little thing like science stand in the way of their favored therapy, now have they?

So what’s the next step, if for whatever reason the unfortunate patient can’t completely isolate himself from the allegedly offending substance that is supposedly responsible for his symptoms, whatever those symptoms may be? (And it doesn’t seem to matter too much to Allergy Antidotes what the specific symptoms are, be they multiple sclerosis, allergies to dogs, digestive problems, back pain, or migraines.) Well, step right up:

STEP 3: Use energy psychology techniques to reprogram the body to no longer react negatively to the reactive substances. The reprogrammed body no longer views the substance as a poison. All treatments are done with the patient’s focus on the reactive substance. The patient holds the substance, or holds a tube with the energetic signature of the substance, or holds piece of paper with the name of the substance, or says or thinks about the substance. By stimulating acupuncture points, we eliminate the energy imbalance in relation to that substance, thereby ending the body’s negative reaction.

Silly me. I always thought that allergic reactions involved little things like histamine release by mast cells in response to an allergen, with all its attendant effects. I guess I’m just old-fashioned. Fortunately for her altie customers, Sandi Radomski’s more hip and with it when it comes to defining allergies. She doesn’t let a little thing like a medical or scientific definition stand in her way:

It is important that I am not referring to allergy in the strict medical definition of a histamine reaction. Basically I am defining “allergy” as an abnormal response to a food, drug, or something in our environment that usually does not cause symptoms in most people. I am viewing an allergy as anything that weakens the body’s energy system. This work has grown out of the discoveries of Dr. Roger Callahan who found that an energy toxin or anything that weakens the energy system can cause emotional and physical symptoms.

Allergies can cause real problems for people; some people even die from allergic reactions to various substances. I wish I could redefine diseases or abnormal physiology like that. I wonder if it would work if I redefined cancer as a “weakening of the energy system” and applied Randomski’s techniques to treating it. Oh, wait. There are already other alties who do something fairly similar to that and claim fantastic success. They even have the testimonials to prove it! Never mind.

It turns out that Dr. Roger Callahan is the inventor of thought field therapy (TFT). Basically, TFT involves tapping various points in the body to “rebalance its natural energy system.” That’s it. It’s that simple. Indeed, TFT has been called psychological acupuncture, except, I guess, you don’t need all those nasty needles to do it. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence other than testimonials and badly designed studies showing that it does anything. (I do, however, like the term “energy toxins.” It sounds way cooler than just “toxins.”)

Of course, Roger Callahan’s disciple, Gary Craig, who invented a variant of TFT known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), just loves Randomski’s work:

I give you a gift and her name is Sandi Radomski… She has created a professional, easy to understand manual that is a MUST READ for serious students of these procedures.

She certainly was a gift to me–for my Friday Woo!

My absolute favorite part of Radomski’s treatment, though, is the “Laser Spray“:

The Laser Spray Treatment entails stimulating the reflex points on the ears, hands and feet with a laser beam to balance the body’s energy system in relation to an energy toxin. The energy toxin can be a reactive substance, negative emotion or thought or traumatic scene. Slowly spray the laser beam over the entire ears (front and back), hands, and/or feet while the patient is holding or thinking about the energy toxin.

You have your choice of the eTox Laser, the basic model, or you could go for the Advanced Laser:

The Advanced Laser is also 635nm. An added feature is its On/Off switch, which frees you from having to continually press a button to shine the laser. Another plus is a wider beam than the eTox Laser, covering a larger area at one time. Numerous healing experiences have been reported from using the Advanced laser with Allergy Antidote’s new LaserLight Technique™. It is also helpful for skin conditions such as mosquito bites, psoriasis and fascia.

Imagine that! It even has a switch! I’m still trying to figure out what disease “fascia” is, though. Fascia is a normal body structure, specifically a specialized connective tissue surrounding muscles, joints, and bones and doesn’t really have anything to do with the skin. Also, it’s not a disease. Of course, given that “fascia” is not a disease, I’m guessing that the Advanced Laser can probably “cure” it. I’m also guessing that telling patients that you’re going to use a laser to “balance their energy fields” sounds a lot more impressive than saying you’ll be tapping on them. In surgery, I see the same phenomenon when patients ask me If I’ll be using a laser during their breast biopsy. (No, I have to tell them, just an old-fashioned scalpel and electrocautery.) Marketing is everything.

Of course, never forget that all of this Allergy Antidote stuff is scientific! How do we know? Radomski says so:

Dr. Penny Montgomery and Dr. Margaret Ayers have conducted two landmark studies with great relevance to the treatment of allergy-like reactions to substances. Using real time EEG findings, Drs. Montgomery and Ayers have discovered specific brain wave patterns that denote sensitivity to a particular substance. In the first study, they have successfully proven that brain waves return to normal after using N.A.E.T. (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique) – a similar procedure to Spinal Release – to clear the reaction. The importance of this research is in documenting not only the presence of the sensitivity but the effectiveness of the treatment as well. The second study documents changes in brain waves when the subject merely holds an energy frequency tube containing a substance to which he or she is reactive, illustrating the effectiveness of Energy Frequency Tubes to detect and treat sensitivity reactions.

I did several PubMed searches and was unable to find any studies in the peer-reviewed literature by Montgomery and Ayers. When I searched for Montgomery alone, I was unable to find a PubMed citation for her more recent than 1976 (assuming I have the correct P. Montgomery). I couldn’t find any PubMed citations for Margaret Ayers, but I did find that she runs some sort of company called Neuropathways. I also found both of them listed as speakers at a conference on neurofeedback and an ISNR professional workshop, where I learned that Dr. Montgomery is in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA. (Where else?) Whatever Ayers’ or Montgomery’s research is or may have been, it’s not published in the appropriate scientific journals in the last 30 years, and therefore I can’t evaluate it properly. They do, however, appear to have a number of publications in books and non-peer-reviewed journals and magazines, including newsletters, my preferred source for hardcore scientific studies.

You know, I just had an idea, with all this talk of energy manipulation and biofeedback to cure allergies and other diseases and abnormalities. It all certainly sounds like a treatment modality that is crying out for a quantum approach to its theory and application, don’t you think? So….Sandi Radomski, meet Lionel Milgrom. Lionel Milgrom, meet Sandi Radomski. I think you two could make beautiful woo together!

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Tags: Thought Field Therapy, Homeopathy, Applied Kinesiology, Allergy, Alternative medicine, Sandi Radomski, Emotional Freedom Techniques

Comments

  1. #1 triskelethecat
    July 2, 2010

    I don’t remember the first time I read Insolence but it had to be around 2005 or 2006, so I’ve been reading and commenting at least 4 years. Of course, my name has changed several times (drives me nuts that when I sign in to comment on Pharyngula, it uses that name all over Sciblogs whether I want it to or not). But I know that Orac knows who I am, no matter what name I use.

    Re: allergy antidotes: if they were real, my life would be so much easier. I would be able to cook with Parmesan cheese (husband allergic), strawberries (daughter allergic) and not have to worry about reactions.

    People with other life-threatening allergies would have fewer worries. Wouldn’t it be wonderful? I’m sure a TRUE cure would make millions. Unfortunately, all we have here is woo.:-(

  2. #2 Andy
    July 2, 2010

    There’s an Aussie outfit that runs a seemingly similar operation, with a very similar disclaimer.

    Peter Bowditch has had a bit to say about them (as has our corporate watchdog) since back when they were called Advanced Allergy Elimination (now Allergy Pathway).

  3. #3 The Domestic Goddess
    July 2, 2010

    A Laser Spray! Now I can eat seafood, get stung by bees and take sulfa drugs when I get an infection! I’m cured!

    Sheesh. Sounds almost as useful as an e-meter.

  4. #4 Liz Ditz
    July 2, 2010

    I know I started reading the old RI a long time ago, possibly as early as 2004, but here’s the
    earliest link I could find — August 2005.

    At least you haven’t turned into a zombie for realz.

  5. #5 Nescio
    July 2, 2010

    I think I have commented here before that to my enormous surprise I cured myself of what seemed to me to be a very real IgE-mediated cat allergy, using self-hypnosis, and it has stayed cured for over 20 years. On this basis I strongly suspect that at least some allergies may have a psychogenic element. One study used Pavlovian conditioning to get mucosal mast cells to secrete rat mast cell protease II in response to an audio-visual stimulus. In another study guinea pigs were trained to release histamine in response to an odor. BTW both these studies were published in Science, not in some dubious alternative journal. So it is possible that in some cases an allergy may disappear in response to a dose of woo, though the woo-meister’s explanatory framework is very probably, to use a British technical term, complete bollocks.

  6. #6 Jojo
    July 2, 2010

    Dude, this is, like so awesome! Here I’ve been worrying about my kid’s penicillin allergy when there is a really simple cure. So, the next time he needs it, I’ll have the doctor hand him the prescription with the medicine’s name on it, give him a quick laser spray, and everything will be fine. Sweet!

    Hmm…on second thought, I don’t think my son’s pediatrician dabbles in magic. Never mind.

  7. #7 TwoYaks
    July 2, 2010

    Well, I can’t think to when exactly I started reading yon blog, but it’s my vague recollection that it was between two jobs, so that narrows it down to around late 2005 – early 2006. I mostly lurk – 90% of the time I just give the comments a pass.

    I think I’m going to redefine Asthma as “Having too much cake.” You can still die of asthma, alas, but it’s a condition that I can find the wherewithall to suffer through!

  8. #8 ancientTechie
    July 2, 2010

    I have been reading your blog since it moved to ScienceBlogs in, what was it, 2006? At that time, I regularly perused every blog on the site: easy enough, since there were very few.

  9. #9 OleanderTea
    July 2, 2010

    So I can leave the Epi-Pen at home! I can have pecan pie and not die! O happy day!

    Of course, a mild allergy to pollen won’t be endangered by this nonsense (beyond the patient’s wallet). But someone with major allergies could well end up dead when they are “cured” and believe they really can throw out their Epi-Pen.

    And when a patient does have a major reaction, no doubt the alt-med shills believe it’s the patient’s fault for not having enough eTox laser treatments, or biofeedback, or not letting go of the negative emotions associated with the allergen.

    The mind boggles. Really.

  10. #10 Mattand
    July 2, 2010

    I think I’ve been getting my Insolence fix since roughly April ’08. I started reading Pharyngula around the whole Expelled fiasco happened and found RI through its links.

    This site has been a valuable educational resource for me. I had no idea how pervasive alt med woo was until I started following the skeptical movement. It’s not just our local doctors and hospitals; our veterinary offices are even starting to halfheartedly embrace this stuff.

    Your work is much appreciated. I hope you keep writing until your circuit board gives out.

  11. #11 Scott
    July 2, 2010

    Um, lasers shined at the ear? That’s awfully close to the eye (in terms of angle). Sure, they’re presumably low-powered so brief incidental exposure wouldn’t be damaging, but still…

  12. #12 Jarred C
    July 2, 2010

    I’ve been a reader and commenter here for about a year. I discovered this place when I was trying to find more information on vaccines (I was engaged in an ongoing debate with a college friend about the effectiveness of vaccines; she did not believe vaccines worked, because her uncle said so, and he was a medical doctor).

    Anyways, my true reason for commenting today is to give Orac more sources for woo (as if you didn’t have enough as it is). I recently discovered this place (http://hsibaltimore.com ) called the Health Science Institute. I recommend clicking the “About HSI” link at the bottom of the page, and then clicking the “Learn More About HSI’s Breakthoughs.”

    I found out about this place because my (soon-to-be) mother-in-law had a booklet on her coffee table entitle “The Blacklist” by Dr. Benjamin Ross (a Dr. who lost his practice and was arrested by the FDA for practicing effective alternative medical techniques). This booklet was about all the “cures” the medical establishment don’t want you to know about. The booklet informed me that I could cure allergies (100% effective), or cure cancer (7 out of 10 patients 100% cured!), and about 10 other things. The closest thing on the web that I could find on this little booklet was a blog post reprinting the back cover (link here ). Of course, the booklet doesn’t tell you what these cures are, you have to subscribe to their service (via their webpage at HSI), and then you can purchase the wonderful herbs which are the source of the cures!

    The entire set-up is chock full of woo and fraud.

  13. #13 MosesZD
    July 2, 2010

    I’ve been reading at Science Blogs since Pharyngula came here in way back in 2005. Your blog, if I remember right, came in at about the same time and is one of the many blogs I started reading when I came here.

    In these five years, some of the blogs have gotten stupid. Some have lost my interest. Some became more about self-aggrandizing polemics than writing. Some I like, and still follow, have left (Evolving Thoughts). Some others I’ve liked before they have come here, have come here (Primate Diaries). And some even died as people suffered from burn-out.

    But of all the blogs at Seed, your blog is one of the few blogs I’ve consistently read since I discovered Seed Blogs.

  14. #14 rob
    July 2, 2010

    i bet the eTox Laser isn’t 635 nm, but 633 nm. which means it is a HeNe laser. amazingly it’s wavelength is the same frequency as a healthy living cell!!!11!! we sure are lucky that our cells don’t vibrate at frequency doubled Nd:YAG laser wavelengths. those would be too expensive to sell to the woowoos.

    but, hey, since it is a cheapo HeNe laser, just go to a pet store and buy a cat toy or lean over your supermarket scanner to have numerous healing experiences.

  15. #15 Chance Gearheart
    July 2, 2010

    Wait a second, this guy is an LCSW? Don’t state boards typically strip them of their licenses for doing this crap?

  16. #16 wanderinweeta
    July 2, 2010

    I discovered YFDoW back in July of 2006 (here). From there, I backtracked a few weeks, reading previous posts. That makes it almost exactly 4 years that I’ve been a regular reader, rare commenter.

  17. #17 Dr. P
    July 2, 2010

    Basically I am defining “allergy” as an abnormal response to a food, drug, or something in our environment that usually does not cause symptoms in most people. I am viewing an allergy as anything that weakens the body’s energy system.

    This is my fav….We hope that they will be able to think logically and methodically, and they refuse to even use the agreed upon MEANINGS of words, because it’s too restrictive, rendering communication of any real idea impossible, i.e., if you want to describe an “abnormal response” than use a different word, hell, make one up, but don’t use a word that has a defined meaning describing a chain of specific reactions that is already established.Sheesh!

  18. #18 Dr. P
    July 2, 2010

    Than—Then…Doh!

  19. #19 Rjaye
    July 2, 2010

    I’ve been reading since 2005 as well. I started reading Pharyngula, and then started exploring SciBlogs, and discovered Respectful insolence.

    I had been into this stuff in my twenties-that my health issues were due to “allergies” and being muscle tested. The only reason I didn’t stick with the woo was simple: it didn’t work.

    The only thing that worked was going to a doctor who finally took me seriously and found I had an unusual set of symptoms for a fairly common problem, which was complicated by a second issue. Once my health issues were discovered, and medication prescribed, I was on my way to getting better.

    What sometimes irritates me is that people THINK they have allergies and suddenly have a host of vague symptoms. I think they have been referred to as the “worried well,” and I am still trying to figure out why people get to that point. Is it some vague existential angst, and they can’t deal? I dunno.

    Anyway, Orac, this is one of my favorite blogs, and one I don’t ever miss. Thank you. This place has been an education, from you and your commenters.

  20. #20 magista
    July 2, 2010

    Hmm… I think I’ve been reading since about October 2005 or so. I know I can remember when you changed your background at the old site.

    You’ve been on my regular rounds of blog reading daily since then, for sure, though I don’t comment much. You’ve been an invaluable resource for when some of my fellow science teachers need a dose of Respectful InsolenceTM over actually believing in nonsense like acupuncture and chiropractic. We’re supposed to be teaching the next generation proper critical thinking skills, after all!

    I still regret missing a chance to meet you that one year in New York city…

  21. #21 BGT
    July 2, 2010

    Orac, I don’t know if I have been reading for four years, but I did find you shortly after PZ got here. You, PZ, erv, and Ed are my daily reads. I also check in with PAL as well. I lurk since I don’t have much to contribute, but I am like a junky for your blog now. Keep up the good work.

  22. #22 chines
    July 2, 2010

    Orac, I’ve been reading you since about 2005. Don’t remember quite how I stumbled onto you, but I clearly remember the first application of respectful insolence I had the pleasure to witness. The RI was directed at one of the quack doctor’s bogus claims about the cause of death of Christine Maggiore’s daughter. Although the subject was very sad and disturbing, the Insolence was sublime, and I was hooked.

  23. #23 plaasjapie
    July 3, 2010

    In my vague recollections of physics, I thought a laser was a tightly controlled beam of light. A laser spray presumably has to first pass through a lens or something to make it spread out like….umm…normal light?

  24. #24 DLC
    July 3, 2010

    Hm. the oldest posts I can find here are from 2007, but I’m pretty sure I recall talking about Orac with my mom, and mom died in 2005. perhaps I didn’t and just remember it that way.
    Well, whichever it is, I hope the grant process went well.

  25. #25 Kristjan Wager
    July 3, 2010

    I can’t say exactly when I started reading the blog, but it was in the early days for sure (I just took a look at the old place, and I remember some of the earliest posts).

    Though I don’t comment so much these days, I’ve been commenting since at least mid-2005. I plan on beginning to comment more on blogs again, so expect more comments from me.

  26. #26 Travis
    July 3, 2010

    Not really sure when I came here first. I think it was around when the switch to scienceblogs happened. But I am not sure. I know I lived in a different city at the time, so I guess it was around 2006, but maybe some time in 2007. But I only started commenting with any regularity recently. I never contributed to blogs in the past, just read.

  27. #27 blf
    July 3, 2010

    I first starting reading at the old site (before the move to Teh SciBorg), albeit I don’t recall the year, nor do I have any recollection of when I first commented. As far as I can now recall, I found the beeping, flashing insolent plexiglass’s blog (at the old site) from Pooflingers Anonymous (which now seems to be dormant), which I (vaguely) recall finding from (a chain of?) links from Bad Astronomy‘s old site.

  28. #28 sophia8
    July 3, 2010

    .We hope that they will be able to think logically and methodically, and they refuse to even use the agreed upon MEANINGS of words, because it’s too restrictive, rendering communication of any real idea impossible, i.e., if you want to describe an “abnormal response” than use a different word, hell, make one up, but don’t use a word that has a defined meaning describing a chain of specific reactions that is already established.Sheesh!

    I feel the same way about woomeisters misusing the word “quantum”. Maybe people can join me in a campaign to make these idiots use the word phlebotinum instead? Their gibberish would still make exactly as much sense, while the 14 people in the world who actually understand quantum physics can stop fuming.

  29. #29 Zipi
    July 3, 2010

    Since you ask, I have been reading (and mostly lurking) since 2006.

  30. #30 Chester Burton Brown
    July 3, 2010

    A scam like this is a pool-skimmer to take the easiest curd-layer from an already extant mountain of auto-woo. People LOVE allergies (except for the poor folks with real ones). Allergies are an excuse to be picky without the possibility of blame — it’s a boon to aspiring royals everywhere.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many of the loudest allergy obsessives will unflinchingly admit to their condition being entirely self-assessed.

    Yours,
    CBB

  31. #31 khan
    July 3, 2010

    From looking at the archives, I’ve been reading Orac for just about four years.

  32. #32 Monica Pignotti
    July 3, 2010

    Speaking of Energy Psychology, here is a practitioner trying to get on Oprah, mixing tapping therapies with what sounds like woo from The Secret. So far, all the comments are positive.

    See:
    http://myown.oprah.com/audition/index.html?request=video_details&response_id=20419&promo_id=1&comments_page=1#comments_top

  33. #33 Mich
    July 4, 2010

    Years ago, I had allergic asthma. When I was scratch-tested by an allergist, my arms blew up like balloons. The swellings literally ran together.

    I have severe allergies to most cats, dogs horses, grasses, weeds, wood, dust and numerous foods. The tests confirmed what I already knew. I was allergic to many things.

    A girlfriend was insistent that I get tested by her chiropractor who turned out to be a Scientologist who used the applied kineseology testing method described in this piece. This so-called doctor insisted that I was allergic to things that I had no trouble with–chocolate, beef and shellfish, but insisted that I couldn’t be allergic to foods that actually provoked severe allergic attacks. She said I had no egg allergy. I knew this was bullshit because I was rushed to the emergency room twice after eating eggs before realizing what had caused the reaction.

    This alleged health care practitioner got extremely testy with me as I explained to her that she’d gotten almost everything wrong. The test test itself was the product of pure idiocy. It was clear to me that she was pressing my arm much harder on some items than on others.

    Given my asthmatic reactions to foods she cleared me on, I’d say that this woman was not merely a fool, but a very dangerous fool.

    Oh yeah, she used homeopathic treatments. Had I taken her “medicines” they probably would have worked well as treatments for the allergies to chocolate, beef and shellfish, but I wouldn’t know that because I never had an allergic reaction after eating these foods.

  34. #34 Pat S
    July 4, 2010

    I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been reading here but it must be at least 3 years. Thanks, Orac.

  35. #35 Ozmum
    July 4, 2010

    I’ve been lurking and making my once a year comment from before you moved to SciBlogs – somewhere around late 05 or early 06 I think. It’s not that I don’t like commenting it’s just that by the time I get there there are usually already hundereds of comments – comes from living in the arse end of the world with horrible time differences.

  36. #36 Leeman
    July 4, 2010

    Hi. Long time lucker, etc.

    Way back in the mists of time when I was young, my parents took me to a Applied kinesiologist for my bad asthma (I was still continuing medication at the time). After walking around me with a divining rod and asking me to hold various crap, he discovered I’m allegic to cows. It’s not just lactose, but *anything* cow related – so lacatose AND gluten.

    That bastard singlehandedly stopped me from eating bread, pasta, pastry, ice cream, and milk. Most miserable 2 weeks of my childhood until my dad realised my asthma wasn’t improving and let me loose with a tub of icecream. To this sodding day I hate those puffed rice crackers and goat’s milk. At least I managed to give mum’s gluten-free cookery book to someone with Celiac Disease last year so I guess someone benefited (besides that charlatan’s wallet).

  37. #37 Katherine
    July 4, 2010

    @Chester Burton Brown: I realise you are being snide about the apparently large number of people who fake allergies, but perhaps you could be a little more sensitive to those who HAD to self-diagnose. My dad has suffered greatly from (undiagnosed until recently) allergies all his life. GPs hadn’t HEARD of allergies when he was a kid, but you can’t tell me that he made up his allergies to pollen, cats, dogs and dairy (his parents on the other hand definitely thought he was faking, just like they thought he was faking his colourblindness!)

    Unfortunately my parents tried homeopathy to treat my sister’s allergies when she was young *sigh*. I dunno if it placeboed any good, I was a kid too.

  38. #38 attack_laurel
    July 6, 2010

    I’ve been reading since about mid-2007, but I comment very rarely. I found your site through a series of random linking on quack medicine (I was writing a humourous post about the ridiculous stuff I get in the mail), and liked what I saw, so I kept reading.

    You’re on my blog roll now, since I think my readers should read you. :)

  39. #39 Monica
    July 7, 2010

    In response to the person who asked if “this guy” is an LCSW. Actually, it’s a woman and yes, she is indeed an LCSW. I did my dissertation on the Use of Novel Unsupported Therapies by LCSWs and found that 75% of the people I surveyed were using at least one Novel Unsupported Therapy. One SW professor even put together a PowerPoint showing what some LCSWs are into. Try Googling LCSW and psychics or any other similar term and see what you get. This is a true embarrassment, but psychologists are not much better. Just look at the founder of Thought Field Therapy, who is a PhD and licensed clinical psychologist.

  40. #40 Kelly
    July 31, 2011

    What is Neurofeedback? Does it work for Autism? Is it safe? Is there any research please? There are things on Pubmed but I’m sorry I don’t understand them e.g. 20920283

    This website offers it http://www.brainbody.net/BrainBody/Autism_%26_Neurfeedback.html but doesn’t actually explain it.

  41. #41 Kelly
    July 31, 2011

    What is Neurofeedback? Does it work for Autism? Is it safe? Is there any research please? There are things on Pubmed but I’m sorry I don’t understand them e.g. 20920283

    This website offers it http://www.brainbody.net/BrainBody/Autism_%26_Neurfeedback.html but doesn’t actually explain it.

  42. #42 Kelly
    July 31, 2011

    Hey no I don’t care about the link, delete it if you want. I accidently posted twice when my net went off.

    Is neurofeedback a con?

  43. #43 Kelly
    July 31, 2011

    What? Remind me never to ask you for ‘science’ advice. What a cunt?

    READ ORAC’S ARTICLE it says:

    ” I also found both of them listed as speakers at a conference on neurofeedback and an ISNR professional workshop, where I learned that Dr. Montgomery is in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA.”

    It is the only time Orac mentions it and I heard that Orac looks at autism treatment scams.

    Meanwhile people are promoting it as if it is the latest scientific breakthrough.

    Are you trying to tell me it works? Chris your response makes me think you want to hide something about ‘Neurofeedback for Autism’.

  44. #44 Chris
    July 31, 2011

    And this morning we are graced with the illiterate repetitive spamming necromancer!

  45. #45 Chris
    July 31, 2011

    Um, you posted off topic spam on a year old article. The only thing that allergies, antidotes and autism have in common is that they are all words that begin with “a.”

  46. #46 Lawrence
    July 31, 2011

    Kelly, not the best way to “play nice” around here. If you had posted on something a little more recent & with additional details, you might have gotten a bit of better response.

  47. #47 Chris
    July 31, 2011

    You are a bit testy. That was one word near the end of the whole article explaining that there was very little about a person who was promoting some silly stuff. This article was not about neurofeedback nor autism, plus it is over a year old.

    I’m standing by my “illiterate” observation.

    But if you wish I’ll point out an article by a real neurologist about “neurofeedback”: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/neurofeedback-and-the-need-for-science-based-medicine/

    It short: it is silly stuff.

  48. #48 Chris
    July 31, 2011

    And seriously, posting an off topic link on an old article is a common tactic of spammers.

    You should lurk a bit more, and actually read some of the more recent postings before asking off topic questions. And as a general rule, it is often bad form to start posting comments on an old article, this one being well over a year old.

  49. #49 herr doktor bimler
    July 31, 2011

    Is neurofeedback a con?
    My guess is Yes, if a con-artist spammer feels the need to spout off about it on an irrelevant thread.

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