Respectful Insolence

Et tu, Consumer Reports?

Since I was a teenager, I’ve intermittently read Consumer Reports, relying on it for guidance in all manner of purchase decisions. CR has been known for rigorous testing of all manner of consumer products and the rating of various services, arriving at its rankings through a systematic testing method that, while not necessarily bulletproof, has been far more organized and consistent than most other ranking systems. True, I haven’t always agreed with CR’s rankings of products and services about which I know a lot, but at the very least CR has often made me think about how much of my assessments are based on objective measures and how much on subjective measures.

Until now.

I just saw something yesterday on the CR website that has made me wonder just how scientific CR’s testing methods are, as CR has apparently decided to promote alternative medicine modalities by “assessing” them in an utterly scientifically ignorant manner. Maybe I just haven’t been following CR regularly for a while. Maybe it’s been doing this for a while, but seeing it shocked me nonetheless. The first red flag was the title, namely Hands-on, mind-body therapies beat supplements. The second red flag was the introduction to the article:

A new survey of subscribers to Consumer Reports found that prescription drugs generally performed better than alternative therapies for 12 common health problems. But hands-on treatments such as chiropractic care and deep-tissue massage, as well as mind-body therapies such as yoga and meditation, held their own, especially for certain conditions. Far fewer said that dietary supplements helped a lot.

Prescription drugs helped the most for nine of the conditions we asked about: allergies, anxiety, colds and flu, depression, digestive problems, headache and migraine, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, and osteoarthritis.

But chiropractic care performed better than drugs for back pain, and deep-tissue massage beat drugs for neck pain. Massage was as also as good as drugs for fibromyalgia. Those hands-on therapies also scored near the top for osteoarthritis as well as for headaches and migraines.

Oy, vey.

Clearly, whatever rigorous testing methodologies CR might bring to various products, its editors clearly have zero clue when it comes to science- and evidence-based medicine if they think that a survey is the appropriate way to determine which treatments work or how well treatments work relative to each other. There was a perfect example of what that is so just the other day with the study that appeared in New England Journal of Medicine that was touted as evidence that the placebo effect is powerful but in reality what the study showed is that, while placebos can make patients think they feel better, they don’t actually do anything to change the underlying pathology of the disease for the better. That’s why science and randomized clinical trials are necessary to determine what therapies work, which ones do not, and which ones work better than others. Surveys are a notoriously unreliable and deceptive (as in self-deceptive) way of trying to assess the relative merits of various therapies, representing as they do, mainly an aggregation of testimonials. Yet that’s what CR is using to try to rank alternative medicine therapies.

Worse, CR concludes its introduction:

For details, see our full report on alternative therapies, including advice on how to find a good chiropractor, massage therapist, yoga instructor, or other alternative-medicine practitioner.

I would submit to you that any reputable testing organization should not–I repeat, should not–be providing advice on how to find alternative medicine practitioners. On the other hand, note the bait and switch. Massage therapy is not necessarily “alternative.” At least it’s not alternative until it’s infused with woo like talk of “life energies” and such. Ditto yoga instructors, given that yoga, stripped of its woo, is basically stretching exercises. As for chiropractors, my standards for what would constitute a “good” chiropractor would be a bit different than most; I’d choose chiropractors who function primarily as physical therapists, eschewing any suggestion that they can cure any disease or treat anything other than musculoskeletal complaints. Any chiropractor who still believes in those mystical, magical “subluxations” that only chiropractors can find or who promote the idea of “innate intelligence” would not be a “good” chiropractor in my book; he’d be a quack.

My scientific orientation aside, it is nonetheless rather interesting to peruse CR’s report on “alternative” treatments entitled Alternative treatments More than 45,000 readers tell up what helped. The first thing I noticed was a rather obvious logical fallacy in the form of argumentum ad populum (i.e., appeal to popularity):

Done anything alternative lately? If so, you have a lot of company. When we surveyed 45,601 Consumer Reports subscribers online, we found that three out of four were using some form of alternative therapy for their general health. More than 38 million adults make in excess of 300 million visits to acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other complementary and alternative practitioners each year in the United States.

One wonders how long it will be before quacks start quoting the figure of three quarters of CR readers using alternative medicine or subtly misrepresenting the figure as three-quarters of Americans. After all, “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) and “integrative medicine” (IM) practitioners try very, very hard to paint those of us who are skeptical of their claims as hopeless Luddites trying to resist the inevitable CAM wave washing over medicine. Argumentum ad populum is one of the strongest logical fallacies that CAM proponents use. In fact, CR virtually admits that its survey is utterly useless for telling its readers what does and doesn’t work (although no doubt that’s not how the editors see it) when it states:

A total of 30,332 survey respondents gave us their perceptions of the helpfulness of treatments for their most bothersome conditions over the past two years. The respondents were Consumer Reports subscribers, and our findings might not be representative of the general population. Respondents based their opinions on personal experience, so the results can’t be compared with scientific clinical trials. And our results do not take into account the power of the placebo effect, the tendency of people to find even simulated or sham interventions helpful.

None of these caveats stops CR, though, which bravely dives right into the pool of pseudoscience promoted by appeals to popularity.

Even though this survey is pretty much useless (as CR admits while carrying it out anyway) for providing guidance about what therapies to use, I do have to admit–grudgingly–that this article does provide some rather interesting information, chief of which is that its results show that those nasty, evil, reductionistic prescription drugs in general outperformed any alternative therapy, even in a subjective, self-reported, Internet survey of CR’s subscribers like this. For instance, for allergy, prescription medications and over-the-counter medications were listed by CR readers by far as the top two therapies that “helped a lot.” It’s also interesting to note that only 2% of its readers used chiropractic to treat allergies, although 41% said that it “helped a lot.” Surprisingly, even for conditions for which “mind-body” therapies might be considered effective, prescription medications ruled the roost, including depression and anxiety. Other favorite conditions for which alt-med is used and for which alt-med claims success even though its success is virtually all placebo response yielded to the power of big pharma: Irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, headache, and colds and flu.

In fact, for only two conditions did any “alternative” modality beat or even come close to conventional medicine even in this biased, self-reported survey: back pain/neck pain (which I lumped together because they’re both the spine), osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia. And what was effective? For neck/back pain chiropractic for neck/back pain, chiropractic and massage were reported to be as effective as or more effective than prescription medication, which is not surprising because conventional medicine prescribes physical therapy for these conditions anyway and for spine problems chiropractic is generally physical therapy with woo liberally sprinkled on top. For fibromyalgia deep tissue massage was in a dead heat with prescription medication, which is probably more an indication of the lack of good therapies for fibromyalgia right now than it is an indication that alternative therapies work. Ditto osteoarthritis, where the effectiveness of massage probably indicates the same thing.

There are three other results of this survey that are worth mentioning, for instance this passage:

For most conditions we asked about, the No. 1 reason respondents gave for choosing an alternative treatment was simply that they were “a proponent” of it.

“Some people use these therapies because it’s just the way they were raised,” says Richard Nahin, Ph.D., M.P.H., senior adviser for scientific coordination and outreach at the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Some say they have gone through a transformational process, such as a major illness that has caused them to look at their life in a different way, Nahin says. Others believe dietary supplements are safer than prescription medication because they’re natural, even though that’s not necessarily the case, he says.

In other words, CAM is belief-based medicine, not science-based medicine, and here we have a senior advisor from NCCAM admitting just that.

The second thing is that this article once again tries to make the claim that conventional, scientific medicine is “embracing” CAM by including a section discussing doctors and CAM. Of course, the interesting thing about this section is that it actually portrays physicians who practice CAM as being relatively uncommon, while representing one as being a “brave maverick doctor” who practices acupuncture. Even though I’ve seen doctors who practice acupuncture before (I’m talking to you, Michael Berman), I still can’t figure out the mental contortions and cognitive dissonance that must be necessary to make that happen. Still, in this article, we have a family practitioner named Dr. Rick Hobbs sticking needles into people to realign their qi. He’s even a kindly-appearing, bespectacled old guy wearing a bow tie! Can it get any more Norman Rockwell than that?

Finally, CR’s Hands-on and mind-body therapies: A user’s guide is depressing to behold. First, one notes the classic bait and switch, where therapies that could be considered part of science-based medicine, such as massage, yoga (which is just gentle stretching exercise), and meditation (which is more or less relaxation) are represented as “alternative” and then lumped in with quackery (acupuncture) as though the quackery were equivalent. Chiropractic itself would be a form of physical therapy if it were stripped of its vitalistic woo. In other words, not only has CR apparently decided that pointless Internet surveys where the respondents are all self-selected are a valid way to assess the efficacy of therapies, even while in essence admitting that they are not, but it’s apparently bought into the pseudoscientific world view at the heart of CAM. Whether it did so through belief or cynically in order to pander to a large, woo-loving segment of its audience, I don’t know and don’t care. What I do know is that CR has in this article utterly failed its readers and betrayed its history of rigorous product testing.

I hope it was worth it for CR to shoot its own credibility in the foot with such abandon.

Comments

  1. #1 cervantes
    July 22, 2011

    Okay, but it’s interesting that there does seem to be some wisdom in the crowd. Back pain and “fibromyalgia,” whatever it is exactly, are conditions for which medicine doesn’t have much to offer. As a matter of fact, in the case of back pain, we’re coming to learn that a lot of what has been done is counterproductive. So these don’t just happen to be the problems for which the people are choosing the alternatives. Furthermore, massage and chiropractic plausibly could actually help the symptoms in these cases. So stripped of any unwarranted extrapolation, you could see this as a useful exercise that does tell us something worth listening to, it seems to me.

  2. #2 yoga certification
    July 22, 2011

    Yes the debate as to what is “alternative” and what is actual science is always going to be going on. I mean for people in the East who have been practicing yoga and tai chi, this is a science to them even though it may not be in the West. Science puts most of its weight on results driven data and you cannot deny that millions of people have benefitted from yoga and other “healing” arts

  3. #3 CC
    July 22, 2011

    Indeed, a woo-less massage therapist or chiropractor can do good things for back pain. It’s a shame the CAM crowd has pulled them into their list of “alternative” medicines, and also that there are massage therapists and chiropractors who practice woo.

    Now if CR had pointed this out, that the physical therapy benefits of a woo-less massage or chiro is very much not the same as CAM, it would have been helpful. Their intro to the report didn’t appear to be too bad, to my eyes. I don’t know much about the claims of supplements so I’ll not comment on those. I’ve had some experience with woo-less massage and chiro, and CR do say that you should check with your doctor about expectations.

    The full report says in the second paragraph that the alternatives were “far less helpful” than prescription medicine, and to their credit CR do point out that this report is based purely on anecdote, can’t be compared to a proper scientific study, and doesn’t take into account the placebo effect; also that just because supplements are natural they aren’t necessarily safer than prescription drugs.

    If it weren’t for the last two paragraphs talking about acupuncture, and the lack of pointing out that (for example) massage therapy is physical therapy and an alternative or complement to painkiller or muscle relaxant drugs instead of being part of CAM and its woo, however much that group might like to claim that it is, this could have been a good report.

    The “how to find” users guide, which is all about the woo, doesn’t seem to match the intro or the rest of the report at all. Even if they say “possibly effective” as a caveat, it still looks like promotion. A “how to find” users guide that had tips on how to separate physical therapy from woo, that would have been useful.

    And, very interesting footnote at the bottom: “This report was made possible by a grant from the Airborne Cy Pres Fund, which was established through a legal settlement of a national class-action lawsuit (Wilson v. Airborne Health, Inc., et al.) regarding deceptive advertising practices”

    Maybe since it was funded by a settlement on deceptive advertising, the report could use a tip on helping people spot deceptive advertising… now I want to look for CR’s contact info.

  4. #4 fusilier
    July 22, 2011

    I’m not surprised.

    A large portion of CR evaluations are based on surveys, whether it’s which car is most reliable or which point-and-shoot camera is the best.

    Like you, I’ve found that when I happen to know something about a product (bicycles, camping gear) I strongly disagree with the CR story.

    fusilier
    James 2:24

  5. #5 nybgrus
    July 22, 2011

    @yoga cert:

    yoga and tai chi are science everywhere… just like running, cycling, swimming, massage, and a mai tai by the pool are. Exercise and relaxation are science based ways to be more healthy. Increased flexibility, strength, cardiovascular condition, decreased body fat, and decreased cortisol (i.e. stress relief) are all accomplished through these scientifically understood modalities. It isn’t a “healing art” per se, but merely part of our understanding of what it means to be healthy. Nothing mystical about it. Until you add chakras and healing energies to it – then it is woo snuck in through science based clothing.

  6. #6 Dangerous Bacon
    July 22, 2011

    CR does have a history of publishing some consumer ratings (as noted, for car reliability/repair frequency, and also for restaurant chains), but for most products does its own in-house testing, whether it’s on new cars, cameras, vacuum cleaners or (more dubiously) food products like ice cream and peanut butter.

    It strikes me that CR is irresponsible for delegating analysis of health care modalities to popular surveys, but in their eyes what to treat your pain and allergy symptoms with is no more important than considering the reliability of a Ford sedan.

    Since CR has a policy of not permitting businesses to advertise their products’ CR ratings, it’ll be interesting to see what happens when “mind-body” therapists start promoting CR’s survey findings on their websites and in print media ads. If that’s allowed, it should do wonders for CR’s reputation.

  7. #7 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Happy to be put to any test you choose.

    It is no secret that Ashtanga Yoga is the best all round holistic and preventative health care system ever invented. It even has all of western medicine in it’s toolbox.

    Many many thousands of years in the development, all tested on humans over many generations. Bad yoga caused reduced Himalayas biological fitness, good yoga increased it. Evolution itself was the father of our ‘medicine’.

  8. #8 fusilier
    July 22, 2011

    Ashtanga London@7

    Happy to be put to any test you choose.

    It is no secret that Ashtanga Yoga is the best all round holistic and preventative health care system ever invented. It even has all of western medicine in it’s toolbox.

    Many many thousands of years in the development, all tested on humans over many generations. Bad yoga caused reduced Himalayas biological fitness, good yoga increased it. Evolution itself was the father of our ‘medicine’.

    OK, how does yoga deal with bacterial pericarditis?

    30 years ago I was bicycle commuting 15-20 miles/per day, and averaging 50 miles on Saturday and Sunday group rides. My BP was around 100/60 and my resting heart rate was around 50 beats/min (AKA exercise bradycardia.)

    I developed chest pain and severe difficulty breathing, but my EKG was normal.

    Tell me how yoga would a) diagnose the actual problem and b) treat it.

    fusilier
    James 2:24

  9. #9 fusilier
    July 22, 2011

    blockquote fail #8

    sorry

    fusilier
    James 2:24

  10. #10 Surendra Varma
    July 22, 2011

    Generally,people go by experience and not by scientific proof and that is how it should be. This writer has been doing yoga for the last twelve years. I haven’t taken an allopathic medicine in the last 10 years,only Ayurvedic on a couple of occassions.So who cares a damn for scientific proof. Many know it works so they are not bothered about certificates from science.

  11. #11 Patch
    July 22, 2011

    Surendra – when I hear someone say “I haven’t taken western/allopathic medicine in X years” that doesn’t make me think “Wow, sCAM must really work!”. Instead, it simply tells me that you’ve ‘suffered’ with nothing more major than a cold or a tummyache during that time.

    WRT – massage for fibro, of course physical attention is going to help make people with somatisation disorder feel better. That’s hardly rocket science.

  12. #12 Clare
    July 22, 2011

    @ 10
    Lucky you! Personally my partners appendix burst last year and I have to say, we did not even consider yoga, perhaps you could enlighten me which positions and breathing exercises would be helpful under these conditions?

  13. #13 infinidiv
    July 22, 2011

    While there are obviously serious issues with “alternative medicines” due to all the quack that gets spread around and the damage that is done, I disagree with lumping it all in one big pot. Just because “modern medicine” has not found evidence that some of these things work, does not mean that there is none. It depends on the individual, on the condition, on the treatment style etc, etc. I think that methodologies used in science thus far were restricted to that medicine that is least subject to inter-individual variability and confounding variables.

    As science moves into new methodological territories, both experimentally and statistically, I believe that more and more of these “alternatives” will prove to be just as useful as what we today see as the gold standard. But the truly major advances that this will allow, which I think is something that you need to be more open about, is the ability to finally weed out the quack from the useful. Just as some people today lump “alternatives” and give them all a good name, the same can be said about lumping all “alternatives” and giving them a bad name.

    I believe there are biases towards and against both modern and alternative medicine, and good scientists should always be as skeptical of their own view as they are of those of others’.

    Perfect example of the bias I am talking about: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/07/20117313948379987.html

    You know the other side of the bias ;)

  14. #14 Science Mom
    July 22, 2011

    Generally,people go by experience and not by scientific proof and that is how it should be.

    That is exactly how it shouldn’t be lest we throw ourselves back into the dark ages of medicine and allow barbers to wantonly bleed people, basing treatments on the four humours and having some random person in the village assigning themselves the position of surgeon.

    This writer has been doing yoga for the last twelve years. I haven’t taken an allopathic medicine in the last 10 years,only Ayurvedic on a couple of occassions.

    So what? You are an anecdote and those don’t equal data. Your belief in woo doesn’t validate it.

    So who cares a damn for scientific proof. Many know it works so they are not bothered about certificates from science.

    Obviously you don’t and you missed the point of the post. Many of the modalities discussed are evidence-based, thus not alternative and don’t need the trappings of faerie-dust and unicorn farts. I use massage therapy for my muscle injuries because it is the recommended course of treatment by that pesky science of medicine. Pass on the acupuncture.

  15. #15 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 22, 2011

    @Surendra Varma,
    Without scientific proof you don’t know that what you’re doing works. All you have is an opinion – which you’re entitled to, naturally. But wouldn’t it be good to know if what you’re doing actually helps keep you healthy?

  16. #16 JohnV
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga London #7

    “It is no secret that Ashtanga Yoga is the best all round holistic and preventative health care system ever invented.”

    I do believe this is a secret as it’s probably news to a good many of us. So, please, feel free to share your evidence with us. “Argument from antiquity” and “argument from Orient/Occident” aren’t really valid, but I’m sure you have others.

  17. #17 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    To me, the disclaimer: “Respondents based their opinions on personal experience, so the results can’t be compared with scientific clinical trials”
    has about the same meaning as “I’m not racist, I have lots of black friends but…” nothing good ever comes after the dots.

  18. #18 DrWonderful
    July 22, 2011

    @Orac- thank you for being fair to the chiropractors.

  19. #19 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Yes you are correct it has been shown that where injury or illness occurrs, not only does yoga minimise the effects of injury and illness but also, people who do yoga seek medical treatment sooner. Not to mention better success and recovery rates after operations. Anyone who’s ever operated on an obese person will be slowly nodding at this point.

    Yogis will get that lump checked tomorrow, we don’t crack open a bottle of wine and forget about it until it’s big enough to cause pins and needles!

    Prehistorically, the only access you would have to wider medical knowledge was your fellow caveman family. Clearly if you had people still able to perform at age 80, their accumulated medical knowledge would be better than that of tribes people who never lived much past 70. Can’t write it down and pass it on, it’s 1000 BC. We know they were doing it at 1800BC, but no-one wrote it down until just before turn of the millennium. Vedic chanting was ‘good as’ writing for the time before it was written down.

    If you want to know how healthy ashtanga yogis are, find some on facebook and stalk them until you know the score. If you can find a group that are healthier and happier, post it here and I will check it out personally.

    If you can’t fix something with moving, breathing and diet, find the best medic you possibly can and use every knowledge-base at your disposal (ask your best doctor!). That is the rule that real yogis follow.

  20. #20 Militant Agnostic
    July 22, 2011

    Ashtanga London @7

    Bad yoga caused reduced Himalayas biological fitness, good yoga increased it.

    Since the Karakorum range of the Himalayas are the highest mountains in the world, they must have practiced “good yoga”. I am convinced by your cogent argument. I am also impressed by the ability of mountains to hold a pose.

  21. #21 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Sorry fusilier, I hope that answers your questions. Doing yoga means you either don’t develop the pain in the first place, or you notice it and treat it sooner and more successfully.

    You don’t let me tell you what is the best treatment, I don’t tell you, Orac doesn’t tell us. One life is one shot so every medical question is a study in itself and if the patient has any sense he will try to OWN the process in it’s entirety. Trust no-one, full SWOT analysis at every move.

    Of course you will find many fake yogis who don’t work it properly but we are not talking about fake yoga or ‘just stretching’ here.

  22. #22 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga London: I also haven’t really needed “allopathic” medicine in the last decade either, though I have taken the odd Tylonol here and there for minor headaches. Guess what that means? I have the secret to everlasting health? no, I’m just lucky. My wife has the same lifestyle, but has had 3 children in that time, and she is alive today because of science.

  23. #23 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Locklin what’s your point? are you suggesting we all just find a pocket of luck and sit in it to protect our health? That’s the fattest woo so far.

    Yoga is great for fertility and pregnancy too!

  24. #24 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga London: You tried to use your health for the last 10 years as evidence for your Yoga routine, I was simply pointing out the uselessness of that type of anecdote. Yes, physical exercise, stretching, and breathing exercises are excellent for a healthy pregnancy and birth. I know this because there is sufficiently good evidence to support it. It is, however, not sufficient (or rather not related to) the types of complications she had.

  25. #25 Beamup
    July 22, 2011

    If yoga is great for fertility and pregnancy too, then you should have no trouble presenting the evidence demonstrating it to be so. Unsupported assertions don’t have any credibility.

    PMIDs will suffice.

  26. #26 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    That’s it, yoga, like all exercise, is better than nothing, but which is best?

    If you only do 30, 60, 90 or 120 mins of exercise each day, then what is the best set of exercises or the best system to use?

    I’m sorry but I don’t see how a PMID can help you in this situation, can’t you think of a better way to check out ashtanga yoga?

    Put it another way. Are you a virgin? No? Is sex good? Yeah? PMID Please? ;)

  27. #27 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 22, 2011

    That’s it, yoga, like all exercise, is better than nothing, but which is best?

    If you only do 30, 60, 90 or 120 mins of exercise each day, then what is the best set of exercises or the best system to use?

    I’m sorry but I don’t see how a PMID can help you in this situation, can’t you think of a better way to check out ashtanga yoga?

    You ask which exercise system is the best to use, with the clear implication that yoga is that system. Why do you believe that? What evidence do you have that 30 minutes of yoga is better than, say, 30 minutes of running or 30 minutes of calisthenics? Has someone done a study to show this? If not, how can we take the claim seriously?

  28. #28 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Any activity that is based on a function other than strict function as a health system doesn’t count. Running, like sitting and eating too much fried chicken, is considered to be part of the every day wear and tear that yoga addresses.

    You confuse the problem with the remedy. ‘Running’ is not a health system, it’s a survival strategy.

    I will come back to Callisthenics, it deserves it’s own post (and a capital – C).

  29. #29 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtinga, I believe you are outside of your element here. In science, you need to define your terms and provide evidence rather than assertions. First of all, what is the difference between a “function” and a “strict function”? and how does that matter medically?

    As far as your assertions go, we are justified in asking for evidence. People make the same assertions you have about faith healers, magnetic bracelets, and WD40 for arthritis. I do not accept that I have to “try” these health panaceas in order to reject them. Unless you can provide reasonable evidence that Yoga is superior to similar forms of exercise, you have made no sale here.

  30. #30 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    @Licklan, We are way beyond establishing that science hasn’t got a seat on the panel, let alone fit to judge.

    Go amongst those who do the thing and inspect them. Do it amongst ashtangis, then do it amongst any other class of person who does less than 2 hours exercise each day.

    You will not find fitter.

    The challenge is yours. The ashtanga yogi has nothing left to prove :)

  31. #31 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 22, 2011

    So, wait – if someone begins a program of aerobic conditioning using running strictly for its health benefits and not to, say, avoid a hungry tiger or catch a departing bus, that’s not a set of exercises or a system?

  32. #32 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    I should add that running is a terrible comparison to yoga. If the assertion that yoga is better than similar forms of exercise, it should be compared to something that is low-impact, iso-static, low-aerobic and involving large range of motion at joints. Running is the opposite of all those things. The closest thing I can think of would be standard stretching routine combined with a variety of isostatic exercises (chair sits, etc). Perhaps Ashtanga could provide a better example that includes similar exercises, but lacks that special factor that makes yoga superior.

  33. #33 Dedj
    July 22, 2011

    “Running, like sitting and eating too much fried chicken, is considered to be part of the every day wear and tear that yoga addresses.”

    But if you only qualify running as daily wear and tear then you’re potentially missing out on the wider function of running as a medium through which one can affect ‘strict functions’, such as breathing functions (vital volume, tidal volume, rate and endurance), cardiac functions (stroke volume, stroke consistency, pressure and power) muscle function (strength, density, endurance, resistance, tone, defintion), as well as build volition, self-efficacy, perceptual and related cognitive skills, organisation and body image.

    If you can’t even grasp what running (as a form of exercise) is and what it does – why should we believe you’re capable of any deeper analysis?

  34. It is not very fair to boil down chiropractic like that. Claiming that chiropractic is just like physical therapy is not accurate. They share some elements, like treating musculoskeletal disorders, but the approach is different.
    Innova Pain Clinic St George UT

  35. #35 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga, you have a poor understanding of science if you think science can’t evaluate the effectiveness of a fitness routine. What you are describing is called a group-control pseudo experiment. It’s not a true experiment because the groups are self-selected (i.e., you don’t randomly assign people to them, they just happen to already belong to one group or the other). The control group should be a group that is as similar as possible to the yoga group, not just regarding routine duration, but age, gender, affluence, prior medical history, etc. A selection of health criteria need to be selected ahead of time (without which it is tempting to choose criteria that happen to place the yoga group ahead, and ignore others). In science, this type of evidence would be considered poor, but acceptable (unlike anecdote, which has been shown useless time and again). The reason it’s considered poor is because it’s difficult to ensure that the control group is identical on everything other than the yoga teachings and practice. Such psueodo experiments are, however, routinely conducted in science because they are reasonably easy ways to identify effects that are worth funding true experiments.

  36. #36 Dedj
    July 22, 2011

    “Go amongst those who do the thing and inspect them. Do it amongst rugby players/soccer-players, then do it amongst any other class of person who does less than 2 hours exercise each day.

    You will not find fitter.”

    I hope my edit illustrates the point.

    You need to compare like for like in order to have a valid point. That you do not grasp the idea that people who work to improve thier fitness will generally be fitter than those who don’t is rather worrying, especially as you use it as the core of your structurally and logically false arguement.

    Even more worrying is your rather arrogant assertion that you have nothing to prove, as if your mere say-so should be good enough for everyone else.

    Well, it isn’t. Either put up or shut-up and stop wasting our time with your arrogance and ignorance.

    Learn some humility and stop being so emotionally attached to an idea. You’re a really bad advert for Yoga at the minute buddy. You’re the Yoga equivilant of a sports-bore.

  37. #37 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    lol

    Stop trying to split it up into individual measures. It’s too wide-reaching, you can ask 30,000 silly questions and you’ll still be none the wiser until you look at the bodies.

    I’ll give you a clue, google ‘ashtanga pics’.

    I believe that Tai chi is now so far removed from a fighting system that you could consider it to have no function other than health.

  38. #38 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    I found you a picture:

    http://www.porteranddaughters.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/ashtanga-poster.jpg

    Show me a picture of your ‘challenger’ health system and I’ll start taking you seriously.

  39. #39 Sastra
    July 22, 2011

    Licklan, We are way beyond establishing that science hasn’t got a seat on the panel, let alone fit to judge… Go amongst those who do the thing and inspect them.

    Be very, very careful, though. If your inspection is too careful and you start getting objective, rigorous, and analytical, you might end up doing science which, as we know by some means not entirely clear, is not ‘fit to judge.’ Instead, the “challenge” is to do this inspection as a sort of personal vacation where you gather impressions in an easy, breezy, and good-natured way. Enjoy yourself, relax, stop being so critical and let go — jump in, the panel is fine.

    Daniel Dennett sometimes talks about “deepities” — terms or concepts which trade on the ambiguity between two interpretations: one of them true but “trivial” (in the sense of being consistent with reason and science); the other one false but extraordinary. It would probably be useful to look at bit more carefully at what the yogi masters are actually claiming.

    “Deepities” can also be known as the Trojan Horse, or Bait ‘n Switch.

  40. #40 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga, again, you are demonstrating your ignorance of science. The subjective rating of physical fitness by visual inspection would be an excellent scientific measure of the effectiveness of yoga over a comparison group -provided A: it was done by raters who were not aware which bodies belonged two which group, and B: it was included in a group of many other measures (You cannot see cardiovascular disease for example, so you need a variety of measures). Google searching for soft-core does not, however, provide reasonable evidence Yoga is better than exercise in general.

  41. #41 Beamup
    July 22, 2011

    I assert that if you look at people who swim an hour a day, you will find that they are healthier than those who practice yoga.

    There, I’ve just proven you completely wrong, by the same standards you’re using. See why one has to provide actual EVIDENCE for such claims?

  42. #42 viggen
    July 22, 2011

    We are way beyond establishing that science hasn’t got a seat on the panel, let alone fit to judge.

    That just states that you have no argument beyond continuous, blind assertion. After you make a statement like that, it becomes instantly clear that you have no idea what science is and can’t justify why you’re even arguing.

    Good luck peddling that religion of yours.

  43. #43 Composer99
    July 22, 2011

    OMG a poster!!1! Carefully-constructed trials can’t possibly stand up to the might of teh yoga posterz!

    Google searching for soft-core does not, however, provide reasonable evidence Yoga is better than exercise in general.

    I shouldn’t think Google searching for ‘soft-core’ should provide any evidence of Yoga at all… for a few pages of results, anyway. :)

  44. #44 Lawrence
    July 22, 2011

    I can pull up images for any number of fitness center posters, copies of fitness DVD covers, etc, etc, etc. that show incredibly fit people – to use that standard of evidence, I think porn actors & actresses must be the healthiest people on Earth, because Google has shown me how hot they are (and as such, sex workers must be the healthiest people on Earth).

    Wow – who needs evidence when I can have porn?

  45. #45 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    @Beamup, That old chestnut, two problems:

    Swimming is not available to all
    Swimming is lethal.

    Otherwise, looking at those that survive their risky swimming careers and swim 30, 60, 90 or 120 mins a day, yes they are healthier and fitter than ashtanga yogis who don’t also swim.

    However, swimming is potentially lethal and excludes too many people who deserve good health.

    Ever tried to swim for 30 mins in the Himalayas? That’s one experiment that needs no repetition.

  46. #46 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    The poster is so that you can see which ‘shapes’ are held/thrown/moved between when doing 90 mins of the basic therapeutic ashtanga yoga sequence.

    Don’t judge the guy in the poster, I chose it because I’ve never heard of him before. Of course it would take the average person maybe 2 to 10 years to be doing the whole 90 mins as proficiently as the guy in that poster.

  47. #47 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga said “yes they[swimmers] are healthier and fitter than ashtanga yogis who don’t also swim.”

    Ok, so you concede that yoga is simply a good form of exercise, perhaps between running and swimming (with the added benefit of no drownings)? Boy you are a slippery devil. If we are just talking exercise here, mainstream medicine has an excellent handle on the health effects of physical activity. There is nothing “alternative” about it. Moderate exercise has a variety of positive health benefits -to a point.

  48. #48 Nicole
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga swimming is lethal? Talk about fear mongering. Yoga is potentially lethal. In fact, I am relatively certain that my iPad could, potentially, kill me. Do you tell people not to drive to yoga classes, and instead stay home, since driving is the leading cause of accidental death?

  49. #49 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 22, 2011

    Swimming is not available to all

    This is irrelevant to Beamup’s statement.

    Swimming is lethal.

    Patently false. I have been swimming any number of times and have not died. Yoga is equally lethal, as the building you are in can collapse during the session. Don’t get me started on the inherent risks of practicing yoga outdoors.

  50. #50 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    I wouldn’t say swimming was better actually, I wouldn’t be able to choose between the two and I’d love to see some real science comparing the two. I wouldn’t bother comparing anything else until you’ve compared ashtanga yoga and swimming.

    If you think ashtanga is ‘moderate’ exercise then you haven’t seen what ‘ashtanga yoga’ actually is. Maybe you should try youtube unless you can explain to me how a PMID would deal with describing the intensity of a particular exercise regime?

  51. #51 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 22, 2011

    I assert that if you look at people who eat precisely three potato chips a day, you will find that they are healthier than those who practice yoga.

    I assert that if you look at people who power lift every day, you will find that they are healthier than those who practice yoga.

    I assert that if you look at people who drink hard cider every day, you will find that they are healthier than those who practice yoga.

    My asserting such things does not make them true or false, however.

  52. #52 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Ok, forget yoga for a minute, I got a question?

    If you had 30, 60, 90 or 120 mins every day, what is the best exercise and health system to practice?

    You can say swimming if you like but I won’t be happy because I have nowhere where I can safely swim where I live. Anyway, is swimming the best? Is anything better?

  53. #53 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    @Nicole, yes I do suggest that students don’t drive to yoga class. I would rather they walk, cycle, swim, use public transport or to do their yoga at home.

    I can afford to loose a student or two just to keep them off the roads for a couple of extra miles each day (though in all probability they will drive an extra 2 miles to go to a yoga class where the instructor isn’t so anti-cars!).

  54. #54 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    In the health fields, “Moderate exercise” is usually more about duration than intensity. The phrase is used to distinguish the kind of exercise recommended as part of a healthy lifestyle from high level athletics. This is because, while regular exercise provides plenty of health benefits, high level athletes often have unique medical issues due to the intense and repetitive strain they place on their bodies for competition. It is important to disambiguate the two for practical reasons, and was not intended as an insult to your activity.

  55. #55 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga London – Perhaps you aren’t familiar with what “PMID” means. This stands for PubMed Identifier, a unique key to look up a study.

    PubMed comprises more than 20 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.

    Essentially, you’re being asked to provide a published study, preferably peer reviewed, backing up your statements. Studies are done all the time to compare the effectiveness of various exercise regimes, in terms of measurable outcome (lung capacity, endurance, strength, and so on), opinion (how people feel after performing the exercise regimen), and lifestyle changes (how likely are people to continue performing the exercise regimen, how consistently do they perform it, and so on).
    I really can’t understand why you’d think that science is incapable of measuring the effectiveness of exercise.

  56. #56 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    @mephisto, yes I believe that science is entirely capable of measuring ashtanga yoga.

    The problem is, there are a hundred thousand small business which cannot seem to get together and pay for research to prove anything to anyone about their most excellent product. So we rely on word or mouth.

    People do ashtanga, people see that they benefit, and so on. I can’t see how anyone is going to pay for the research, even though it is obviously the best system.

  57. #57 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    re: If you had 30, 60, 90 or 120 mins every day, what is the best exercise and health system to practice?

    For people with health problems, that would be something which minimizes chance of exacerbating the problem. For everyone else, the best answer would probably be whatever that person feels most motivated to do. Compliance is key, and people will continue to do something they enjoy, and that may be yoga, or it may not.

    For myself, I choose a routine that includes low-impact high aerobic exercise, and strength training. Those two goals are best accomplished with two different activities -I swim or cycle for the aerobic exercise, and progressive loading (weight training) for the strength training. Of course I include some stretching before, during and after. Yoga may be fun for some, but I find it boring and would not be motivated to stick with it.

  58. #58 Beamup
    July 22, 2011

    See, that’s the thing. Without the research, you can’t know that it IS the best system. This isn’t some technicality. Humans are VERY bad at judging such things off the cuff – confusing correlation with causation, attributing significance to random variability, etc. Careful science is the only way to answer the question. In other words, your claim that “it is obviously the best system” is entirely unfounded. And almost certainly would be found factually false, given good evidence – simply based on the fact that there are so many possible systems, ANY of which might well be “the best” depending on how one chose to define that nebulous term.

    And let’s please get off the details of swimming – it was just a semi-random form of exercise, not something to get caught up in!

  59. While I might be the outsider in this particular forum, I find it frustrating when detractors choose to confuse the discussion by comparing apples and oranges.

    I don’t understand the need to ask how Yoga will help bacterial endocarditis, or a burst appendix.

    Discussing alternative medicines and yoga in regards to emergency medicine is absolute hogwash, and no person in those fields would argue a yoga move or a chiropractic adjustment would cure a broken bone, or save a person from a heart attack.

    It would be the same as saying good nutrition is bogus because it wouldn’t help a person with gunshot wound.

    To take it a step further, dermatology must be junk science since it they couldn’t help someone with bacterial endocarditis.

    As a chiropractor, I do promote nutrition, exercise, and the ideal bio-mechanics of the spine, and the understanding of superior and ideal health. In the proper context this will make sense to anyone, and allow many sick people to get well.

    If I break my arm I am going to an orthopedic surgeon for a consult, but it doesn’t discount the benefits that my profession provides.

    It is too bad that someone like Locklin doesn’t set up the proper study that would measure the outcomes of said alternatives.

  60. #60 LovleAnjel
    July 22, 2011

    Swimming is lethal?

    *life guard whistle* Everybody get out of the water! Get out of the water NOW!

  61. #61 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    This seems to explain it. Ashtanga yoga induces the ‘flow state’ which makes you better at managing everything in life and that includes your own health.

    https://archive.uky.edu/handle/10225/242

  62. #62 Jarred C
    July 22, 2011

    Is sex good? Yeah?

    I think so. But you might get a different answer if you ask these people:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/734318–the-fourth-sexual-orientation

  63. #63 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    Re: Ashtanga: “People do ashtanga, people see that they benefit, and so on. I can’t see how anyone is going to pay for the research, even though it is obviously the best system.”

    Huh. I would say this is progress. You are still making an unfounded assertion, but it is a naturalistic one (as apposed to a supernatural one, so is testable by science) and it’s within the realm of exercise, rather than the new-age mess you started out with. You may have the opinion that yoga is the “best” exercise system, but their is nothing wrong with being a little biased about your favorite sport/activity, within reason.

  64. #64 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    good nutrition is essential sure. three things that happen when you do yoga:

    Things like soda-pop, factory chicken, alcohol etc start to taste like the toxic muck that they are.
    You fall over less, when you do fall, you hurt less, and then you see a doctor quicker and mend quicker.

    As for bacterial endocarditis i’m guessing it’s a bug, do what we all do! if it’s not gone after 2 days or if blood is coming out, anything nasty, see a doctor or call an ambulance.

    Burst appendix? I don’t know, are ashtanga yogis more or less likely to suffer this? I guess less but I don’t know. I bet when it happens we see a doctor quicker and recover quicker.

  65. #65 Beamup
    July 22, 2011

    That doesn’t explain anything. Just the two most glaring flaws obvious from the abstract, either of which renders it incapable of supporting the conclusion:

    – No control group. If you don’t compare ashtanga yoga to anything else, you can’t conclude that it is superior to anything else. There was apparently some attempt to compare to practices used previously, but this is fundamentally flawed. Naturally people currently practicing something think it’s superior to what they’ve done previously, or else they’d be doing the previous thing instead.
    – Measures an outcome of unknown significance. Does a “flow state” actually improve real outcomes (e.g. risk of cardiovascular disease)?

  66. #66 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    Re: @Ashtanga: “This seems to explain it. Ashtanga yoga induces the ‘flow state’ which makes you better at managing everything in life and that includes your own health. ”

    Awe crap. Scratch my last comment. I had hope.

  67. #67 Beamup
    July 22, 2011

    I do commend you for making the attempt to produce real evidence, though.

  68. #68 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    have you ever been in that flow state?

    It’s real!

  69. #69 Beamup
    July 22, 2011

    Real isn’t particularly my concern. RELEVANT is my concern.

  70. #70 Stu
    July 22, 2011

    Things like soda-pop, factory chicken, alcohol etc start to taste like the toxic muck that they are.

    [Citation needed]

    You fall over less,

    [Citation needed]

    when you do fall, you hurt less,

    [Citation needed]

    and then you see a doctor quicker

    [Citation needed]

    and mend quicker.

    [Citation needed]

  71. #71 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 22, 2011

    Dr. Graeme Gibson, D.C.
    fusilier’s comment was in direct reaction to the statement “It is no secret that Ashtanga Yoga is the best all round holistic and preventative health care system ever invented.” I believe he was point out that the statement was unsubstantiated and overly broad, and he gave an example that would probe the claims about Ashtanga Yoga.
    If you were to claim that “chiropractic is the best all round holistic and preventative health care system ever invented” (which I hasten to note you have not), you too might be asked to back that up.

  72. #72 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    let’s postulate an attempt at visualising a group.

    This group do ashtanga yoga and they believe, rightly or not, that they have found the best health system.

    Being the kind of people who like to be doing the best one, the very next thing any of us does is look for a better system.

    We never find it.

    Ashtanga yoga is like ‘anonymous’. An idea. You cannot measure the power of an idea. We will always have the best system because we are willing to use all systems including our core system.

    If you are unwilling or unable to use a particular medical option then you are at a disadvantage of your own making.

  73. #73 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 22, 2011

    You fall over less

    How do you know how often I fall over?

  74. #74 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    @Graeme Gibson: If you followed this blog more I think you would be surprised at the things some Chiropractors and other “alternative” people claim. The recurring thing here, though, is the “bait and switch.” Sure it’s great that Chiropractors educate people about exercise and good nutrition -those are well established in science as effective. The problem arises when someone tries to co-opt these reasonable sounding ideas as “alternative,” and then start tacking on vitalistic nonsense and ineffective or dangerous treatments. If a yoga teacher claims yoga is amazing exercise, fine, ok, whatever. It’s when that teacher starts making claims that go beyond treating yoga as exercise and start treating it as some sort of health panacea that things start getting unethical and perhaps dangerous.

  75. #75 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Alternative medicine does not exist. All medicine is complimentary to the core therapeutic activities of eating, moving and breathing.

  76. #76 Rev. Bruce Anderson RM
    July 22, 2011

    I worked in Aerospace for 20 years as a radiographer. Science was my profession. I was a production manager and over the years learned that people are not automatons which can be fixed by just applying the right mechanical methods or add the right fluids. I was laided off during a downturn in the industry and studied to be a massage therapist. People are mind body and spirit. Argue science all you want, but science applied to averages of people with whom are “scientifically” are supposed to fit into what heals best.

    I have worked with many clients who come to see me because the “Hard Science” based medicine is not working for them or not working well. Now I am not so woo woo that I tell them not to do conventional medicine; on the contrary the most common question I have is “Have you told your doctor this?”. Hard science sometimes forgets to ask questions in favor of test reports that simple are better looking at removing symptoms instead of discovering causes. Last reports I saw most doctors spend no more than 15 minutes of office time with there clients on the averaged. Believe it or not most people are woo woo. Most people are not “adverage” in all areas. Placebo is not “nothing” since every drug prescribed is designed to mimic a natural action in the body. The brain and organs and glands sends signals back and forth in a concert (un-scientific term) to produce health through a healing process. When this process outpaces pathogens toxins and traumas we call it health, when it falls behind we call it illness.

    The problem we have is when we have non-taditional “hard science” healing discount bedside manners as part of the healing process and CAMs discount very useful heroic medicine that has enhanced healing as a whole. I believe in vaccinations and surgery when needed. The stent in my heart tells me so. But, we are not machines, and healing is a human science full of woo woo whether you like it or not .

    If you are not comfortable with CR stretching into soft science I understand that. If you have a thing against CAMs, that is another thing. Cams have a hard time getting more accurate scientific testing because of the attitude you present in your blog. I myself and many other practitioners of CAM are constantly trying to work with doctors to document more objectively the combine results of our work with medical tests and documentation. The response is generally for the doctors to want more studies before they try new strategies, and you cannot get studies until you try them. Mean while the clients come because they feel heard, and valued. Most hard science medicine see them as a problem to be solved, not a person to be helped in there healing process. My job is to encourage their healing while reminding them to talk to there doctor and not discount their treatments. Sometimes being heard is the best tonic to help a doctor’s treatment.

  77. #77 Rev. Bruce Anderson RM
    July 22, 2011

    I worked in Aerospace for 20 years as a radiographer. Science was my profession. I was a production manager and over the years learned that people are not automatons which can be fixed by just applying the right mechanical methods or add the right fluids. I was laided off during a downturn in the industry and studied to be a massage therapist. People are mind body and spirit. Argue science all you want, but science applied to averages of people with whom are “scientifically” are supposed to fit into what heals best.

    I have worked with many clients who come to see me because the “Hard Science” based medicine is not working for them or not working well. Now I am not so woo woo that I tell them not to do conventional medicine; on the contrary the most common question I have is “Have you told your doctor this?”. Hard science sometimes forgets to ask questions in favor of test reports that simple are better looking at removing symptoms instead of discovering causes. Last reports I saw most doctors spend no more than 15 minutes of office time with there clients on the averaged. Believe it or not most people are woo woo. Most people are not “adverage” in all areas. Placebo is not “nothing” since every drug prescribed is designed to mimic a natural action in the body. The brain and organs and glands sends signals back and forth in a concert (un-scientific term) to produce health through a healing process. When this process outpaces pathogens toxins and traumas we call it health, when it falls behind we call it illness.

    The problem we have is when we have non-taditional “hard science” healing discount bedside manners as part of the healing process and CAMs discount very useful heroic medicine that has enhanced healing as a whole. I believe in vaccinations and surgery when needed. The stent in my heart tells me so. But, we are not machines, and healing is a human science full of woo woo whether you like it or not .

    If you are not comfortable with CR stretching into soft science I understand that. If you have a thing against CAMs, that is another thing. Cams have a hard time getting more accurate scientific testing because of the attitude you present in your blog. I myself and many other practitioners of CAM are constantly trying to work with doctors to document more objectively the combine results of our work with medical tests and documentation. The response is generally for the doctors to want more studies before they try new strategies, and you cannot get studies until you try them. Mean while the clients come because they feel heard, and valued. Most hard science medicine see them as a problem to be solved, not a person to be helped in there healing process. My job is to encourage their healing while reminding them to talk to there doctor and not discount their treatments. Sometimes being heard is the best tonic to help a doctor’s treatment.

  78. #78 Rev. Bruce Anderson RM
    July 22, 2011

    I worked in Aerospace for 20 years as a radiographer. Science was my profession. I was a production manager and over the years learned that people are not automatons which can be fixed by just applying the right mechanical methods or add the right fluids. I was laided off during a downturn in the industry and studied to be a massage therapist. People are mind body and spirit. Argue science all you want, but science applied to averages of people with whom are “scientifically” are supposed to fit into what heals best.

    I have worked with many clients who come to see me because the “Hard Science” based medicine is not working for them or not working well. Now I am not so woo woo that I tell them not to do conventional medicine; on the contrary the most common question I have is “Have you told your doctor this?”. Hard science sometimes forgets to ask questions in favor of test reports that simple are better looking at removing symptoms instead of discovering causes. Last reports I saw most doctors spend no more than 15 minutes of office time with there clients on the averaged. Believe it or not most people are woo woo. Most people are not “adverage” in all areas. Placebo is not “nothing” since every drug prescribed is designed to mimic a natural action in the body. The brain and organs and glands sends signals back and forth in a concert (un-scientific term) to produce health through a healing process. When this process outpaces pathogens toxins and traumas we call it health, when it falls behind we call it illness.

    The problem we have is when we have non-taditional “hard science” healing discount bedside manners as part of the healing process and CAMs discount very useful heroic medicine that has enhanced healing as a whole. I believe in vaccinations and surgery when needed. The stent in my heart tells me so. But, we are not machines, and healing is a human science full of woo woo whether you like it or not .

    If you are not comfortable with CR stretching into soft science I understand that. If you have a thing against CAMs, that is another thing. Cams have a hard time getting more accurate scientific testing because of the attitude you present in your blog. I myself and many other practitioners of CAM are constantly trying to work with doctors to document more objectively the combine results of our work with medical tests and documentation. The response is generally for the doctors to want more studies before they try new strategies, and you cannot get studies until you try them. Mean while the clients come because they feel heard, and valued. Most hard science medicine see them as a problem to be solved, not a person to be helped in there healing process. My job is to encourage their healing while reminding them to talk to there doctor and not discount their treatments. Sometimes being heard is the best tonic to help a doctor’s treatment.

  79. #79 Beamup
    July 22, 2011

    Again, an argument that may be applied equally well to any other form of exercise such as (picking a different semi-random example this time) Tai Chi. Obviously Tai Chi is superior to any form of yoga, because its practitioners would switch if it weren’t.

  80. #80 Todd W.
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga London

    You never find the best because you think you have already found it. You may, of course, be wrong. That’s where science comes in.

    If you are…unable to use a particular medical option then you are at a disadvantage of your own making.

    How so? If someone is born with, say, a malformed limb that prevents them from doing yoga, how is their inability to use yoga of their own making?

  81. #81 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 22, 2011

    Being the kind of people who like to be doing the best one, the very next thing any of us does is look for a better system.

    We never find it.

    What criteria are you using? How would you know a better system if you saw it?

  82. #82 Locklin
    July 22, 2011

    @Graeme Gibson: Also, especially regarding Chiropractic therapy, the research has already been done -and it’s typically not great.

    @Astanga: let’s postulate an attempt at visualising a group. That group has a belief. The belief is reinforced by congregating together and supporting one-another’s beliefs. Due to human nature, the group looks for supportive evidence of the idea and ignores weakness. That group tries to spread the idea and meets some resistance -the group feels vindicated that it must be a powerful idea. That group is Christianity, err, I mean Islam, err, I mean wicens, err 911 truthers, err… um. you get the point.

  83. #83 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 22, 2011

    let’s postulate an attempt at visualising a slightly different group.

    This group goes out curling and they believe, rightly or not, that they have found the best sport.

    Being the kind of people who like to be doing the best one, the very next thing any of us does is look for a better sport.

    We never find it.

    Curling is like ‘anonymous’. An idea. You cannot measure the power of an idea. We will always have the best sport because we are willing to play all sports including our core sport.

    If you are unwilling or unable to play a particular sport then you are at a disadvantage of your own making.

  84. #84 the bug guy
    July 22, 2011

    The problem is, there are a hundred thousand small business which cannot seem to get together and pay for research to prove anything to anyone about their most excellent product. So we rely on word or mouth.

    Considering that the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine spends over $110 million per year on research, the excuse of no money for research on your particular claims falls completely flat.

    The burden of proof is on the claimnant.

  85. #85 JayK
    July 22, 2011

    Flow state was a psychological fad term used by those trying to identify states of mind that occur for many elite athletes. It went out of favor almost a decade ago.

    My wife is a certified yoga instructor that also has a PhD in cognitive science yet she’ll make many of the same mistakes that Ashtongue London has attempted to make. Lack of evidence while making claims that far outreach the actual benefits of yoga, just like all alt-med wooists.

    Did you even read the study you linked to, Ashtongue? Did you look at the references? What you did would be considered plagiarism in the scientific publication community.

  86. #86 Jarred C
    July 22, 2011

    Yoga is the best, huh? I always thought jujitsu was, at least for me. Not only does it give me all the benefits that you’ve already applied to yoga, it also has the added bonus of personal interaction with other people (You can’t practice jujitsu by yourself, at least not effectively). And I can defend myself if the situation arises!

    So obviously my system is better than yours, and if you don’t think so, then you are at a disadvantage of your own making.

  87. #87 Gopiballava
    July 22, 2011

    Ashtanga London is somewhat correct, Ashtanga Yoga is the best system. However, it only works properly when you perform it in the morning in winter and the afternoon in summer.

    If you perform it outside of these times, it is actually harmful. Luckily, it is so powerful in healing that as long as you perform some Ashtanga Yoga at the right time you’ll survive.

  88. #88 Jarred C
    July 22, 2011

    Gopiballava, in fact, it is so powerful that it fills you with positive energy, thereby turning you into a mummy! Remember, folks, mummies are the only undead with positive healing energy. (Obscure?)

  89. #89 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Gopiballava what goes wrong if you do ashtanga at the wrong times? The traditional 5 or 6 times a week at whatever time of morning or later suits, is what most seem to settle on.

    I’ve never heard ‘morning in winter, afternoon in summer’ before? Where do you get it from please?

  90. #90 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    @Todd

    Ashtanga yoga is for anyone who can breath. I’ve seen a lady do everything on that poster with no feet.

    I know of a teacher who gets his students to do sun salutations one handed, no-handed, and one-footed just to illustrate the point that anyone can do it.

  91. #91 Roadstergal
    July 22, 2011

    I do cardiovascular and weight-bearing exercise ~5x/week, with stretching. I’m in excellent health and haven’t had to see a doctor in ages for anything other than regular checkups and one broken ankle (race injury) a few years ago. (There’s some luck involved there, of course, but I stack the deck in my favor as much as I can, using interventions that have been demonstrated to increase many short- and long-term aspects of general health.)

    See? Science-based interventions can give anecdotes just as lovely as interventions involving chakras and mysticism and all that other bullshit.

    And unlike the bullshit, we can show they work beyond the unreliability of anecdote.

    people go by experience and not by scientific proof and that is how it should be.

    You’re really unclear on the concept of science, aren’t you? Take a look at the above. A handful of self-selected people can toss anecdotes of how frikkin’ healthy we are back and forth at each other all day, but we won’t know for sure what works and what doesn’t unless we:
    -Evaluate the plausibility of interventions based on what we know about the natural world (e.g. homeopathy breaks some fundamental laws of physics and chemistry, so it’s right out).
    -Compare interventions in the manner that gives us the greatest confidence that any differences observed between the outcomes of the interventions are genuine, and due to the interventions themselves.

    There’s a lot of detail-devils tied up in those two, but that’s the basics. I’m a hippie peacenik West-Coast vegetarian, but I don’t sit around getting baked and talking about the importance of ‘eastern mysticism.’ A good thing, too – my ‘eastern’ scientist co-workers would probably laugh.

    Yoga is a terrible exercise modality for me – it bores me to an extent almost as lethal as swimming.

  92. #92 Todd W.
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga London

    You’re being way too literal. My point was, suppose that someone is born with some physical condition which prevents them from doing a particular exercise regimen, whether it be yoga, swimming, tai chi, curling, etc. How is their inability to do the particular exercise regimen of their own making?

  93. #93 Jarred C
    July 22, 2011

    Todd,

    You’re being way too literal.

    Obviously he is, as evident by his taking of Gopiballava’s comment literally. Apparently, his yoga prevents him from understanding satire.

    (Does that count as a negative aspect of yoga?)

  94. #94 Gopiballava
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:

    If you read the Atharvaveda in Sanskrit, and focus on auspicious celestial bodies, it’s pretty obvious.

    When you perform yoga at the wrong time, some of the astrological alignments emphasize Kali, which can be harmful. Luckily, we’re only at the beginning of Kail Yuga, so you’ll only be *slightly* aligned towards Kali. I’d estimate that mis-aligned Ashtanga Yoga is harmful at about 1/20 the rate that correctly aligned Yoga is good.

    In other words: If you are half wrong and half right:
    0.5 * 1 – 0.5/20 = 0.475 as much positive kriyamana as you would get if you were properly aligned.

    So, most people don’t really notice it.

    As we get further into Kali Yuga, it will get a *lot* worse, and a lot harder to align properly. By the end of Kali Yuga, you’ll have about 15 minutes/day you can safely perform Yoga.

  95. #95 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    @JayK Is it experienced outside of the athletic elite and ashtanga yogis? I have had the same ‘flow state’ from dancing or aerobic exercise very occasionally but never as strongly or as reproducibly as is possible with the yoga.

    Did they measure any ‘brain waves’ of these elite athletes when in ‘flow state’? I’d love to see some science on that, and if I can’t understand it maybe a bit of help too!

    Ashtanga yoga is better because it is:

    Any old exercise + flow state + 3 body tricks found in no other system of ‘any old exercise’.

    Unless you find another exercise that does all this better, or does all this the same and more…

  96. #96 Gopiballava
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:

    Measuring flow state via brain waves? Seems very unreliable. EEG machines can’t pick up subtle energies. Perhaps they’re good for telling novices that they’re moving in the correct direction – EEGs can definitely measure gross material energy of course, but once a yogi has really reached the right state only somebody on the spiritual plane can detect it.

    I’d be very interested in seeing any research papers you have read on that.

  97. #97 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    @Gopiballava what does it mean if someone is told to practice in the mornings at all thims, but then they always find themselves practising as the Atharvaveda proscribes, ie. in the afternoons in summertime?

    Maybe coincidence. I’m keeping a suspicious mind with regard to chakras and the like. Not measurable so can’t be talked about scientifically!

  98. #98 Gopiballava
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:

    Health effects of this form are most definitely measurable!

    Can you direct me to your references for the health improvements of your version of Ashtanga Yoga?

  99. #99 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Gopiballava you need to find the Mysore style self practice ashtanga yoga from Pattabhi Jois. Self practice is key. DVD won’t work so well, led classes do not work so well (but are fun!).

    If you want to read, read Patanjali yoga sutras I guess. Anything that is worth knowing about yoga will be revealed to you by the physical system of moving and breathing itself.

    The practice is it’s own reference. Do it and you’ll recognise it for what it is.

    Yoga pre-dates writing. Imagine that. Science done across many generations and all preserved in the form of evolving forms and chanting.

  100. #100 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Wiki is incorrect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashtanga_Vinyasa_Yoga#Higher_level_practices_within_Ashtanga

    Bandha and Drishti are not higher level practices, they are for everyone and should always be introduced on the very first lesson.

  101. #101 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Gopiballava I’ve been reading about your http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atharvaveda

    3200 year old antibiotic lichen use!

  102. #102 gopiballava
    July 22, 2011

    @ashtanga:

    Revealed only to people after practicing it themselves? Sorry, that isn’t science.

  103. #103 kd
    July 22, 2011

    Respondents based their opinions on personal experience, so the results can’t be compared with scientific clinical trials. And our results do not take into account the power of the placebo effect, the tendency of people to find even simulated or sham interventions helpful.

    Funny, sounds a lot like…

    “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

  104. #104 Therrin (Ben S)
    July 22, 2011

    I’ve found that for areas I have some prior knowledge (child restraints), the results CR gives are at best poorly reasoned, and at worst deliberately misleading. Non-repeatable findings are not significant.

  105. #105 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Yoga for cancer? http://ons.metapress.com/content/3p82035477084228/

    Don’t ask me if that’s good science but maybe someone can tell me?

  106. #106 Adrian W.
    July 22, 2011

    Wasn’t yoga (the exercise aspect of it, anyway) basically made up out of whole cloth sometime in the 1950s?

  107. #107 herr doktor bimler
    July 22, 2011

    Wasn’t yoga (the exercise aspect of it, anyway) basically made up out of whole cloth sometime in the 1950s?

    Sadly, yes. The authority on pre-1950s yoga would be Eliade’s book — written after several years of first-hand experience — which describes yoga as a spiritual discipline, designed to liberate one’s mind from the demands of physical existence. So when Eliade was writing, yoga was ascetic, and quite damaging to the body… by overcoming the reluctance of your body to move into a posture for which it was not designed, and by holding that posture despite increasingly urgent pain signals, you acquired spiritual strength.

    But there is never a shortage of dingbats who see something shiny in other cultures and are willing to appropriate it to serve their own obsessions. This happens a lot on colonial history. Once Westerners have stolen all the physical resources from a colonised country, then they move on to stealing the cultural resources. Hence modern-day “yoga”.

    Of course there’s no law against making up an exercise regime and calling it yoga. For all I care, someone can take the 14 Stations of the Cross, turn each one into a muscle-stretching posture, and pretend that Catholic spiritual disciplines were really health-minded fitness programs. No laws against it, only a sense of intellectual honesty and common decency.

    But when someone claims that their version of yoga is “Many many thousands of years in the development, all tested on humans over many generations”, that’s when they’re full of crap.

  108. #108 Venna
    July 22, 2011

    I grew up in a chiropractic family, and I mean that literally. Grandpa, both uncles and several cousins were chiropractors and they kept trying to persuade my dad to go to school for it, but he had more sense then to believe their claims that chiropractic could cure anything. They made a lot of money and held that over my dad’s head because my dad was unemployed most of my life.

    I had heard some strange claims made by them and when I questioned how they can make those claims, even as a little child in grade school, because it didn’t make sense how cracking someone’s back and neck could cure a cold or help with menstrual cramps, I was given useless claims that everything in the body is connected to the brain through the spine therefore a healthy spine meant a healthy body. Essentially just something that sounds like it should make sense, a two plus two equals four equation. It never made sense to me, but when I had a problem with my back or neck (whiplash from a car accident) I didn’t have an objection to the care they could provide me.

    My grandpa had some strange ideas aside from just the chiropractic could cure anything, he also believed any sickness would run it’s course faster by drinking concord grape juice. Most of my siblings and I can’t stand concord grape juice now because we all associate it with being sick. He also kept an ongoing litany that chiropractic care would cure my older brother of cerebral palsy, and brought him to his office twice a week for adjustments. Unfortunately, my brother believed it and my mom did also and so didn’t pursue the medical interventions that could have really helped him. I often heard shouts in my house that the medical establishment was evil and scare tactics used on my brother that if he sought care from medicine, they would cut off his legs and put him in a wheel chair.

    At nearly 46, my brother still has cerebral palsy. Of course my grandpa died in February 1991 and my brother had left AZ, where my grandpa and the rest of the chiro-clan was living, to move with my family up here to Oregon where I was. Possibly that lack of chiropractic care after coming to Oregon is why he still has cerebral palsy? After experiencing chiropractic care most of my childhood and then experiencing physical therapy during and after my fifth pregnancy, I much preferred the results I got from physical therapy, it didn’t hurt to have it done and it produced lasting effects that I could feel in the elimination of pain and numbness in certain places. Chiropractic care always made me feel beaten and bruised after it was performed, where physical therapy left me feeling relaxed, but rejuvenated at the same time.

  109. #109 Krebiozen
    July 22, 2011

    My mother found yoga kept her joints flexible, though her local church warned her she was meddling with Dark Forces (I kid you not). She kept it up for years but then she suffered a major stroke. Maybe it was the wrong kind of yoga. I do sometimes wonder whether if she had taken up something a little more cardiovascularly challenging she might be alive today.

  110. #110 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    There’s a flaw with chiropractics. If the problem is in the spine then how did you get a problem spine? It’s either down to the way you’ve been moving (and to a lesser extent, eating) or it’s down to inheritance (of what your succession of ancestors moved or ate like).

    Ashtanga yoga pulls your spine into shape and re-educates your movement habits so that your every movement becomes one that strengthens and forgives the spine.

  111. #111 Roadstergal
    July 22, 2011

    Actually, all of the troubles with your spine come from imbalances in your ears. Ancient tribes have been piercing their ears for thousands of years to achieve proper head balance. I know this is true – after having had my ears pierced by professionals, I have had a distinct reduction in seasonal sickness, and after upgrading to 0 gauge in the lobes, I haven’t had as much as a cold. A healthy spine is all in the ears!

  112. #112 Gopiballava
    July 22, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:

    I believe that yoga helps you spiritually, not physically. Muscle strength is something that is objectively measurable. Can you point me to the scientific research that supports your claim that spinal strength is increased?

  113. #113 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    @Gopiballava have you even heard of Uḍḍīyāna Bandha?

    You only need a description of it to know that it increases spinal strength better than exercising without it.

    Doing Ashtanga without Uddiyana is dangerous.

    Pilates employs an inferior version of Uddiyana.

  114. #114 Chris
    July 22, 2011

    Ashtanga London, why should we believe you?

  115. #115 guinness
    July 22, 2011

    More fundamental than this debate, is a fault in both underlying the survey article and in the mostly well-stated critique. A logically outrageous tendency exists – and has existed for a long time – in assessing medical or health treatments; namely the lumping together of a multitude of conditions under one heading. For example: “back pain.” Seriously? Back pain can include a broken spine, herniated disk, with impingement on a nerve root or not, bulging disks, syrinx, abscess, arachnoiditis, sore muscles, torn tendons, a bullet lodged in the spine, and on and on. I am truly angered and disgusted at analysis that may refer, for example, to “80% of persons reporting back pain” were helped (or not helped) by xyz treatment or therapy. In the 1980s and 1990s the insurance industry sponsored sham articles in medical and other journals to promote the idea that surgery was unnecessary because 80% of persons with back pain got better with no treatment at all. Now, we evaluate whether chiropractic treatment or medication is effective on x% of persons with back pain. This is purely stupid. IF one has a serious collapse of the spine (as with degenerative disk disease or compression fracture) it is a world of difference from a person who has strained her back lifting, and they are both a world of difference from the person who has actually torn a tendon or muscle from its attachment by lifting or twisting.
    To even discuss how a treatment or even placebo affects all of these as “back pain” is meaningless… but it is also an assault on logic.
    The other generalities are just as logically irrelevant… but this rant is long enough.

  116. #116 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    @Chris

    That’s the only question you need to ask.

    You shouldn’t. What kind of yoga teacher would I be if I told you to believe anything a yoga teacher tells you? Most of them don’t know how to discern yoga reality from yoga story anyway.

    The proof is in the damn pudding, how many times do I have to spell it out?

    You’re welcome to save your money and get the research done if you’re not sure. It’s a lot cheaper just to find a proper teacher, learn it, and have complete understanding of what I’m telling you within 3 months.

  117. #117 Chris
    July 22, 2011

    Ashtanga London, then I shall ignore you, and I encourage everyone else to do the same.

  118. #118 Ashtanga London
    July 22, 2011

    Chris, relax.

  119. #119 Chris
    July 22, 2011

    [rolleyes]

  120. #120 kelian
    July 22, 2011

    RE inability to swim as exercise because you’ll freeze to death: There are no indoor swimming pools along the range of the Himalayas?

    This seems… dubious… to me.

  121. I used to do Ashtanga yoga when I lived in Sydney, and I’ll agree that it’s a good exercise routine. It’s considerably more active than most other forms, with things like jumping between poses and lots of continuous movement. So unlike most yoga varieties, it gets you some aerobic effect, as well as all the nice stretching and flexibility and strength benefits.

    Just FYI, I’m certainly not supporting the ridiculous grandstanding about teh bestest EVAH!

  122. #122 Gopiballava
    July 22, 2011

    Ashtanga London is right in principle about the importance of finding a teacher, but forgot to mention that you need to find a teacher that understands how to modify the system to match the astrological influence of Kali Yuga. If you don’t do that, you are putting your health at serious risk. This is really obvious to anybody who’s read the Vedas and Upanishads in Sanskrit.

  123. #123 lilady
    July 23, 2011

    @ guinness: Your posting is not a rant and is not long enough. Thank you for bringing your points to the table; many of these postings are debating the merits of alternative treatments when the subject at hand is the appropriateness of Consumer Reports “conducting a survey” about use of alternative treatments.

    IMO, no matter how many disclaimers issued by Consumer Reports about the very loose survey guidelines, they did a disservice to their subscribers by stepping into this arena. And, I do foresee how alternative/CAM practitioners and the purveyors of supplements will use the survey to their advantage as the ultimate marketing tool.

    What’s next for Consumer’s Reports…how about a Quinnipiac or Pew-type poll to survey readers about their candidate preference in the next presidential election? Tacky!

  124. #124 augustine
    July 23, 2011

    Ignorant of arrogance nurse from the science based medicine 1940’s.

    IMO, no matter how many disclaimers issued by Consumer Reports about the very loose survey guidelines, they did a disservice to their subscribers by stepping into this arena.

    Nobody cares about your opinion accept your new lonely friend veeena and a few others scientism adherents. Your career failed. There is no way you can ever prove that you ever prevented even one disease and you’ll just keep denying that you ever caused any harm. It’s a bias, I know.

    Luckily you’ll never cause brain damagage to anyone else with a hypodermic needle and bluff them that you are saving their life. Do you realize how impossible it is to prove a negative? Do you?
    It must be science based medicine though. It has to be. You have to feel good about yourself somehow. Keep dreaming if that makes you feel good about yourself. To bad it’s not science.

  125. #125 lilady
    July 23, 2011

    Augie, must you comment..like clockwork…immediately after me?

    I’ve told you repeatedly that I am not your mommy…here for you to work out your animus directed to the real unfortunate woman who gave birth to you. And, cut out the crap with Venna…such behavior is totally unsolicited, unwarranted, not clever and only serves to lower our already low opinion of your character.

    Really, think seriously about getting some help…you are sinking fast into your imaginary world where you are the imaginary intelligent, educated, erudite scientist…pathetic.

  126. #126 augustine
    July 23, 2011

    Lilady

    And, cut out the crap with Venna…such behavior is totally unsolicited, unwarranted, not clever and only serves to lower our already low opinion of your character.

    Can a science blogger not take care of herself? Why The mommy protection?

    I know why. And you know why. As long as you continue to be crass and arrogance with your posts, I will keep up the same. I’m just a mirror of you. Venna is not off limits just like Jenny McCarthy, Mercola, Null, etc., is not off limits to you. Let her low IQ irrationalaties fend for herself. If she were respectful herself then she would be treated with respect. Grace period is over.

  127. #127 Artor
    July 23, 2011

    This has been a fun thread to read through. I have to wonder if Gopiballava is trolling Ashtanga. Ash clearly has no idea of how science works, and keeps throwing out personal anecdotes, expecting everyone to just say, “Oh, well I’m convinced then…” Gopi’s insistence on the importance of astrology in conjunction with yoga is what clued me in. Nobody who reads Scienceblogs could possibly be dumb enough to really believe that. Right…?

  128. #128 augustine
    July 23, 2011

    Lilady

    Augie, must you comment..like clockwork…immediately after me?

    Must YOU?

    The evidence shows that your time frame is tighter than mine?

    12:25 to 12:55 compared to your comment to 12:55 @ 1:06.

    You are no better than an “Augie”. Are you stalking me?

  129. #129 lilady
    July 23, 2011

    Ugh Troll as I mentioned to you on previous occasions; if your real mommy told you that your severe mental derangement, your deplorable lack of any education, your inability or unwillingness to stop sponging on society and become gainfully employed and your creepy anti-social behavior is caused by vaccine injury…she lied.

    Get a job

    Get off the dole

    Get a life

    Stop your stalking behaviors

  130. #130 Gopiballava
    July 23, 2011

    @Artor:

    Do not underestimate an intelligent person’s ability to compartmentalize and rationalize beliefs. I was recently reading posts on a forum of Thomasts – believers in the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. They were espousing the “sophisticated theology” that Dawkins speaks of. They were very good, and had really gotten into some deep and sophisticated philosophy. Which they used to derive the Truth of the resurrection and the immorality of homosexuality.

    Regarding Scienceblogs readers: augustine is a regular poster. So is Th1Th2 (You can find her in the archives). There is no minimum level of coherent thought needed to post here it seems.

  131. #131 Artor
    July 23, 2011

    Gopiballava, you have simultaneously missed my sarcasm & illustrated my point. Thank you…or are you still trolling? If so, you’re good!

  132. #132 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    I did wonder about you Gopiballava, do you really know Sanskrit?

    If ‘Paschimottanasana’ means to sit on the floor touching your toes, what do you call the same position when the yogi is facing upwards, balancing on his buttocks?

    Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana

    or

    Urdhva Mukha Paschimattanasana

    And Why?

    If you speak Sanskrit as you say you do you should be able to answer this easily and give us it the devangeri and in english.

  133. #133 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    @Kelian (118)

    Absolutely. How many of the world’s population have reasonable access to swimming? Less than half is my guess. Whatever, even if it’s 99%, I wanna know what the other 1% are gonna do to keep up?

    @CathTheCook

    Good to hear it! Can you vouch for the ‘flow state’? Did you ever get in it?

    Quick checklist if I may please?
    Did you self-practice (without a crib sheet)?
    Did you do Ujayyi breath?
    Did you do Mula Bandha?
    Did you do Uddiyana Bandha?
    Did you do Drishti?
    How long did you do it for (Duration each day)?
    How many times a week?
    How many months / years did you practice for?
    Optional – why did you take the break that you are currently having?

    Namaste :)

  134. #134 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Hi lilady no-one is suggesting that yoga cures cancer but does it slow it down? Does it prevent a little bit of it maybe? Help me out please, what is the outcome (in life expectancy) in cancer patients for:

    No treatment and a belief that cancer will kill me?
    No treatment and a belief that prayers will save me?
    Placebo, and a belief that placebo will save me?
    The best that conventional medicine has to offer, and belief that it will save me?
    The best that conventional medicine has to offer, and belief that it will kill me?

    Me, I would opt for Yoga, prayers and conventional medicine if I had cancer! Thank god I never have and hope I never do.

  135. #135 Jarred C
    July 23, 2011

    This Ashtunga person reminds me of the ex-military homeopathy guy who occasionally visits. There’s never any evidence provided, except personal anecdotes (which trumps all other anecdotes), and it’s all: “try it for yourself to see how it works!” whenever the issue is pressed.

    Pathetic, really.

  136. #136 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    kelian you misunderstand me. This is a silly example but it’s just for numbers:

    Autism rate is 1 in 100.
    We get 2000 women doing ashtanga yoga and only 1 of them has an autistic child instead of the expected 20.

    That would suggest to me that ashtanga reduced risk of autism but what would it say to a scientist like you?

  137. #137 Venna
    July 23, 2011

    @lilady

    Thanks for getting my back. It’s obvious that augustine has something about the two of us since he finds any reason to be as rude and disrespectful as he can to us any chance he can get. Perhaps this is his only way of getting feminine attention? It’s been my experience though, that a person will accuse another of their own sins, therefore everything augustine has said about you and me, or anyone else for that matter, is what he really feels about himself and that makes me sad for him. He resorts to grade school playground tactics trying to hurt or humiliate people and only humiliates himself because we have all out grown that mentality and we all just see him as pathetic and sad. I pity you, augustine, because you really don’t have any clue how to have a civilized conversation with anyone about anything. You always have to pull out the insults and start flinging fecal matter. But ya know, it doesn’t hurt us, it’s actually entertaining for a little while, like watching the monkeys at the zoo. But eventually everyone has to leave the primate house. What will you do when you no longer have an audience laughing at you? Perhaps you should rethink your life and, well I don’t know, maybe try to find one that consists of more then playing the ‘my dad can beat up your dad’ card. It’s tiresome and boring *yawn*. On that note, I’m off to sleep. Take care all and see ya tomorrow!

  138. #138 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    @Jarred, why do you have homeopathy? I can think of better ways to get your placebo health boosts.

    Of course if you do a set of exercises and you believe in them then you will get the full placebo effect. I wonder if skeptics get as much benefit from doing yoga simply because of our ability to turn the placebo effect on and off.

    One thing’s for sure, homeopathy and acupuncture are nothing more than placebo.

    I’m trying to find a piece of research about how thinking about exercise is half as effective as doing the exercise itself! Do you know that one?

  139. #139 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    @ lillady, I’ll take it that my enthusiastic list of questions was not in your area of expertise then? I’ve had medical emergencies, I know what sane people do in those situations. You seem to think you are the only person who’s not feeble-minded.

    I spend 30 mins learning about statistics and I’ve scared you already?

  140. #140 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Think yourself fitter? So the ‘top’ top athletes must be the ones who obsess about exercise and even dream about it?

    http://drdavidhamilton.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Red-Aug-09.pdf

    It says Harvard 2008 but isn’t much more help in providing a reference.

    If that study is right, what are the implications?

  141. #141 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    I’ve googled it and read it now, my bad, I thought you were being stuffy and using the technical term for a tummy bug but it’s not it’s a heart infection: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infective_endocarditis#Bacterial

    It says antibiotics is the treatment. It also says it affects IV drug users and I know that ashtanga can be effective in helping people to stop using drugs so indirectly yoga may prevent Infective endocarditis.

    (lol – I thought ‘endo’ meant ‘stomach’!)

  142. #142 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Qualifies me as a willing beginner, shows you up as a mean and unwilling teacher, imo.

  143. #143 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Why didn’t you just say MRSA in the heart? I’d have understood that? You need to work out how to speak to non-experts.

  144. #144 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Ok kelian lets try:

    I claim that ashtanga yoga can reduce working days lost due to back injury.

    I want to know for 99.9% sure, how much is it going to cost to do the research? How many people are needed for the study that I would need to pay for to get it done? How long would we have to follow the subjects for? 2 years? 10 years?

    I want to get a feel for how much cost and effort is involved in trying to get more scientific data on yoga. If it looks achievable then maybe I could start a charity for it?

  145. #145 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    yes kelian Ashtanga Yoga definitely helps people to manage their sleep patterns and energy levels better. Well spotted!

    I’m not in the Himalayas I’m in London, hence the name.

    If you think my name is an attempt to obscure my true location I think you are probably a tiny bit over careful. Paranoid even. What’s the difference between sceptical and paranoid?

  146. #146 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Whatever Kelian, I really don’t know where you got the Tai Chi guy from.

    I’ve lived my whole adult life in the UK and I’ve usually needed to travel for 30 mins or more to get to a swimming pool. That’s an hour round trip so the 30, 60, 90 or 120 mins of exercise becomes 90, 120, 150 or 180 mins. That’s beyond the realms of what you can fit into a normal routine with a job or other commitments.

    What’s more, there is a culture of encouraging and facilitating swimming in the UK, no one needs persuading.

    Yoga works, it needs science to give it more credibility and visibility.

  147. #147 kelian
    July 23, 2011

    Absolutely. How many of the world’s population have reasonable access to swimming? Less than half is my guess.

    That’s not very likely, since people need water to live and tend to cluster near large water sources. Even in deserts people build outdoor swimming pools. Indoor ones would be cheaper in terms of water use, since they wouldn’t evaporate as quickly.

    And again, earlier you said there weren’t any outdoor swimming pools because it was too cold. Makes sense, but I highly doubt there are absolutely no indoor ones. And you can’t be in that remote a location, since you speak English and have a reliable internet connection (and, I can’t help but notice, post largely in North American daylight hours.)

  148. #148 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Swimming can be difficult for some people. Where no secluded pools are available and private swimming pools are not very common for example. I think that’s the case for many in mountainous regions of India and possibly the Americas too.

    What about people who cannot share a pool with others or who cannot get to the pool unassisted but can get to a yoga room or make a space to do yoga in their own room?

    Dude I’ve been posting less than 24 hrs (i haven’t checked exactly, please no pedants!) so is it ‘scientific’ to begin drawing conclusions about my time-zone, especially on Friday night/Sat morning!

  149. #149 kelian
    July 23, 2011

    Those have still got to be far less than 50% of the world’s population.

    I have no doubt that somewhere in Tibet there’s a monk who speaks English, practices traditional meditations and exercises, lives in the cold regions, and when his connection is working, gets in edit wars on Wikipedia (“Ladysunhawke12 reversed my edits on deep breathing AGAIN! I have ten minutes before the gong goes off!” And he types furiously, the folds of his robes shaking with the force of his fingers.)

    It would be awesome to meet him. But I don’t think I have. He wouldn’t be that interested in spending all of Friday night and Saturday morning vaguely arguing with skeptics. (And he’d probably be a Tai Chi practitioner.)

  150. #150 lilady
    July 23, 2011

    @ Ashtanga London: You call that a scientific study? Hardly?

    It does have a ring of familiarity to it, though. It, or a similar one, was discussed here a while back.

    Thinking yourself thinner, fitter and visualizing yourself healthier are all variations of guided imagery…which has been proven to not work.

    In the case of visualizing your self healthier especially with a potential lethal cancer diagnosis, it, at a minimum sets the patient up for grave disappointment or even worse, has the patient questioning why (when it was “supposed to work”…didn’t it work)…something in my character, etc.

    This too, is a theme that is prevalent in prayers offered up for recovery…when they don’t work…”am I unworthy, why didn’t God save me?”

    I don’t mean to attack any religious beliefs as faith is important for many people and shouldn’t be held up as a “test of the strength of that faith” and “imminent death” is the confirmation of God’s displeasure with you…not good thoughts to have when you leave this life.

    Certain people do find specific exercises to be relaxing…but they are only that and not a panacea for physical illness or a substitute for good medical care and needed prescribed medicine.

    It is unseemly that the editors of a respected magazine conducted this survey. It doesn’t remotely meet any of the criteria for a scientific study. It is a known fact that those who have firmly held beliefs in any alternative/CAM treatments will be the ones who respond, thus greatly skewing the results.

  151. #151 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    It’s been a really worthwhile distraction for me. Behind the scenes I’ve been finding the terminology for the problem:

    As sceptics, you have to look at the effect size and the statistical power of the study.

    For the individual practitioner (i.e. me) all that matters is effect size.

    What is beyond me is how you would go about investigating the effect of yoga on a particular condition (how can you double-blind it?).

    How many subjects need to do yoga to see if it is better or worse than placebo or running for the treatment of cancer or depression or back pain or autism?

    And how many to know if yoga can prevent a certain condition? How many healthy people need to do it to be able to tell if it has an effect? If it effects 1%, do you need 2000 people to get a P value of >0.05?

  152. #152 kelian
    July 23, 2011

    What is beyond me is how you would go about investigating the effect of yoga on a particular condition

    Oh, really? You @ 9:29 yesterday: It is no secret that Ashtanga Yoga is the best all round holistic and preventative health care system ever invented.

    So you just said that since yesterday, you’ve been making it up?

    If it effects only 1% of everyone in your study, it had no effect on 99% and you can be pretty sure it’s crap. If it is, and you repeat the experiment with a larger pool, say 5000, the most likely result is that only 1% of those 5000 will be effected. The raw number may be larger, but the percentage and statistical result won’t change.

  153. #153 Kerry Maxwell
    July 23, 2011

    I wanted to make a point about CR, but after reading all the drivel about asstangler yoga, I forgot what my point was.

  154. #154 lilady
    July 23, 2011

    I’m sorry Ashtanga London, that you are so immensely unqualified to speak of physical illness as evidenced by your statement posted at # 64 above,

    “As for bacterial endocarditis i’m guessing it’s a bug, do what we all do! if it’s not gone after 2 days or if blood is coming out, anything nasty, see a doctor or call an ambulance.”

    Are you absolutely certain that 2 days are sufficient to self diagnose and make the decision to get to a hospital? Would you consider 3 days or 4 days…in your expert opinion? Or, would it be prudent to wait only 1 day…or “if blood is coming out” Where would that blood be coming out of? What do you mean by “anything nasty”…be quite specific here as “anything nasty” is not medical terminology and we would also like citations for all these statements.

    Don’t you think you are out of your league here…we all do?

    I wish no ills on you, but you are a purveyor of snake oil…and I despise snake oil salesmen.

  155. #155 lilady
    July 23, 2011

    Ashtanga London: The example you provided about endocarditis is so impressive in its stupidity…yet you still persist…mind boggling.

    So, 30 minutes spent at Google University learning about statistics qualifies you as an expert, eh?

    We are all so impressed with your “qualifications”…but not for the reasons you think.

  156. #156 infinidiv
    July 23, 2011

    @All – Look, you are in large part taking single points and trying to generalize to all cases. If anything, statistics has shown us over and over again how difficult and faulty that can be. But if we are going to generalize then let us do so:

    While science has progressed very far, it is still, in my opinion, very early in development. In particular when you compare a few hundred years to thousands of years of human development. And while a lot of quack has come out of that development, science has been good at filling out the gaps rather than writing a whole new story. Many of the “modern” medicines we ascribe to science were originally taken from ancient knowledge of natural medicines. While they filled the gaps with spirits and gods, we do it with science. On that final count, I choose science every time, but we need to stop assuming that what hasn’t been tested, and several times, has to be thrown out… wasn’t there something about a baby and bathwater?

    There is plenty we have not gotten to or are biased against, have not had the time or the budget to examine, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing there. If anything, scientists and the public need to remember how many times science has debunked itself. While that is the most powerful and useful feature of science, it also seems to be the one everyone keeps forgetting.

  157. #157 kelian
    July 23, 2011

    That would suggest to me that ashtanga reduced risk of autism but what would it say to a scientist like you?

    I’m not a scientist; I’m a skeptic. And since that’s total fiction, it says nothing at all to me.

  158. #158 Vicki
    July 23, 2011

    At a guess, they didn’t say “MRSA in the heart” because endocarditis is not necessarily an MRSA infection.

  159. #159 TBruce
    July 23, 2011

    Why didn’t you just say MRSA in the heart?

    Oh, maybe because that’s not what endocarditis is?

    I spend 30 mins learning about statistics and I’ve scared you already?

    I don’t know what you did for 30 minutes, but it was not “learning about statistics”. You fail.

    (lol – I thought ‘endo’ meant ‘stomach’!)

    Some friendly advice – stop embarrassing yourself – now.

    Qualifies me as a willing beginner

    Then why don’t you act like one, instead of shooting your mouth off about stuff you know nothing about?

  160. #160 kelian
    July 23, 2011

    Hey, you know what ashtanga yoga is useless for? Insomnia. Know how I know? It’s now pushing 11 on a Saturday night in the Himalayas, and you’re still posting on the internet.

    And you said you were up all last night, too. If I didn’t have a sample size of 1, I’d wonder if ashtanga yoga might not cause insomnia.

  161. #161 kelian
    July 23, 2011

    Well, earlier you were claiming that you couldn’t swim as exercise because it was too cold in the Himalayas, and when I pointed that out you were quite evasive at post 137…

    I just want to talk to the Tai Chi practitioner who participates in Wikipedia edit wars, and instead I get this bull.

  162. #162 Composer99
    July 23, 2011

    What’s the difference between sceptical and paranoid?

    I think scornful is more apt than paranoid to describe most commenters’ reaction to Ashtanga London at this point.

  163. #163 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    OK, from now on I’m ignoring Jarrad C, Chris and Kelian.

    I’m sorry Gopi but I think you are faking it. I’m ignoring you too as you don’t appear to be a real Sanskrit scholar as you claim.

    @Sastra (165) By ‘ordinary benefits’, do you mean my claim that it is superior to ordinary exercise?
    By ‘woo’ do you mean the ‘flow state’ or something else? What else have I claimed?

    1) Superior exercise
    2) Less time ‘off sick’
    3) Flow State

    Which of these do you consider to be ‘woo’? All are measurable (if not already measured),

  164. #164 Jim
    July 23, 2011

    Hello,

    I just wanted to make it know that sometimes chiropractic care is tremendously beneficial. 

    Several years ago I was in poor shape and did not use correct posture. I suffered through a pinched nerve severe enough to send me to the hospital, screaming in pain. I never fully recovered, but learned to deal with the pain. Some weeks I would be fine. Other weeks were escrutiating. Even after exercising my back religeously for almost a year and riding in spinning classes, my back would still hurt. My spinning instructor pressured me to go to his chiropractor for nearly a year before I broke down and went. 

    The first session was a simple exam and X-ray. On the second day, he showed me how two disks were compressed on one side. He manipulates my lower back and used an electrical stimulation device on my lumbar. I felt no result the first time, but kept it up for two more sessions. After the third session I was pain free. The chiropractor believes that sometimes the muscles get used to being in the wrong positions, and simply need to retrained. After my experience, I  hold to that belief too.

    I am very thankful to the chiropractor, and especially to my instructor for his continued efforts to get me to see him. 

  165. #165 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Hi, Have a look at this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19341991

    It is not meant to support any of my claims but it is a study where Ashtanga Yoga was used.

    Does the study make you feel angry or happy? It makes me happy (i’m biased), it shouldn’t make you angry (unless you are biased).

  166. #166 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Hi Vicki, I offered it simply because it is UNIQUE in being a study with Ashtanga Yoga on Pubmed.

    I’m not too worried about the lack of controls because you can surely compare with non ashtanga practising members of the general population. That’s the cheap part, the costly part is teaching them the system, probably a couple of hundred dollars per subject. How much does it cost to weigh someone, measure their bp, hr, v02 max etc? How much does it cost to write up?

    As for the 4 who increased self esteem and the 2 who had lowered self esteem that’s not surprising.

    Ashtanga Yoga likes to show you where you are weak before it makes you strong. In many this will manifest as a temporary lowering of self-esteem.

    If Ashtanga causes low self esteem initially, there are two options. Discontinue and self-esteem should return to baseline or,
    Continue, in which case self esteem should end up rising above baseline sooner or later.

    I guess the Texan scientists associate obesity with diabetes so they are looking to ashtanga.

    Ashtanga Yoga seems to reduce appetite or hunger sensations in a way that is unlike any other exercise I’ve done. Other practitioners have found similar effects (not all find this effect). I’d love to see the science behind this but I can’t find it.

    The three things ashtanga has that other exercise don’t have is bandha, drishti and ujayyi (these aren’t magic they are physical things that you do).

    How do these three things affect appetite in a way running or swimming do not.

  167. #167 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Chris, ‘Alternative medicine’ does not exist except in the minds of the dangerously misguided, insane or profiteering few. I think we’ve established that.

    All exercise is ‘Complimentary Medicine’.

    We are asking, which 30 to 90 minutes of exercise is the best all round compliment to medicine and health in general.
    All exercise being equal, ashtanga is better because of 3 extra things. Why to those 3 extra things work like they do.

    Running, swimming, karate or dancing. None reduces appetite like ashtange does yoga. Why?

  168. #168 Gopiballava
    July 23, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:
    “Yoga works, it needs science to give it more credibility and visibility.”

    This is backwards. Your hypothesis is that it works. Science is the method you use to determine if it actually works.

    You keep saying it *definitely* does many different things, yet you have not provided a single shred of evidence that it works for everybody, or even a large percentage of people.

    Shouldn’t the science be used to determine if the claim is true? Much bad science comes from people who have decided before the science that they are certain about the results. As Feynman noted, you yourself are the easiest person to fool.

  169. #169 Jarred C
    July 23, 2011

    Jim @161,

    Thanks for your story. It’s a great example of an area where chriopractic treatment works. The problem many of us have with chiropractic is when they claim that those same treatments can cure the flu, bacterial infections, depression, insomnia, cancer, or a myriad of other things that have nothing to do with joint and muscle care.

  170. #170 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Chris no-one put you in charge. It’s obvious you haven’t bothered to look at the specification for Ashtanga Yoga so you are wasting my time and yours.

  171. #171 Venna
    July 23, 2011

    @ Jim

    I don’t believe that anyone here is saying that chiropractic care, when used correctly, doesn’t benefit certain conditions. What is in dispute is their claim that chiropractic care can heal anything (E.g. my grandpa claiming chiropractic care would cure my brother of cerebral palsy, etc.) I’ve had chiropractic care that was beneficial and chiropractic care that was painful to endure and I’ve had physical therapy that wasn’t ever painful and does the same thing chiropractic care does. When it comes down to it, I’ll choose physical therapy over chiropractic care simply because it’s too easy to get sucked into that chiro-belief system that a healthy spine means a healthy body. A healthy spine really only means you have a healthy spine, it isn’t going to do anything if you have cancer, diabetes or diphtheria. Really, chiropractic care is just glorified physical therapy that is arrogant enough to believe they can heal life threatening or physically debilitating conditions, when all they can do is ease pain and correct poor posture (of course poor posture can always revert back after being fixed if you don’t strengthen the muscles that support your posture. physical therapy taught me how to strengthen those muscles, chiropractics did not.)

  172. #172 Sastra
    July 23, 2011

    @ Ashtanga London #42:

    My understanding is that when it comes to cancer, attitude or belief doesn’t really effect how long you live. A positive, hopeful attitude will make the patient feel better — and that’s a good thing — but it will not slow down or eliminate the disease.

    It seems to me that there are (at least) two major problems with your arguments for the virtues of Ashtanga yoga:

    1.) You are not separating the reasonable, ordinary health benefits of this form of yoga from any implied mystical “woo” aspect. It’s hard for me to guess exactly what you’re claiming here.

    2.) You don’t seem to be taking selective bias into account, by which I mean that the sort of people who would voluntarily seek out and practice an Eastern form of rigorous meditative exercise (or however you describe it) might be, as a group, different from the people who do not. At least some of what you interpret as a result of the yoga may be instead the result of genetics, environment — and motivation.

  173. #173 lilady
    July 23, 2011

    Ashtanga London: Cripes aren’t there any sites in London you could post on?

    Apparently, a really good yogi when in a trance…such as Ashtanga…puts you in a denial state…denial of reality and denial of the derision being heaped upon him

  174. #174 Bronze Dog
    July 23, 2011

    Chiropractic, if it restricts itself to muscular and skeletal problems: Kind of okay. The more sensible variety of chiropractors are essentially doing “conventional” therapies for back problems.

    Chiropractors who accept the original roots of chiropractic theory: Silly, and often dangerous. Those types of chiropractors are to spines what reflexologists are to feet and iridologists to eyes. It’s quackery on a fundamental level, and it doesn’t help that they’re directly manipulating something that houses a critical bundle of nerves (especially up at the neck). At least with reflexologists, the worst you’ll get is probably a sore spot from massage, and iridologists typically don’t try to treat the perceived problem by poking you in the eye.

    …I will now wait in terror, expecting one of my fellow skeptics to post a link to an incident involving an iridologist attempting such a treatment with ugly results.

  175. #175 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    @Gopiballava:

    Once you have learnt the ashtanga yoga primary series, you are able to expand it and contract it so that it can be anything from 15 mins to 3 hours long.

    The reason I say 30 to 120 mins is because the research I’ve seen over the years (on TV, in newspapers etc) seems to say we need to get between 30 and 90 mins exercise each day in order to stay healthy*. Given this, I’d like to test 120 mins too to see if it offers much advantage over 90 mins. My own yoga practice is ~100 minutes long but I’m happy with less if I’m pushed for time.

    The ‘proscribed’ schedule is 5 or 6 days per week (Saturday is a day off. Also, each new or full moon is a day off). It works out at approx 5.5 times per week although it varies from year to year on a 19 year cycle. Some prefer to ignore the moon thing and take every other Sunday off in addition to Saturday off. It really makes no difference.

    *For sedentary people. If you have a physical job, less exercise is needed although you may need to do special exercises to repair the damage from your job!

  176. #176 Jarred C
    July 23, 2011

    Ashtunga, If your post at 134 (in response to my post at 132) is a characteristic example of your reading comprehension, then it’s no wonder why you are doing so poorly here.

    Were you simply not paying attention to what people are writing, or were you drunk or something? Or are you going to turn into one of our resident trolls, who changes people’s statements into something else, and then argues against the new statement?

    Seriously, here – what is the cause of your poor reading comprehension this past day or so?

  177. #177 Bronze Dog
    July 23, 2011

    My understanding is that when it comes to cancer, attitude or belief doesn’t really effect how long you live. A positive, hopeful attitude will make the patient feel better — and that’s a good thing — but it will not slow down or eliminate the disease.

    Small thing I thought I’d add to your point: A optimistic patient is more likely to comply with his treatment and maintain other general health practices, which is one hypothesis that can explain some better outcomes for them.

  178. #178 Chris
    July 23, 2011

    Please ignore the very lost Ashtanga London.

  179. #179 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Gopi, 2+2=5 for large values of 2 and small values of 5. You’ll find that proof written on a cubical wall in one of the men’s toilets in the Physics department at Birmingham University, England.

    Chris, How would you go about measuring the calories used in an ashtanga workout?

    I claim that someone who expends 500 calories doing ashtanga will have different feelings of hunger or satiation over the following three hours when compared to someone who does 500 calories of matched exercise which uses 500 cals within the same time-frame.

    Different sized people use differing amounts of calories for a fixed duration and of the same exercise routine. This would need to be accounted for.

  180. #180 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    PMID: 20877530

    “Yoga as a Complementary Therapy for Children and Adolescents
    A Guide for Clinicians”
    Lisa C. Kaley-Isley, PhD, RYT-500, John Peterson, MD, Colleen Fischer, PhD, and Emily Peterson, CYT

    Not about ashtanga yoga specifically but gives the accepted standard model for how ‘yoga’ came to be what it is today.

  181. #181 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Gopi. *I* believe it because I have felt it myself (other exercise makes you hungry almost immediately. Ashtanga Yoga often delays the hunger and seems to reduce the total number of calories I need overall).

    The effect is so noticeable it causes me and other ashtanga yoga practitioners to ask each other if we have the same experiences.

    I guess that is why that research may have been done in Texas, to work out if the effect is real or if many hundreds or thousands of Ashtangis were somehow imagining or suggesting the effect into existence.

  182. #182 Gopiballava
    July 23, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:

    People have been repeatedly asking you for evidence. You have not provided any. It is interesting to note that you choose to ignore people right after they directly ask you for evidence. A fascinating coincidence I’m sure.

  183. #183 Gopiballava
    July 23, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:

    People have been repeatedly asking you for evidence. You have not provided any. It is interesting to note that you choose to ignore people right after they directly ask you for evidence. A fascinating coincidence I’m sure.

  184. #184 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    Hi Gopi, I’ve done lots of other kinds of exercise for around 90 mins duration, some are more intense, some are less intense.

    Ashtanga really stands out in contrast to other forms of exercise. I want to know why, I don’t need to prove that the effect is there I know it is there.

    If Person A and Person B both breath 20 litres of air per minute but person A does it in 20 breaths and person B does it in 6 breaths, who is the healthiest?

  185. #185 Vicki
    July 23, 2011

    So, an “open pilot study” with twenty subjects, of whom four are reported to have increased self-esteem with this treatment, and two are reported to have decreased self-esteem with the treatment. Given the limitations of one open pilot study, I’d call that noise, rather than either encouraging or a reason to worry. (Also, it’s not difficult to induce small amounts of weight loss in almost any population for a short period. The meaningful outcomes here would be either incidence of diabetes, that being what they’re claiming to be concerned about, or overall weight gain or loss after a significantly longer period. Preferably the former: if a hypothetical intervention took significant effort, and produced weight loss but no reduction in diabetes, its value would be less impressive. If it produced weight loss and an increase in diabetes or other health issues, that would be a bad thing.)

    In all seriousness, if that study is the best you can offer, it doesn’t seem like much basis for asking for a large amount of people’s time and energy.

  186. #186 Ashtanga London
    July 23, 2011

    The battle is back on!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Systems

    We have the technology, Let’s assume that Ashtanga Yoga is baseline ‘best’ and try to find or make something even better and safer for the new millenium :)

  187. #187 Chris
    July 23, 2011

    Also, since when is exercise, any kind of exercise, considered alternative medicine? It is just a form of exercise. Nothing more, nothing less.

    As far as swimming goes: within two kilometers of where I live there are three indoor pools, at least two outdoor pools and two lakes with swimming beaches. All of them have lifeguards.

    The three indoor public pools have lifts for those who use wheelchairs, an accommodation that I doubt Mr./Ms. London offers. Plus they offer low cost one-on-one lessons for special populations. One has an hour a week dedicated to those who are training for Special Olympics, something else that I doubt Mr./Ms. London offers.

    Exercise is healthy, and should be available to all populations. It is not alternative medicine.

  188. #188 Chris
    July 23, 2011

    No exercise is “complementary medicine.” Stop trying to rename things that are part of real medicine. All exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. Nothing more, nothing less.

    “None reduces appetite like ashtange does yoga. Why?”

    Because they are real exercises that burn real calories. If you use energy, you need to refuel. Nothing you said makes your special little mode of moving the body special.

    And I am sure you don’t teach people in wheelchairs or help those who train for Special Olympics.

  189. #189 Gopiballava
    July 23, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:
    “We are asking, which 30 to 90 minutes of exercise is the best all round compliment to medicine and health in general.”

    How did you determine that 30 to 90 minutes was a reasonable duration?

    Is daily, weekly, 3x/week, 15 min 2x day, or some other pattern better?

  190. #190 Gopiballava
    July 23, 2011

    @Ashtanga Yoga:
    “Chris no-one put you in charge. It’s obvious you haven’t bothered to look at the specification for Ashtanga Yoga so you are wasting my time and yours.”

    It would help us all out if you would add just a sentence or two to explain which part Chris got wrong. Such as, “Ashtanga uses X calories per hour, so your hypothesis is wrong.”

    Regarding duration of exercise: I expect that different exercises have different optimal durations. If you’re building muscle, you need to give yourself enough time off for your body to rebuild the muscles. What still seems to be missing in all of this is some sort of empirical evidence.

    You’ve said many times that things are obvious. Yet you haven’t been able to provide any justification. It is obvious that 1+1=2. If you are not convinced, Principia Mathematica page 379 provides a proof. Obviousness with no further comment is simply insufficient.

  191. #191 Gopiballava
    July 23, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:
    “I claim that someone who expends 500 calories doing ashtanga will have different feelings of hunger or satiation over the following three hours when compared to someone who does 500 calories of matched exercise which uses 500 cals within the same time-frame.”

    Why do *you* believe this?

    I don’t mean, what do you think will convince me, I mean what have you seen, observed, felt, read, etc. that makes you believe this is true? Also, I presume you mean that they will feel less hungry? Or do you mean sometimes and sometimes less?

  192. #192 Gopiballava
    July 23, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:
    “*I* believe it because I have felt it myself (other exercise makes you hungry almost immediately. Ashtanga Yoga often delays the hunger and seems to reduce the total number of calories I need overall).”

    How did you determine that you were burning the same number of calories doing Ashtanga Yoga vs. the other exercise you were doing?

  193. #193 Gopiballava
    July 23, 2011

    @Ashtanga Yoga:
    “Hi Gopi, I’ve done lots of other kinds of exercise for around 90 mins duration, some are more intense, some are less intense.”

    So, you’ve tried enough forms of exercise that you can just tell how many calories you’re burning?

    ” I want to know why, I don’t need to prove that the effect is there I know it is there.”

    Sorry, you’re skipping an important step:
    A) Feel / notice / predict something exists
    B) Demonstrate that it exists
    C) Show why / how it exists

    You’ve skipped step B. Step B is absolutely critical. Many people throughout history have made complete fools of themselves by skipping B. Homeopaths would be a fine example.

    B in most cases is easier than C. There are many, many examples where B is trivial and C is tough.

    If you’re fine with doing pseudoscience, you can skip straight to C. If you want to do science, and be taken seriously, don’t skip step B.

  194. #194 Pareidolius
    July 23, 2011

    Laydeees and Gentlemen

    Welcome to the R.I. Super Saturday Yoga Fight!

    In this corner weighing in 97 pounds, the Pride of Puna, Gallopin’ Gopiballava! And in the opposing corner, introducing the Badass of Bermondsey, at 127 pounds, Ass Kickin’ Ashtangga!

    Spectators in the front rows be warned that you may be covered with logical fallacies when you exit the pavilion.

    I gotta make more popcorn . . .

  195. #195 gopiballava
    July 23, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:
    “If Person A and Person B both breath 20 litres of air per minute but person A does it in 20 breaths and person B does it in 6 breaths, who is the healthiest?”

    1) Normal respiration rate is 12 to 20 resps/minute. Person B is outside of the normal range which is something to keep an eye on
    2) 10 liters/minute is average
    3) Average tidal volume is 0.5L. Person A has a tidal volume of 1L, Person B has a TV of 3.3L. Forced vital capacity for the average female is 3.7 L, 4.8L for a male. 3.3L tidal volume is *huge*.

    Given the very limited information you’ve given, I’d be concerned about respiratory acidosis in Person B. Here’s some more info on it:
    http://www.ccmtutorials.com/rs/mv/strategy/page16.htm

    I think Person A is healthier, but both are out of spec enough to concern me.

    Disclaimer: I haven’t had any EMS training in years, and my certifications have expired.

  196. #196 gopiballava
    July 23, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:
    “If Person A and Person B both breath 20 litres of air per minute but person A does it in 20 breaths and person B does it in 6 breaths, who is the healthiest?”

    1) Normal respiration rate is 12 to 20 resps/minute. Person B is outside of the normal range which is something to keep an eye on
    2) 10 liters/minute is average
    3) Average tidal volume is 0.5L. Person A has a tidal volume of 1L, Person B has a TV of 3.3L. Forced vital capacity for the average female is 3.7 L, 4.8L for a male. 3.3L tidal volume is *huge*.

    Given the very limited information you’ve given, I’d be concerned about respiratory acidosis in Person B. Here’s some more info on it:
    ccmtutorials.com/rs/mv/strategy/page16.htm

    I think Person A is healthier, but both are out of spec enough to concern me.

    Disclaimer: I haven’t had any EMS training in years, and my certifications have expired.

  197. #197 Chris
    July 23, 2011

    Pareidolius, awesome!

    I’d get popcorn right now, but I have to go water the garden (which includes some stalks of pink popcorn).

  198. #198 Ashtanga London
    July 24, 2011

    Hi, people are misunderstanding the specification for my ‘Ashtanga Yoga’.

    To clarify some things:

    1) If it hurts you’re doing it wrong (ahimsa, quote: David Williams).
    2) Ashtanga Yoga never has to hurt for any reason.
    3) There is no such thing as ‘stretching’. It’s a myth.
    4) You do not have to destroy muscle in order to become stronger.

  199. #199 Venna
    July 24, 2011

    I was wondering how the discussion came to be only about one topic when the article wasn’t about this particular topic at all?

    As a middle age female, who has punished her body for most of her life (dancing, competitive swimming and suffering from bouts of uncontrollable binge over eating which caused me to gain weight over what my structure could carry) and is now paying the price for it with damaged knees, weak ankles and back and irregular blood sugar levels, I don’t feel that I have the luxury to spend time even wondering about the claims made by woo in the world. What I need, and it’s hard to find when you’re on medicaid, is a good common sense doctor who can actually help me, or direct me to medical specialists who can.

    I was quite flexible at one time and given my age and the amount of children I’ve had I still am, to a point, but there is no way in heck I’m going to try and contort myself into some of the positions I’ve seen in yoga. I really don’t like punishment and when it comes to my health, I want something that will work based on scientific data, not by surveys taken from those fools who buy into the woo that’s peddled by the woomeisters. But that’s just me.

  200. #200 Ashtanga London
    July 24, 2011

    That full ashtanga / diabetes study is here:

    http://kaitlynroland.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/yoga-for-youth-weight-mngt-and-psych-well-being-benavides-caballero-2009.pdf

    A 12 Week study. The ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ that was performed by the subjects in the study approached but did not meet the full specification:

    3 times per week. 5 or 6 is better.
    The children were guided through every session rather then working towards self-practice.
    Duration of 3 years or longer would be good, imo. 12 weeks is certainly too short.
    You cannot force people / children to do Ujayyi breathing but those that do not should be excluded from the results.
    Mula and Udiyyana bandha were not employed. Udiyyana can be checked visually – you can see it. Mula bandha is a bit more difficult to check as it is located at the pelvic floor. You can’t see it and you get into big trouble for touching it!
    I doubt that they employed drishti (looking place of gaze point) throughout.

    If regular exercise is 100%, and Full Ashtanga yoga is 200%, what the children in the study did is probably only ~110%.

    I’d love to see the results for proper ashtanga with a larger sample size and longer duration.

  201. #201 jws
    July 24, 2011

    I imagine that some of this un-scientific mumbo jumbo has some merit for a few ills. But if I’m hiking in Yosemite and a grizzly mauls me, I’m gonna want a “western” doctor to sew my face back on.

    And so would everybody else.

  202. #202 Gopiballava
    July 24, 2011

    jws: Yes, but wouldn’t you be better off with prevention instead of this allopathic obsession with symptomatic treatment of problems after they occur?

  203. #203 lilady
    July 24, 2011

    @ Venna: I tried to bring the discussion back to a more serious level in a prior post…unsucessfully. I suspect our friends are have too much fun with the Yogi’s postings..oh well.

    You are too young to be having multiple joint problems without treatment or remediation. I wonder if you have explored a family practice clinic that accepts Medicaid for referrals to a PT? I know you are residing in the Northwest but I’m not aware of any shortage of doctors who accept Medicaid patients…in the Southwest there is a shocking paucity of such doctors. Are there any community or university affiliated hospitals nearby…most of them have a doctor’s referral service available on the internet or through a phone call.

    There is also the “AMA Doctor Finder” website to find a doc in various specialties…however I don’t know if you can discern which ones take Medicaid or even if you are enrolled in a Medicaid HMO type of plan. My state’s health department has a listing of every licensed doctor and many of the listings are quite complete with the exact medical plans (including Medicaid) that the doctor accepts. Then too, Google is you friend if you were to key in “Doctors who accept Medicaid and your county”

    You should have a doctor that you find simpatico for primary health care and also to monitor your blood glucose level and that old bugaboo of a small amount of weight loss. Your joint problems, written up correctly by your doctor, should get you a few sessions of PT…then perhaps some fitness sessions due to elevated glucose levels. Just remember that you must be healthy or the family unit caves. Sorry if I sound like a mommy here, but I care.

    Anecdotally, my sister who is 15 months older than me, pushed her self working and caring for her seven children…she is now a train wreck, with arthritis throughout, three knee replacements, multiple carpal tunnel surgeries and quite impaired. Of course her yo-yo weight gains/losses stressed her joints terribly.

    I’ll just read some more of yogi’s silly posts now and off to bed…just recovering from my Alaska trek.

  204. #204 Venna
    July 24, 2011

    @ lilady

    There are doctors who will accept my health coverage, but there is a limit to the number that are accepted each month. I missed the first of the month deadline to contact my health plan to check for doctors so now I need to wait until first of August. I need a PC physician for me, my partner and my partner’s daughter (who is 16) so we’d need a family practitioner. As for the specialists I’d need to get referral from a PC to go to them per the rules of my health coverage.

    I actually wanted to have my knees and my blood sugar looked at last summer when I went to the doctor I was assigned to through Kaiser coverage from work, but all they cared about was that I mentioned a heart issue that I was curious about. I found out I have Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia and they were pressing me to get an ablation procedure done to my heart which turns out is more risky then the occasional racing heart episodes I experience (I’m talking like once every two or three months so it wasn’t a worry just a curiosity as my youngest sister has it too). They didn’t even listen to my other complaints and I felt like they heard heart and their eyes turned into dollar signs or something because every other concern I wanted to have them look at was completely ignored. I never liked Kaiser anyway so I’m glad I’m not stuck going to them now.

    I’m working on finding a doctor, but there are constraints. There are a lot of people on OHP (Oregon Health Plan) due to low wages or unemployment so doctors have to set limits. Luckily the coverage we have isn’t HMO but it still requires PCP referral to specialists. I worry about my health because of Viktor. I don’t know how functional he is yet and until I do I need to make sure I’m here to care for him and keep him safe. I forget things easily because I get absorbed doing other things that I need to do. I’m one of those that could benefit from a daily To Do list, but I’ve never actually made one, I always forget. I’m sure nobody here really wants to hear about my worries though so I should keep them from this board. Sorry everyone for my short whine fest!

  205. #205 DLC
    July 24, 2011

    I guess CR doesn’t understand that the plural of anecdote is not “data”.

    And: I would sooner trust a science-based physical therapist over a chiropractor telling me that my condition is based on subluxations.

  206. #206 lilady
    July 24, 2011

    @ Vanna: Not a whine fest at all…It’s hard to manage at times with Medicaid and some limited access and I know only too well the extra care that the little ones who are in need of extra attention, require, plus the extra emotions tied into their care and their future.

    Insofar as your occasional heart problems, there are a few cardiac meds that can control them if need be, and as you probably already know, eliminating or drastically cutting back on caffeine including colas will at least lessen the episodes. Hubby has had right and left atrial ablations for more serious V-flutter and V-Fib as well as more recently, three stents placed in two arteries…all done through femoral arterial groin access. It is a much easy and shorter recovery process than cracking the chest for heart access.

    Hey, you’ve got to train for that walkathon!

  207. #207 epador
    July 24, 2011

    RE: Medicaid in OR and WA. They don’t pay for PT anymore. They will pay for drugs. Sad, isn’t it?
    Doctors don’t HAVE to set limits on the number of Medicaid patients they see, but they do. Especially at some OHSU clinics. That’s Oregon Health State University. The one that gets funding from the State and all. Wonderful, huh?
    Venna: What region are you looking for doctors? I might be able to hook you up with someone sensible.

  208. #208 Ashtanga London
    July 24, 2011

    The word ‘Yoga’ is meaningless if you don’t actually specify what is done under the label of ‘doing some yoga’.

    How ridiculous it would be if all medical research was done on ‘The Medicine’ or ‘The Drug’ without ever specifying which chemicals are in the medicine or the drug?

    So from now on Mr Orac / Lord Draconis, any talk of yoga in future please open that can of worms fully and let them wriggle a bit more.

    There’s more healing in that yoga than you can possibly imagine ;)

    Thank you all!
    P.S. I’m nothing to do with any Yoga businesses in London that might have names similar to ‘ashtanga london’.

  209. #209 lilady
    July 24, 2011

    Just wow, Epador…I wasn’t aware the Oregon and Washington won’t pay for PT…so sad. Does that exclusion also apply to post joint replacement PT rehab, as well? That being the case it is truly draconian and puts the patient at high risk for very poor outcomes from the joint replacement surgery.

  210. #210 Ashtanga London
    July 24, 2011

    @Gopi I think I should have picked different numbers.

    I think the most important areas for Ashtanga Yoga are maybe back pain and depression.
    Ahimsa (no hurting) and udiyyana bandha are essential for Ashtanga for Back pain.

    That’s interesting about Diabetes, my teacher died from diabetes but he was over 90 years old and he’d stopped doing ‘yoga postures’ when he was about 70.

    I think that study with the Texan kids probably would have cost about $10-15K. Would that be the right ball park or have I underestimated the cost of scientists?

  211. #211 kelian
    July 24, 2011

    Vanna: Some sort of to-do list is pretty much essential if you’re juggling that many things to keep track of and you have that many obligations to others. Can you just get started with putting pens and paper in the car, in coat pockets and purses, and on tables? That way when something jumps out at you as something you should write down, you can get a list started before the procrastinate-y bit of the brain knows what happened.

    Post-it note blocks are invaluable, because you can stick the list right to something you know is going to an appointment. But anything is a start. And it’s a lot easier than sitting around cudgeling your brain for that last vital thing you wanted to ask.

  212. #212 Venna
    July 24, 2011

    @ lilady

    The only caffeine I ingest is from the single cup of coffee I have each morning. I don’t drink soda, too much sugar in them. I will indulge in chocolate from time to time but it isn’t one of those things that I keep around the house because of my binge issues. So I don’t really have much caffeine in my diet.

    The tachycardia didn’t start until after Viktor’s birth. The episodes only occur when I’m particularly stressed out. I’ll tell you when I was working I had them much more often then I do now and when the advice nurse at the cardiac center was calling me three times a day trying to convince me to take time off work I wasn’t able to take and come in for a consultation it was really stressful. It irritates me when people don’t listen to what I have to say and she didn’t.

    I was prescribe Atenolol, which is used to treat high blood pressure and angina, neither of which I have, to take half a tablet once daily, but only if Valsalva maneuver or ice water on my face didn’t work. I never got a chance to try the Valsalva though while I was under going the Holter monitoring period. As soon as I sent in the first recording of my heart rate, which was two weeks after getting the monitor, I was getting calls from the cardiac advice nurse and told I need to up the intake of the Atenolol to one full tablet twice daily.

    I was really nervous about taking this since they didn’t really look at any of my other history and this was actually the first time I had gone to see this particular doctor and I felt like I wasn’t listened to from the start. Side effects for this drug include development of diabetes and since I already had concerns about this I didn’t want to do anything that would bring it on faster. I just don’t feel the doctors at Kaiser, or maybe it was just the doctors and specialists I dealt with, have my best interest in mind but are more concerned with making money. That’s what it seemed like anyway.

    @ Epador

    We live in Tualatin. My son goes to OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University) for his Occupational therapy and will also go there for his language therapy once there is an opening in the waiting list and for parent training so I can learn how to give him therapy at home since insurance and health coverage doesn’t cover all of the therapy that Viktor needs (25 – 30 hours each week). I didn’t know OHP didn’t pay for PT either. From what I could tell from my particular coverage it is covered, as long as I’m referred by a PCP. I might need to recheck that. Those insurance guide manuals are really confusing.

  213. #213 Jarred C
    July 24, 2011

    Kelian,

    That’s a great idea. I do that often, too. In the house, instead of pen and paper, I keep a small white-board on my refrigerator.

  214. #214 Ashtanga London
    July 24, 2011

    Thanks Rain city girl,

    I hope you’re assuming I’m female because most yoga teachers are, or do I write like one?

  215. #215 Venna
    July 24, 2011

    @ Kelian

    Under normal conditions, yes, that would be a great and obvious solution. My situation is such that I can’t leave pens and paper lying around because my son will find them and either try to stab himself or other people with the pens, or he’ll take them apart and scatter the pieces everywhere. Paper gets shredded, essentially anything that gets left out is at the mercy of my son so nothing really can be left out. He can be quite sneaky about things too and I don’t always know he’s up to something until it’s nearly too late to save whatever has become the victim of his curiosity.

    I do carry a pen with me in my bag when I go out simply because you never know when you’ll need one, but I usually only go out when I’m going grocery shopping or taking Viktor to one of his appointments. I don’t have a car, we bus everywhere. What I think will help me is to make a list each night before I go to bed using Notepad on my computer, listing everything in order of importance and leave it up. The first thing I do when I wake is check my email. If I turn on my monitor and immediately see my to-do list, I’ll remember. I guess the hard part for me is actually making the list. Once I have it I can follow it. After all I do that ever time I go shopping, hehe. I’m gonna give it a try this week since I have so much that I need to get done this week and most of it is out of the ordinary from what my routine normally is comprised of. Heh, I’m not even sure why I’m telling you all this, maybe because telling someone else helps to keep me more accountable. Anyway, since tomorrow is Monday, I need to remember to make that to do list tonight before bed. I’m just not sure I remember everything I need to do tomorrow. I’l let you know how it goes.

  216. #216 Denice Walter
    July 24, 2011

    @ Venna: Ah, what’s a few whines amongst friends?

    To do lists are a great way to create a routine and save time. Also set up a calendar in your kitchen where you can write in important appointments per date. I have three.

    About knee replacements: (if and when you go) it’ll take a huge chunk out of your usual daily living activities. I play tennis and know so many who have had this and similar- e.g. ligament ( all ages). It is a major undertaking, so plan well. People’s reactions to surgery vary- e.g. two I know had to forestall PT due to bad rx to anaesthesia and pain meds ( the latter had gastric ulcers! Back to hospital!).

    Caregivers already have too much on their plates. Learn how to delegate duties within the household prior to setting up the appointment. No easy task I can assure you. You seem to have your head screwed on correctly, so I’m sure you’ll triumph…. eventually. Take care. Be well.

  217. #217 kelian
    July 24, 2011

    Vanna: Yeah, it sounds like paper won’t work at all for you. To every tidy solution, there are two or more problems! A white-out board sounds like a good backup, because you can move it someplace you can reach it easily, but it sounds like you’re already onto a winner with the computer thing. (The downside is printing it out.)

    Maybe part of the solution’s making sure you have a few chances built into the day to get to the computer to write your list down. (I have to say, if I had just pens and no paper I’d end up with my lists all over my arms!)

    Hang in there.

  218. #218 Venna
    July 24, 2011

    @DW

    I hope I don’t have to have knee replacement surgery, I live on the second floor and it’s already painful going up and down the stairs. I’m on the waiting list for a ground floor 3 bedroom (so my partner’s daughter can have a room instead of sleeping in the dining room) and right now I’m second or third on the list, but 3 bedrooms don’t come available very often, and ground floor ones even less often. I keep hoping there will be a mass exodus from the three bedrooms and I’ll come up on the list sooner, but since these apartments are section 42 I don’t think that will happen any time soon. If I do need to have knee replacement done, it might have to wait until we are on the ground floor, otherwise I’ll be stranded in my apartment until I can take the stairs again. But let’s think positive! Perhaps I just need to strengthen certain muscles in my legs/knees to compensate for other ones or something. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. Until I know for sure I’m going to hope for the best. Of course even if knee replacement is necessary, the very best in the long run for everyone would be to get the ground floor three bedroom. Hmm, hard to know what to hope for really in that situation, hehe.

  219. #219 GlaxoPharma Com Orbital
    July 24, 2011

    MESSAGE BEGINS——————-

    Shills and Minions,

    Squabbling over the efficacy of exercise routines my be amusing, but remember, we have work to do. And as Minion Venna reminds us, there are other minions with more pressing problems than whether the proper astrological signs are holding court in the sky whilst one is forming oneself into a mammalian pretzel.

    That, and there are quacks to be made into roast duck. I do, however, commend our vexatious vedics for their pluck and verve. But I find it rather like arguing whether Superman or Darth Vader is more powerful (correct answer: Darth Vader).

    Return to your duties and our best wishes for a swift recovery to Minion Venna.

    And lest I forget, congratulations to freshly-minted Shill, Class VII (with the wreath of the Keldan League) Chris. Your dedication is surpassed only by your keen intellect and charm.

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
    Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Suzerain of V’tar and Pharmaca Magna of Terra and SeedFather Progenitor of the Creche of 36

    PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
    0010101101001

  220. #220 Chris
    July 24, 2011

    Thank you, Lord Draconis Zeneca!

  221. #221 Drivebyposter
    July 24, 2011

    There’s more healing in that yoga than you can possibly imagine ;)

    Except all that extra healing can’t be demonstrated in controlled circumstances. Hmm the powers of yoga are strange indeed.

    Also, are you sure it’s the yoga that is doing the healing and not the actual medical treatment you encourage people to get alongside the yoga?

  222. #222 Psorta Psychic
    July 24, 2011

    I psorta think that the yoga guy is confused. I have pseen Orac and our Lord Draconis at the psame time. They don’t look the psame, especially psince Lord Draconis Zeneca has an awesome beard.

  223. #223 Gopiballava
    July 24, 2011

    @Ashtanga London:

    What are your thoughts on whether Person A or Person B is healthier in your example?

  224. #224 Scottynuke
    July 24, 2011

    Venna, have you considered one of the many remarkably inexpensive digital voice recorders for keeping track of those “I should tell the doctor that” sort of thoughts? :-)

  225. #225 Raincitygirl
    July 24, 2011

    Ashtanga London is the most entertaining troll i’ve seen in a long time. She makes a refreshing change from Augie, Thingie and Jacob. I’m sure she’ll get tiresome soon enough, but right now she’s very amusing. Good work.

    Honourable mention to Gopiballava, for some delightful troll-baiting, as well.

  226. #226 lilady
    July 24, 2011

    @ Venna: I hope you review Epador’s posting at # 205…I think it is a sincere offer to get you into a doctor (ala circumventing waiting lists and any b.s. quotas). Just provide Epador with your region or county or town in Oregon.

    No, no, no, they are not whine fests…they are b***ch sessions…so essential for our mental health and too bad they are on the internet. Women are so lucky to have our gal friends so supportive and so versed in the art of b***ching.

  227. #227 Venna
    July 24, 2011

    @Scotty

    That’s a really good idea, thanks. I hadn’t thought of something like that. Of course the first thing is finding a doctor and then going from there. I’ll need to do some pricing out if I get something like that to figure out how long I’ll need to save up to buy it. We shall see if that works. In the mean time, I’ll have to do the list on the computer idea. That’s the best I have so far, it’s just remembering to do it that’s tricky, heh.

  228. #228 Gopiballava
    July 24, 2011

    Venna: I use David Allen’s getting things done style of list management. It has helped me a lot, although it doesn’t deal with all my issues; I still am not that good. On the plus side I’m good at emergency management and last minute tasks :) GTD does involve a lot of list management that is best done with software, most of which is $$$.

    The parts of his system that I think have helped me the most are:
    1. Separate collection of tasks from your lists. I have a list inbox where I scribble something quick down, and later I put all those short notes in the right lists
    2. Make your list items *actionable*. Figure out what is next, don’t leave broad and ill defined goals next to concrete actions. Every time you look at your list, your brain will say “house cleaning, that means I have to buy a mop, then etc etc”. Do the work of breaking things down once, so you can look and immediately figure out what is next
    3. List management and planning is a task. You’re better off finding time to look through your lists every so often so they make sense, rather than figuring it out all the time
    4. Be honest; delete things you won’t do. You are better off choosing what not to do with a plan rather than letting things slip based on what you skip during a busy day
    5. Keep lists short – at least for me, one long list will have stuff I skip even if it sounds important.

    And on that note I will go and send my car registration in before it’s late :)

  229. #229 Drivebyposter
    July 24, 2011

    I’ll need to do some pricing out if I get something like that to figure out how long I’ll need to save up to buy it.

    100 bucks is on the very upper limit of what you could/should expect.

    $40-$50 is probably more along the average from what I see on Amazon

  230. #230 Militant Agnostic
    July 25, 2011

    Venna @225

    Scott recommended a digital voice recorder – If you have an mp3 player even the cheapest ones have this capability although a purpose built digital voice recorder has a better user interface and better quality recording.

    Even a basic cellphone (mine is one step up from a “Seniors Phone”) has the capability for making to-do lists and a calendar for appointments with an alarm function. They also can record voice reminders.

    My wife got a Sony digital voice recorder a couple of years ago for well under a $100.

  231. #231 Venna
    July 25, 2011

    Thanks everyone for the advice! It’s nice to know so many people are willing to help me out. Particularly since I’ve felt so isolated the past few years, even when I was going to work during the week, and even when I had a car.

    Right now things are busy because I’ve committed myself to the Autism Speaks walk next month and I’m finding it difficult to get out and do what I need to do to raise funds. I just need to get through August and I think things will even out for me a bit. On the plus side, going through this now will help me know what works and what doesn’t for next year’s walk so I’ll be able to get started much sooner and will hopefully have raised the funds I set as my goal long before this time next year! So I’m trying to find the time to go and talk to people about donations, trying to find a company sponsor for our team and also getting to Viktor’s appointments and time to go grocery shopping, not to mention laundry, dishes, dinner and then Viktor’s therapy during the day at home. Sometimes it can be hard and I feel over whelmed and I push myself sometimes beyond what I am physically able to do and I start feeling it in my knees and my back and my ankles and feet. And as soon as I get Viktor down for bed I collapse into a chair and cry because I want to be the super mom, but physically I am wearing myself out. This is why I need to find a doctor so badly. I’ve always put myself and my own health last, but it’s getting to the point where I can’t do that if I expect to be able to care for Viktor still. I would do anything for him, and I want to make sure I’m physically able to. I need to make finding a doctor a higher priority then it has been, but I keep doing everything else first out of 40 years of habit. *And my mom always told me I was selfish.* As if…

  232. #232 lilady
    July 25, 2011

    Hi Venna: You so remind me of my feelings “back in the day” when my son was your Viktor’s age…different little boys with different diagnoses…but parents of disabled kids have those same frustrations of not enough time to do all that needs to be done.

    I am so happy that you are involved with the Autism Speaks Group and their walkathon. I have a suggestion for you to fund raise and meet your goal. There is a well respected (strictly) local newspaper in my small town that is published weekly and I bet you have a local newspaper too. Now some of the reporters are young journalism grads, using the newspaper job as a first step on their career ladder. Many of the reporters are not looking to climb that ladder and are happy covering school board meetings, the grand openings of new stores…things that only of interest to the “townies”. All the reporters love to report “human interest type stories” and they are very receptive to anyone (you, for instance) who contacts them with such a story. At the same time one proposes such an article, mentioning the worthiness of sponsoring agency and your unmet fund raising goal is a great tactic to generate those funds.

    Most of the reporters in the local and regional newspapers that I have ever dealt with are very open to such stories and delighted to have you provide background information for them…you become their stringer and do a lot of their research for them…and they get the byline credit.

    Your writing abilities are superb and should you submit an article to the local paper you’d have an excellent chance of it being published or…you could submit a “Letter to the Editor” about your walkathon and how readers can send donations directly to Autism Speaks with your team name written on the check. The advice I have provided is through my years of experience with “cultivating” contacts in the media to get stories and articles published.

    Venna, you have a perfect right to feel overwhelmed…at times…in comes with the territory. Your efforts on behalf of Viktor are acknowledged by your gal pals here as being nothing short of heroic.

    Stay in shape for that Walk-a-thon and good night.

  233. #233 kelian
    July 25, 2011

    Vanna, if your body is sending you such strong hints that you need to chill, you might also consider asking the organizers if there’s another form of volunteering you can do (covering tables, etc) that will let you help without burning up your time until then and your energy.

    If the walk-a-thon is helping you hang on to your health, go for it! But if it’s just eating up your resources when you have so many other demands, maybe it’s time to get involved in a different way. Caregivers have got to play a bit of “me first” or else they can’t help anyone.

  234. #234 Ashtanga London
    July 25, 2011

    OK Heads up, this is the YOGA thread because the OP said:

    “Ditto yoga instructors, given that yoga, stripped of its woo, is basically stretching exercises.”

    Whoa, hold on a minute…

    There’s no woo in the yoga I do and it’s recognised by me and anyone who is insane like me as the best yoga, and it can be physically specified, there is no woo. There isn’t even any ‘Stretching’, not that you would know the science behind ‘not actually stretching’.

    Ashtanga yoga employs 3 physical techniques with funny names.

    If we could translate them into the correct medical terminology, we might be able to logically see why ashtanga should be superior (though we’d need to test to show for real.

    So there are two things left to accomplish:
    1) You don’t know what you mean when you say ‘Yoga’
    2) I don’t know how much it costs to do a research project.

    c) Venna should do yoga. The ego lives in the knees!

  235. #235 Ashtanga London
    July 25, 2011

    Jarred C that was a really helpful contribution.

    Sick and dying people must love you when you have your childish fun instead of helping them.

    Grow up. You know damn well that I was using the word tongue-in-cheek.

    I put it to you, Jarred, that you feel personally very insecure when confronted with ashtanga yoga or even the discussion of it.

  236. #236 Ashtanga London
    July 25, 2011

    I think $0 is a bit low. You can probably get me to teach the yoga for no cost if the research is in London, or if in the US I might be able to find someone who would do it for no cost.

    Similarly, a room would be required and that may or may not cost money.

    The subjects would probably have some expenses (travel?).

    Equipment costs are negligible, even hight quality yoga mats are less than $50

    How long would it take to ‘design’ the study? Something tells me one of you guys could write it in 10 mins!

    How much does it cost for the scientist to do the calculations and write it up?

    We still need to define Ujjaya breathing and the two bandhas in terms of what a medic would call them (‘drishti’ or ‘looking place’/’gaze point’ is self-explanatory).

    We still need to define what is really going on when you think that we are ‘stretching’ when we are not.

    Come on, it’s easier than 1, 2, c ;)

  237. #237 Ashtanga London
    July 25, 2011

    If you were really able to ‘stretch’ muscle fibres, they would have to be elastic, if they were elastic, you would not be able to write neatly.

    The tension in a muscle is controlled by the nervous system via calcium bonds.

    The ‘limit’ you feel when you try to touch your toes is an arbitrary safety limit imposed by your nervous system.

    If you pull or push hard enough against this limit you will eventually tear muscle fibres. This is known as ballistic ‘stretching’ and is a technique employed by martial arts and dance schools to attempt to wear out young bodies. If you do this everyday, your muscles will get longer. If you stop, your muscles will get shorter and be full of broken fibers (surrounded by 6 new slightly shorter ones),

    Does everyone agree so far – shall I go on or would you like to correct anything before I go on to explain how Ashtanga Yoga ‘stretching’ really happens?

  238. #238 Ashtanga London
    July 25, 2011

    Thanks for that, the martial arts / ballet / ballistic stretching thing isn’t important, just illustrating that the ashtanga way is different to how everyone imagines us to ‘stretch’.

    What do you call the fuzz in between muscle layers? Is it fascia? Have you seen ‘the fuzz speech’?

    Anyway, so we don’t make our muscles longer by forcing fibres to break. We ‘melt’ the fuzz by generating a lot of heat through using Ujjayi breath and slow movements.

    Then the nervous system ‘lets go’ after about 35-40 seconds and removes the arbitrary safety limit, but only if you are not thinking about ‘the stretch’.

    That is one of the functions performed by the bandhas, drishti, ujjaya and the sequence. It’s as much as you can concentrate on at once and leaves no brain space for you to use for thinking about ‘the stretch’.

    Hence the weird jedi-like advice to try not to stretch or ‘wanting not getting.’

    People think it’s woo and most yoga teachers haven’t got a clue what really happens.

    So not ‘stretching’, rather, distracting the mind at the edge of a stretch with hot sliding layers of muscle ready to move as soon as the nervous system lets go.

    We measure the 35-40 seconds by counting 5 whole ujjayi breaths. That’s why it is ‘5 breaths’ in most postures. Not an arbitrary number. 4 breaths isn’t long enough, any longer than 5 breaths is diminishing returns.

    Hopefully that explains how we ‘not stretch’, you’ll still need to understand exactly how Ujjayi breathing and the Bandhas work :)

  239. #239 Ashtanga London
    July 25, 2011

    Chris it is not off topic. If you are feeling threatened just stay out of it.

    I’m sure a bit more definition will help us all. There is NO WOO in my ashtanga yoga.

  240. #240 Ashtanga London
    July 25, 2011

    Another man feeling threatened. Go away if you have nothing to add.

    We are moving towards ‘science’ by defining what is actually physically going on with a particular system of yoga.

    YOGA:

    Ujjayi breathing generates intense heat and sweat even when moving slowly.

  241. #241 Just Sayin'
    July 25, 2011

    The word ‘Yoga’ is meaningless if you don’t actually specify what is done under the label of ‘doing some yoga’.

    I’ve always wanted to do a Jedi master. I hear they can do amazing stuff with them litesaver thingies!

    How ridiculous it would be if all medical research was done on ‘The Medicine’ or ‘The Drug’ without ever specifying which chemicals are in the medicine or the drug?

    But what about the pancakes? I want a study on the health benefits of pancakes, dammit!!!!111one!!!

    So from now on Mr Orac / Lord Draconis, any talk of yoga in future please open that can of worms fully and let them wriggle a bit more.

    But what if the worms eat the pancakes? We could all go hungry. What about that smarty pants?

    There’s more healing in that yoga than you can possibly imagine ;)

    Oh, I don’t know. Pancakes have healing power too. Especially the ones that look like the Virgin Mary, or the Virgin Madonna, or Elvis, or something.

    Thank you all!

    Glad to be of service! Now all we need is some good Canadian maple syrup for our pancakes!

    P.S. I’m nothing to do with any Yoga businesses in London that might have names similar to ‘ashtanga london’.

    Lie! I saw you doing yoga on the campus of UWO!

  242. #242 Ashtanga London
    July 25, 2011

    It would be easier but seeing as the last time I gave you a picture someone called it ‘porn’ I thought better of it.

    How to do Ujjayi breathing so you know what it is:

    1) Make a ‘Haaaaa’ sound through your mouth as if you were blowing fog on a mirror, not the contraction of the glottis and how it feels. This is not ujjayi.

    2) With the mouth closed, do the same again but this time with the air coming out of your nose. It will be more difficult than in 1) so go gently.

    3) When you have got the hand of that, try it again but breath in the same way. This time go even gentler. Go to fast and your throat will ‘lock up’.

    If you are doing it right you will be breathing through your nose and you will hear and feel the air in your throat.

    If you really still have no idea, try to find someone doing it on youtube or ask me I can find it.

    Doing Yoga poses without Ujjayi breathing is dangerous, ineffective, and frankly is not really yoga.

  243. #243 Jarred C
    July 25, 2011

    it’s recognised by me and anyone who is insane like me as the best yoga

    Thanks for the heads up. You could have mentioned that early on.

  244. #244 Just Sayin'
    July 25, 2011

    not that you would know the science behind ‘not actually stretching’.

    Ooooh! Ooooh! I know! I know!

    The science behind “not actually stretching” involves taking an object, putting it on a flat surface, not stretching it, and observing the results. Normally, barring extremes of temperature or sudden falling asteroids, the object is left in its original “unstretched” state.

    AmIrite?

    But then, what does all of this have to do with pancakes, anyway?

    1) You don’t know what you mean when you say ‘Yoga’

    2) I don’t know how much it costs to do a research project.

    c) Venna should do yoga. The ego lives in the knees!

    Hey, wait a minute! What happened to 3) through b)? You’re just trying to distract us while you steal our pancakes!

    Oh, and research projects vary from $0 all the way up to several billion dollars (which, needless to say, would buy many pancakes for the world’s hungry people).

  245. #245 Vicki
    July 25, 2011

    Ashtanga @237: That’s right, you still need to define your terms (“what is really going on,” as you put it). Otherwise you’re walking into a biology lab and asking me to calculate the specific heat of a striped tachyon.

    It’s past time you went over to blogspot or somewhere similar and set up your own blog for a discussion of the benefits of yoga and how best to study it. I think you’ve done an adequate job of demonstrating the subject of this post, namely credulity towards alternative medicine.

    Oh, and can I have some lingonberry syrup for these crepes?

  246. #246 Ashtanga London
    July 25, 2011

    Yoga is not science and it never will be You can tell the future now o witch of woo?
    Venna, you are not a man feeling threatened, you are an attractive lady with long dark hair now please go away I’m not interested in your prejudices or your hair. You go away.

    Jarred yes, with yoga it is safer if you are warmer and the only way to get warm and move slow enough not to risk injury in another way is to employ ujjayi breathing. It also helps keep the practitioner concentrating on the yoga. It also tells the teacher everything about the student (yep, we listen to your ujjay and read your hopes and fears off it!).

    Ujjayi breathing = lower risk of injury.

    Ok, nit-picking aside, did anyone here actually try that ujjayi breathing?

  247. #247 Jarred C
    July 25, 2011

    Sick and dying people must love you when you have your childish fun instead of helping them.

    I don’t work in a field where sick and dying people are at my mercy, so they have nothing to fear from me. However, on the rare occasion that I do have to deal with sick and dying people, I can usually get them to laugh with my snark.

    Grow up. You know damn well that I was using the word tongue-in-cheek.

    Actually, I thought it was a typo, and that you forgot to proof-read, or when you did proof-read, you missed it (Things like that can happen all the time, which is why we’re supposed to have other people proof-read our work in formal occasions).

    I put it to you, Jarred, that you feel personally very insecure when confronted with ashtanga yoga or even the discussion of it.

    Are you getting mad that I’m derailing your topic? I hope so, because maybe then you will know why others were getting mad in the BLF/JM thread, where you derailed the topic back to your personal favorite.

    Now, if you would like me to be serious and not be foolish to you, I can be. Here’s some food for though:

    When a real scientist does work, (s)he uses scientific methods in order to prevent themselves from being fooled or tricked. Since oneself is the easiest person for one to fool, it’s vitally important that we do not allow ourselves to be tricked by what we want to believe. That’s the point of science: to weave out the truth from a myriad of untruths.

    You absolutely must be brutally honest with yourself while doing the research; you must never allow yourself to manipulate the data. But, even if you fall into the traps of humankind, it’s still okay, because your published work will be heavily critiqued by your peers, and your work will be replicated by your peers. And between all of that, after many replications have been done, all the biases of all the different researchers will be washed away, and the truth of the matter will come out. This is the point of peer-reviewed research: to help your fellow scientist’s work overcome the scientist’s biases.

    Science is a brutal field, and it is not for those who cannot handle criticism. We critique each other harshly, and often. And if we don’t then things like pseudo-science come out (ever notice how the purveyors of pseudo-science never critique each other?)

    With all of that, now let’s discuss your Ashtunga Yoga. Be honest with yourself. What do you know about A. Yoga which is backed by evidence? What do you know about A. Yoga which is not backed by evidence? What do you believe about A. Yoga which has been shown to be false, yet you still believe it? What do other A. Yoga practitioners believe about A. Yoga which has been shown to be false, yet the ideas are still persistent among your A. Yoga peers?

    Are there areas you can test it in comparison to other techniques (other Yoga styles, or non-yoga exercise routines which are similar)? Have those tests (a.k.a. research) been done? How many times? What biases are there in the research? Do the author’s conclusions match what the data says? Were the authors able to compare their test subjects to a control group? Did they control for biases in their subjects and in themselves?

    A lot of your own biases seem to be based around the idea that only if you could teach a person A. Yoga, then they too would believe all these things about it that you do. There are huge problems with that idea. It’s akin to stating that only if you would take aspirin, then you too would know that it alleviates pain. Statistically, you only have an n of 1 (and in statistics, many equations require you to divide by n-1. If n=1, then 1-1=0. You have to divide by 0, which is simply nonsense). Philosophically, a test subject of only 1 means that you have no idea how accurate that 1 person is to the average. Are they right on the average, or are they exceptionally above or below the average. Large n values allow for better analysis, and when people don’t have large values of n, further research leads to a phenomenon called “regression to the mean.”

    Another problem with your “if only you would learn A. Yoga, you would know what I mean” idea is that a factual claim should be able to stand on its own merits. It shouldn’t matter that I do not practice A. Yoga; if your claims about its health effects are true, I should be able to see it in the data and the statistics, without having to practice it myself. This is the case in science-based medicine; we can see the effects of medical techniques without having to practice them ourselves. I don’t need to be a surgeon or have surgery to know that certain techniques work and others don’t. I don’t need experience in or have been submitted to a lie-detector test to know that they don’t work. The evidence in the research stands by itself.

    As I’ve mentioned early, although in snark, I’m not a fan of practicing yoga, I’m a fan of practicing jujitsu and judo. I don’t care if others practice yoga, I just don’t want to, myself. Now, I’ve never been one to hit another person. I don’t like to hit people. I prefer to control their movements by joint manipulation. When I happen to be involved in a fight (and when I was in my 20s, it happened more often that I would have liked it to), the ability to lock a person’s arm behind their back was much more effective in stopping the fight than it would have been to punch them. However, I don’t need to have you practice jujitsu in order to show you that claim. I could test it, run statistics on it, etc., and then if I’m correct, I could show you in writing. If it turns out that I was wrong, then I would admit that I’m wrong and I would stop making the claim. But without the research to back it up, I have to admit that I don’t really know for certain – I think it’s true, I’ve seen it happen in my past, my own experiences back up my claims, but I could be wrong. I could have been allowing myself to be fooled this entire time. The point is that until I put my claims to the test, I don’t really know for certain.

    And neither do you.

  248. #248 Ashtanga London
    July 25, 2011

    Yes I read the whole article and I do understand the context in which the word ‘yoga’ is being misused and not understood.

    ‘Science’ is the thing that is going to eventually explain to you guys what I already know: Ashtanga Yoga is the bomb.

    I’d love to have a neutral point of view but I can’t – I’ve seen too many people changed by it to accept that it’s no different to other exercise.

    I’ve been amongst them all, and that includes ‘other yoga’, none of them produce the same results or the same feelings as ashtanga yoga.

    It’s time ‘science’ caught up with what we already know.

    You know the indus valley civilisation invented some kind of writing about 5 thousand years ago, then they didn’t write anything down for a couple of thousand years when they decided to start writing down sanskrit (which had been around for at least 1500 years prior to writing it down.

    Why did they stop and why did they start again?

    More to the point: Gray, how does Ujjayi breathing feel to you?

  249. #249 Ashtanga London
    July 25, 2011

    Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

    Logically, my claims are correct even if they have not been experimentally verified.

    Mathematics is science. Logically 1 + 1 = 2, do you need to stack two stones to prove it?

    Yoga is just exercise = 1
    All exercise = 1
    Add Ujjayi breath = +0.1
    Add Uddiyana bandha = +0.1
    Add Mula Bandha = +0.1
    Add Drishti = +0.1

    Exercise is 1
    Ashtanga is 1.4

    So we look at pilates:
    Exercise = 1
    Uddiyana bandha = 0.1
    Pilates gets 1.1

    Do you know of any other lands-based (non swimming) exercise systems which employ Ujjayi breathing and/or bandhas?

    If not, then logically there is no competition.

    You might need measurement to tell you that Pilates is not as effective or efficient as Ashtanga Yoga but to me it is evident, logical, and unproven.

    I’d like to see that proof happen one day. More than that, next time Orac reviews something ‘yoga’ he may realise that we can’t be lazy in describing it and the sanskrit terms make people think we are talking about chakra type woo.

    To me a chakra is a wheel. That’s all. 5000 years ago they were magically groovy. So much so that they called plexi chakras, they also called sweet spots chakras.

    The words ‘cake’ and ‘cart’ both come from chakra. Only modern woo-yogis believe in the multi-coloured wheels inside their bodies.

    I don’t teach my students anything I haven’t heard, seen or felt myself.

    Yes I’ve got records but I can’t use them here. Student privacy.

  250. #250 Vicki
    July 25, 2011

    No, everyone does not disagree. And not just because some of us have trouble writing neatly. Yes, the tension in a muscle involves the nervous system. It also involves the cells changing shape, which in turn makes them elastic and contracts or stretches them.

    Not being associated with a martial arts or dance school myself, I’m not going to demand that you retract your claim that they are deliberately trying to wear out young bodies, but I do think it requires proof.

    Now, where is your yoga blog?

  251. #251 Chris
    July 25, 2011

    Trolls ted to starve if they are ignored. Please ignore the off topic troll,

  252. #252 Gray Falcon
    July 25, 2011

    If you have science, then you should have evidence. Otherwise, you have woo. Simple as that. And the main topic is Consumer Report’s shoddy reporting, you only posted here because you saw the word “yoga” in the article.

  253. #253 Gray Falcon
    July 25, 2011

    Definitions are certainly helpful, but can you show that it’s actually happening? Otherwise, you’ve just got a bunch of sciencey sounding words. And unless you’re psychic, I suggest not assuming that we feel threatened.

  254. #254 Jarred C
    July 25, 2011

    Doing Yoga poses without Ujjayi breathing is dangerous, ineffective, and frankly is not really yoga.

    I see three things in this sentence. 1) dangerous claim: how do you know? 2) ineffective claim: how do you know?

    Based on these two things, I can extrapolate some other ideas: if breathing in this manner is so important for yoga, would it also be important for other exercises? For example, if I were to practice slow Tai Chi, would my tai chi improve with this exact breathing style? Or would the breathing patterns I’m taught in Tai Chi work for A. Yoga? If it’s dangerous to not breathe in this manner, what effects would occur from doing so? As a toxicologist, can I measure the dangerous effects of practicing yoga while not breathing in this exact manner? In other words, how is it dangerous, and what are the effects?

    3) Not really yoga? Kind of like the No True Scotsman argument.

  255. #255 Venna
    July 25, 2011

    @Ashtanga

    This does not become the ‘yoga thread’ simply because you say it is. This article isn’t about yoga, it’s about CR using surveys to determine the best woo to use. In essence it is a warning that a previously respected organization who used science to determine what their recommendations for consumers would be is now relying on opinions of brain washed groupies who partake in quackery. Yoga is not science and it never will be. Are you going to claim I’m another man feeling threatened? I might take issue with that if you do. Nobody wants to hear your off topic ranting so you need to go away. You are not in control here, as evidenced by the quick hand of Orac when it got too ridiculous on today’s blog comments. If you aren’t careful, you’ll become the next Jacob.

  256. #256 Gray Falcon
    July 25, 2011

    Ashtanga, what do you mean by “science”? I’d like to know if you bothered to read more than a single word of the article you’re posting on.

  257. #257 Gopiballava
    July 25, 2011

    Kelian is right:
    “Caregivers have got to play a bit of “me first” or else they can’t help anyone.”

    This is an important thing to remember. If you’re tired and burnt out you can’t help.

    EMS people are under strict instructions: don’t become an extra patient. Help out, but don’t do something dangerous. You’re just going to give the next team another patient.

    On airplanes, they always remind you: put your oxygen mask on first, then find somebody to help.

    Being a caregiver is tough. Often it seems “tougher than it should be”, whatever that means. Don’t beat yourself up thinking that Mary Poppins would do a better job; she doesn’t exist.

  258. #258 Gray Falcon
    July 25, 2011

    Ashtanga London, what do you mean by “science?” I need a definition, not a vague feeling. And it’s very clear you haven’t read the article, or you’d know that your observations alone are biased by your beliefs. For example, since you don’t have any records, there’s a good chance you’re not recalling anyone who wasn’t helped or was hurt by yoga, and you don’t know if it was the yoga or some other factor that was involved.

  259. #259 Gray Falcon
    July 25, 2011

    Did you bother to read the definition you cut and paste? If you had read the article or definition, you’d know why personal testimonies aren’t science. Tell me, are you infallible? Are you omniscient? Do you believe that any idea that you have must be correct, and that you don’t need to test it? Do you realize that for many years, bleeding as medicine was considered perfectly logical?

  260. #260 Johnny
    July 25, 2011

    Over at http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ , searching on ‘cake’, I read –

    from Old Norse kaka; related to Danish kage, German Kuchen

    Looking up ‘cart’, I read

    from Old Norse kartr; related to Old English cræt carriage, Old French carete

    Would you have any source to back up your claim, AL? Anything at all?

    If you’re wrong about ‘chakra’, what else are you wrong about?

  261. #261 Ashtanga London
    July 26, 2011

    Correct Venna, Your Hair is about as relevant to this thread as that anti-vax troll augustine. Also, when you say that science can’t prove yoga, I assume you are talking about the bullshit woo parts of yoga that don’t actually exist.

    In which case, you need to be arguing with Yogis on a Theology forum.

    When Yogis come to a science forum, it is with the ultimate aim of getting scientific descriptions of what we do (for you and for us).

    You know as well as I do that the scientific community has been rather slow on the uptake when it comes to yoga research. Masses of research has been done in India but I doubt you would accept it for obscure racist reasons.

    LOGIC:

    Uddiyana bandha is ‘keeping your lower belly drawn gently inwards and upwards’

    So imagine your ordinary exercise routine. However, you are doing a ‘sit-up’ in every position. That’s your +0.1
    It also (think about it) helps to prevent back injury. If you are going to willhle your spine back and forth like a paperclip, you can’t have a floppy lower back. The back is protected from the danger of Asthanga Yoga by employing Ujjayi breathing for heat and Uddiyana bandha for strength.

    No doubt you can find someone who hurt their backs doing Ashtanga Yoga.

    They are invariably people like Venna and possibly Orac who would reject the funny sanskrit named parts as potential woo, not realising they were actual physical actions which can be described, repeated and measured.

    There is NO WOO in my Ashtanga Yoga.

    Thank you Jarred for pointing out the relevance to the original post. I don’t think Venna actually read it!

    Finally: Augustine, It’s obvious why you are really anti-vaccine. Stop it, it’s mean and it won’t even work – not nowadays anyway!
    Venna, I don’t want you to go away. I want you to know that there is an exercise system which can help with your back and your knees.
    Back pain is a big problem for modern medicine. Not a big problem for 5000 year old medicine.

  262. #262 Gopiballava
    July 25, 2011

    1+1=2 is true because of counting. I’m fairly sure that it really is true because of counting stones. One criticism of Principia Mathematica is that it is descriptive rather than proscriptive. Its proofs, while valid, are only accepted due to arithmetic agreeing with them.

  263. #263 Gray Falcon
    July 25, 2011

    Come to think of it, does he have any explanation that “Uddiyana bandha = 0.1″ other than his personal intuition. For all we know, it could be 0 or a negative number. Then again, he declared “All exercise = 1″, which anyone with a basic understanding of the human body knows is false.

  264. #264 Ashtanga London
    July 26, 2011

    “At best, yoga is a placebo used to make people feel warm fuzzies. At worst it is deceiving people to believe it can cure things that it really can’t.”

    We call it the haircut test. People feel the same kind of things after woo yoga as they feel after having a haircut of style of similar duration.
    This is how we point out to people that woo-yoga has parallels ;)

    So we agree. Woo yoga and haircuts are not medicine, and woo yoga may be a con and woo yoga may even be dangerous if an unyogic fool chooses it instead of proper treatment rather than in addition to proper treatment.

    There is NO WOO in my ashtanga yoga, and it can all be scientifically measured and proven, if not already, then some day soon.

  265. #265 Venna
    July 25, 2011

    @ AL

    Why do you feel the need to bring my hair into this discussion? I didn’t mention it and nope, I don’t think I will go away because I am here to learn and to share my experience and knowledge with those who have sincere questions about science vs. non-science. Now, can we please get back on topic because you are arguing something you can’t win here because you are unable to provide any science to back up your claims and opinions. Please try to remember that just because you believe something, doesn’t mean everyone else does, or will, nor do they have to, particularly if you can’t provide science based evidence to back up your claims. That is what this blog is about, science, fact that can be proven methodically, not your opinion and religious belief system. Your argument is circular and you prove this by your own definition:

    “Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”

    Very good getting your definition from Google. You fail in the next statement:

    “Logically, my claims are correct even if they have not been experimentally verified.”

    Can’t be scientifically verified, there for it is not science, period. Can you see how this is circular? You claim to know what science is and that yoga is science, but you admit in the same sentence there is no science to back it up. There isn’t anything logical about your claims and they are only your claims. I could claim I have x-ray vision, but just because I claim it doesn’t mean it is true and if science is used to experiment and observe, it would become pretty clear that I don’t actually have x-ray vision. At best, yoga is a placebo used to make people feel warm fuzzies. At worst it is deceiving people to believe it can cure things that it really can’t.

  266. #266 augustine
    July 25, 2011

    Venna

    Please try to remember that just because you believe something, doesn’t mean everyone else does, or will, nor do they have to, particularly if you can’t provide science based evidence to back up your claims.

    I don’t believe in Medicaid. Is that science? Do you believe it is?

    That is what this blog is about, science, fact that can be proven methodically, not your opinion and religious belief system. Your argument is circular and you prove this by your own definition

    Do you think you health problems will be solved by a doctor?

    Since you are so harsh, is that too harsh for me to ask of you?

    You made it into you teenage years with any vaccinations correct? Does that prove you don’t need vaccination? You received a vaccination in your teenage years with dying, does that mean vaccines are safe for everyone?
    Should the government mandate vaccines for everyone?

  267. #267 Jarred C
    July 26, 2011

    Venna, to be fair, I don’t think Ashtunga’s yoga talk is off topic. Yoga was mentioned in the original post, and Orac usually harps on people who go too off topic (we’ll note that he has not done so in this thread, while he has done so in a thread where yoga was not mentioned at all).

  268. #268 Dangerous Bacon
    July 26, 2011

    “There is NO WOO in my ashtanga yoga

    Then how come it’s listed right there on the label?

    “Contents: Inactive ingredients (100%) – exotic Eastern appeal, wishful thinking, conceptual fuzz, WOO.”

    “and it can all be scientifically measured and proven, if not already, then some day soon.

    Be sure and leave us on speed dial in anticipation of that great day.

  269. #269 Ashtanga London
    July 26, 2011

    Mr Bacon, did you try that Ujjayi breathing? How did you get on?

  270. #270 Interrobang
    July 26, 2011

    Hey, Ashtanga,

    I have cerebral palsy, the spastic kind. I’m not physically capable of bending my body into most of those poses, because my muscles and tendons and connective tissue just don’t let me bend that way. And yet, according to you, that’s “of my own making.”

    Check your able-bodied privilege, jerk.

  271. #271 Ashtanga London
    July 26, 2011

    Hello Interrobang,

    I know an awful lot of differently-abled people who don’t have your victim mentality.

    Yes of course you can benefit from yoga and who cares how you came to be the way you are? Just move forward and take whatever it takes to make your life the best you can possibly have.

    All the best, don’t assume that I’m not disabled too, just because I am a yoga teacher.

    Even paraplegics have benefited from ashtanga yoga. Now excuse me I am going to read up on Cerebral Palsy.

  272. #272 Ashtanga London
    July 27, 2011

    Hey Interrobang, maybe you should google ‘cerebral palsy and yoga/massage’.

    Others with CP report positively. I don’t know if that means it reduces symptoms of if it’s just really nice to get a massage. Either way you can’t really loose.

    Just a thought, are you really CP or are you a sock puppet sent to test me? I’ve searched this blog and only that Jacob guy calls people ‘jerk’ – it’s very american.

    I found this meta-analysis of all the research into manual lymph draining. It looks inconclusive.
    J Man Manip Ther. 2009; 17(3): e80–e89.
    PMCID: PMC2755111

  273. #273 Chris
    July 27, 2011

    Mr./Ms. London, why are you still here?

  274. #274 Chris
    July 27, 2011

    Interesting. Ashtanga London, never acknowledged the accommodations made by the swimming public pool system that I wrote about earlier. Is she/he trying to make up for it now?

  275. #275 Ashtanga London
    July 27, 2011

    Hi Chris, I am a He, sorry if I overlooked something, I thought we’d agreed and disagreed:

    1) Swimming is great – agree
    2) Swimming is more dangerous than Yoga? – it depends on the yoga teacher.
    3) We all know what swimming is? – agree
    4) We cannot confirm that anyone on this blog actually understands what I mean when I talk about my definable system of woo free ashtanga yoga.
    5) I claim that swimming is unavailable to a significant proportion of global society whereas yoga is available to more people (but not all, some prisoners are prevented from practising yoga). So we disagree.

    All things being unequal, the average person is going to have to spend longer on getting in an hour of swimming than an hour of yoga, because there are more 8′ by 6′ flat spaces than there are swimming pools or suitable bodies of water within a given distance of many people’s domestic arrangements.

    So may I ask Chris, have you tried The breathing and the bandhas? I assume you’ve swum and so have I. Were my explanations unclear? Have you tried the breathing and/or the bandhas?

  276. #276 Ashtanga London
    July 27, 2011

    Hi Chris, I am a He, sorry if I overlooked something, I thought we’d agreed and disagreed:

    1) Swimming is great – agree
    2) Swimming is more dangerous than Yoga? – it depends on the yoga teacher.
    3) We all know what swimming is? – agree
    4) We cannot confirm that anyone on this blog actually understands what I mean when I talk about my definable system of woo free ashtanga yoga.
    5) I claim that swimming is unavailable to a significant proportion of global society whereas yoga is available to more people (but not all, some prisoners are prevented from practising yoga). So we disagree.

    All things being unequal, the average person is going to have to spend longer on getting in an hour of swimming than an hour of yoga, because there are more 8′ by 6′ flat spaces than there are swimming pools or suitable bodies of water within a given distance of many people’s domestic arrangements.

    So may I ask Chris, have you tried The breathing and the bandhas? I assume you’ve swum and so have I. Were my explanations unclear? Have you tried the breathing and/or the bandhas?

  277. #277 Ashtanga London
    July 27, 2011

    Dude I’m learning loads.

    Ashtanga is a form of exercise but you fail to offer an example of another exercise system which employs the techniques I specified.

    You’re not accommodating my disability (if I have one) because I have not disclosed one. I think that other guy was your troll sock puppet trying to catch me out. Nice one but I can see through you.

    OK Chris, do you have a large number of steps or a hill near where you live?
    You can see for yourself what Ujjayi breathing does to your physiological experience.

    You are incorrect if you think that Ashtanga Yoga is equivalent to other exercise and you are unable or unwilling to comprehend what I have written about it.

    Exercise / healthy lifestyle counts as preventative medicine (as opposed to woo which is a con, and is no kind of medicine).

    Chris you’re description of what I am doing here is wrong and you are just looking like a fool who can’t read or breath through his nose.

  278. #278 Ashtanga London
    July 27, 2011

    and I look like a fool who gets “your” and “you’re” mixed up.

  279. #279 Ashtanga London
    July 27, 2011

    Gray Falcon.

    No, unless you want to get into a silly argument that no PMIDs can resolve. Assuming the real world exists and is here for all of us, no I do not think that my perceptions define reality.

    If you’ve ever gone to a psychology website and read about how the mind plays tricks, misses things and fills in the gaps, you’d be a fool to believe something if you were the only person who’d had that experience.

    I had such a high fever a few years back I was seeing centipedes everywhere. Knowing that centipedes don’t really ever hang out with me much I kind of figured they weren’t real.

    Why do you ask? I’m just defining a system of moving and breathing, mainly because it shows that the word ‘yoga’ is an oversimplified concept for a whole bunch of different practices, some of which are just exercise, and some are just !”£$%^&*()_+!!!

  280. #280 Ashtanga London
    July 27, 2011

    That explains why your are conversing with me!

    You don’t care what I have to say. Brilliant Logic.

    I wonder if the two people who claimed to have experience of ashtanga are ever going to come back?

  281. #281 Chris
    July 27, 2011

    Again, I say, it is not any kind of medicine, but just another form of exercise. Exercise of all kinds are part of a healthy lifestyle.

    Why are still here? You obviously are not here to learn, but to push your silly stuff — and you still don’t have accommodations for folks disabilities.

    Stop troll like behavior.

  282. #282 Gray Falcon
    July 27, 2011

    Tell me, Ashtanga, are infallible? Do you think your perceptions alone define reality?

  283. #283 Chris
    July 27, 2011

    Chris you’re description of what I am doing here is wrong and you are just looking like a fool who can’t read or breath through his nose.

    I don’t really read your spam, because I truly don’t care what you have to say. You’re just a another version of Jacob.

  284. #284 Gray Falcon
    July 27, 2011

    So, why do you believe that the only proof you need to give that your methods work is your insistence that they do? You could be wrong. We need scientific rigor, not just your say-so.

  285. #285 Beamup
    July 27, 2011

    The spammer has previously stated that he wants us to help him prove it. He seems to miss that without proving it, he doesn’t have any grounds for the statements he makes. Also that it’s his burden to provide the proof if he wants to make the claims.

  286. #286 Chris
    July 27, 2011

    Idiot yogi spammer, I was originally addressing Interrobang. You just happened to stumble along and tried to engage me with a bunch of inane questions, and I replied I don’t give a flying frack on a rolling donut what you have to say. Something you seem to not understand.

    Work on your reading comprehension and stop troll like behavior.

  287. #287 Ashtanga London
    July 28, 2011

    Vicki, would you allow a yoga teacher who does not charge any fee to go to your friend’s house and help them if that person was an MD with a 3 year yoga therapy degree, £10 million public liability insurance and offered only yoga that was free from woo and also free from stretching i.e. completely outside of Orac’s definition of yoga.

    Also assuming the yoga teacher would contribute more heat to your friend’s house than would be lost by letting the Yoga teacher in and out?

  288. #288 Ashtanga London
    July 28, 2011
  289. #289 MetaCritique
    July 28, 2011

    I just read the piece critiqued here and think Orac was a bit disingenuous. First, the article explicitly points out that this might all be placebo effect *and* explicitly draws a comparison with sham interventions! Let’s be at least a little fair in our critique.

    Second, I think Consumer Reports has a pretty even hand here, and is simply presenting the evidence for their (mostly intelligent) readers to make their own decisions. Imagine you have a medical problem for which there is no very effective prescription medication (take fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis). If you’ve never had either of these, you are lucky. If you have, you know that if you’re in enough pain, at some point you’ll try almost anything.

    I took the point of this article to be, “if you’ve exhausted options in terms of prescription meds or have some kind of objection to them, you’ll want to do something else. Let’s work together to find out which other things could at least possibly help you, and which are a total waste of money for sure.” That is helpful to consumers.

    Et tu, Orac? As a member of the traditional medical community, are you only interested in supporting medical interventions from which you materially gain? Or is the goal still to help patients find solutions – and above all do no harm?

  290. #290 Vicki
    July 28, 2011

    MetaCritique:

    I know people with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. If they have run out of actual medications (or other treatments, such as massage) that can help, I don’t want to tell them to use their already-limited time and energy chasing things that won’t work. I don’t want someone encouraging a disabled friend who is already having trouble paying the heating bill to somehow drag herself out of the house, drive somewhere, and waste money on something that won’t help the pain. I wouldn’t even if she had the money, because a trip to some woo “clinic” uses up energy that she might use for something more productive, either boring things like laundry or some time playing guitar.

  291. #291 lilady
    July 28, 2011

    As usual when replying to any poster, in this case Interrobang who has spastic cerebral palsy, Yogi provides a citation number about an off topic meta study of manual lymph drainage.The citation number provided is invalid and begs the question “What does “manual lymph drainage” have to do with treatment of spastic cerebral palsy?

    This troll is clueless about any physical diseases and disorders, and in this particular case by recommending yoga for spastic cerebral palsy might result in bone fractures and dislocation of every joint in the body.

    @ MetaCritique: Your point being? Orac stated that he has a subscription to Consumer Reports, has enjoyed reading them even before he was making any purchases in his teen years, because he is not an expert on consumer products such as mattresses, appliances and cars. In addition, Orac has no room in the cramped lab where he studies breast cancer, for the driving oval to test new car handling, braking and rollover capabilities or the giant rollers that evaluate the usable lifespan of mattresses…he leaves that to the “experts” at Consumers Reports.

    Orac’s expertise is the design of unbiased randomized double-blind placebo controlled studies…the “gold standard” of research studies and analysis of the data produced. He is eminently qualified to evaluate other studies based on the strictness of adherence to the “gold standard” and to offer his opinion about the results of such studies.

    So do tell us where and how Orac was so “wrong” and we would also be interested in your analysis of the Consumer Reports Reader Subscriber survey…using the “gold standards”; please in your analysis remember the “gold standards”:

    1. The design of the study by “qualified” researchers

    2. The randomization of study participants

    3. The double-blinded component of the study

    4. The placebo controls component of the study

    Et tu, MetaCritiqe? As a member of the CAM community, are you only interested in supporting CAM interventions from which you materially gain? Or is the goal still to help patients find solutions – and above all do no harm?

  292. #292 augustine
    July 28, 2011

    Orac’s expertise is the design of unbiased randomized double-blind placebo controlled studies

    Aren’t ALL pharmaceutical scientists?

    the “gold standard” of research studies and analysis of the data produced.He is eminently qualified to evaluate other studies based on the strictness of adherence to the “gold standard” and to offer his opinion about the results of such studies.

    YEEoucch! Looks like mainstream medicine is in trouble then. ORAC is gonna come after Pharma in the name of truth and honesty.

  293. #293 lilady
    July 28, 2011

    Ugh Troll shows up again, with another dopey nasty comment, whenever I post.

    Ugh troll is in general a misogynist who directs its venom at all female posters here…truly a “textbook” case. I only conjecture here, but IMO the troll has a particular hatred for me due to his unsuccessful attempts to drive me off the site when I first started posting here. I remember only too well the number and occasions when troll took potshots at me and the specific topic (case criteria, case finding, contact investigation and prophylaxis used by epidemiologists to investigate pertussis cases) when he first called me “a liar”.

    He also posed the questions: Where did you go to school? and
    Where do you work? That is when I first questioned troll about his education, his college education and his gainful employment.

    After a number of other posters started questioning the troll, who would suddenly “disappear” or go off topic with his ramblings, we collectively realized that troll is uneducated, has no gainful employment and is on “the dole”.

    During the intervening months posters have persisted with these queries directed at the troll and troll totally and deliberately ignores them with his usual tactics of “disappearing” or rambling off topic tactics. Of course the questions are useless and rhetorical in nature, because of the exceptional ignorance he displays of a basic science skill set.

    Troll also has determined I am a bit older, so troll now latches on to me, a total stranger from the internet, to vent because of his mommy complex and the hatred it feels for the hapless woman who gave birth to him. Another textbook head case.

    He has busted so many times by posters here I lose count, but he still persists for his masochistic satisfaction (jollies), because he has a psycho-sexual disorder and “needs”.

    He is also a hypocritical christian…I despise hypocrisy, especially religious hypocrisy.

  294. #294 Ashtanga London
    July 29, 2011

    The wiki page on ‘psycho-sexual disorder’ explains that it this a discredited term for ‘A sexual problem that is psychological in nature’

    There are those who’s bread and butter depends on maintaining the illusion that the brain can be seen as independent from the body.

    There are those who believe that sex is not a problem until you label it as such.

    Analogous to an electric motor and a dynamo, the brain can move the body and, in return, if the brain is in the right ‘state’, it can accept ‘reprogramming’ via repetition of a specific set of movements.

    lilady, may I suggest you take white noise, a blindfold, and 666 jumping jacks every morning. It may cure that sexual problem concerning your compulsive labelling of others.

  295. #295 Ashtanga London
    July 29, 2011

    lilady perhaps you are confused because I am not sick? Or you are a troll.

    They’re not called ‘patients’ for nothing you know.

    All the ‘students’ (we don’t like to call them patients) who have practised yoga under my guidance over the last couple of decades have not been without illness or injury during their often lengthy spells in my classrooms. Not all (if any) of their injuries were obtained in my classroom. Actually, I can’t think of any that were? No-one has ever sued me or tried to get a settlement out of me. On the contrary, I’ve been hurt a few times by yoga teachers, other exercise instructors and doctors alike, so things aren’t so clear cut as you’d like them to be. I’ve never sued or sought a settlement.

    Occasionally I get to see them before and after they have taken a break from yoga to seek out conventional treatment for things that are not fixed by yoga itself.

    “YOU did that to you! Now your injury is your teacher. I’m not interested anymore.” – anonymous yoga guru, BC

  296. #296 Jarred C
    July 29, 2011

    Ashtunga said,

    There are those who’s bread and butter depends on maintaining the illusion that the brain can be seen as independent from the body.

    Really? Who? Everything I’ve learned about science and medicine goes counter to that claim, and any study of the endocrine system will flatly dispute it.

    On another note, I don’t think Ashtunga should be labelled as a troll. Unless I’m wrong, trolls are those who deliberately try to entice anger out of others by use of bad arguments (such as Augustine, Th1TH2, etc…). From what I’ve seen of Ashtunga, he has a strong focus on Yoga with a weak understanding of science, and always wants to bring the topic back to his personal favorite; but he certainly isn’t deliberately trying to “troll” people.

    Now, as a person with teaching experience, I always give this advice to those I teach: “Remember your roots. Remember where you came from.” This is important, because sometimes people forget that it takes years to learn something; sometimes people get angry when someone new comes along, and doesn’t understand or misunderstands the topics. I remember a professor I had in college; I once overheard him saying how he hates students, and he wishes he would never have to deal with them. As a student at the time, I was rather angry at that, I thought, “Hey! You were a student, too, at one point! Did you hate yourself back then?”

    It’s taken me years to get to the level of understanding I have about science and medicine, and I cannot expect someone naive to the subject to just automatically get it. I think a lot of us are falling into this trap with some of our newer posters, such as Ashtunga. I know I did when he first arrived.

    I’m not saying that you should change your mind or your attitude. All I’m asking is that you remember where you came from, that you too were once naive and ignorant of your favorite subject, and you too once had misconceptions and misunderstandings. Think of yourself back then; would you label yourself a troll?

  297. #297 lilady
    July 29, 2011

    @ Jarred C: You are being too kind to Yogi. It is a troll, and quite possibly a sock puppet of pothead Jacob. Notice how Yogi gives advice even on spastic cerebral palsy with a bogus dead end citation? Yogi is not naive. Firstly naive people acknowledge their lack of knowledge, don’t interject their phony knowledge on each and every thread and then back down without further comment or explaining “what he meant”.

    Troll immediately checks out Wikipedia whenever a disorder or a condition is discussed, stuffs factoids into its brain and then spouts off…totally ineffectively because it does not even understand what it just read from Google U…typical troll behavior.

    Orac has been patient with this “Yogi”, I am not.

  298. #298 Beamup
    July 29, 2011

    More of a spammer than a troll.

  299. #299 Scottynuke
    July 29, 2011

    I’d agree, Beamup, except AL has enough neurons firing to avoid constantly providing URLs to a commercial site, which I think would trigger Orac’s “Nevermore” subroutine. Intellectually, however, AL is totally a spammer.

  300. #300 Jarred C
    July 29, 2011

    Firstly naive people acknowledge their lack of knowledge, don’t interject their phony knowledge…

    “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” -Good ol’ Charles Darwin

    I can definitely see AL as a spammer, and perhaps a little obtuse (although, I withhold judgment on whether it is intentional), but not a troll or a sock-puppet. For one thing, he has tried to engage in rational conversation, although his attempts at interjecting the scientific method into his practice of yoga has been weak at best. As for the sock-puppetry, even if this is true, I doubt it is Jacob, Ashtunga’s posts are way too lucid for him. Don’t be fooled just because pot is brought up; as a California native, I see that subject brought up all the time by many different people.

    Ashtunga, you will benefit if you realize that the scientific method is more than just a simple method to follow, it is a way of thinking. Research starts small, with preliminary studies looking at simple aspects. My current research is a prelim study on extending the time-frame of detection for GHB (it’s used as a date-rape drug). I’m using rats. It’s a small study, with non-human animals. Even if it pans out, we still won’t know if my developed techniques will work on humans. And even if it does, we will still need to expand the test to many more subjects. What you seem to be doing is trying to force science onto the entire field of A. Yoga; this is the wrong way to do it. Start small, and work up. If you really want to figure out if A. Yoga really is the best exorcise system there is, then dedicate yourself to the research aspect. Start taking classes from your local college to learn how the entire system of systematic research works.

    The biggest thing I need to warn you about, however, is that as a human, you are likely to fall into the same trap that many humans fall into: conformational bias. This is when you do not follow the evidence, but rather you only take the evidence which confirms what you want to believe is true, while ignoring the evidence that contradicts what you want to believe is true. This it happens all the time. The only way to get past it is to be constantly vigilante against it, and even that is not enough. Which is why we do peer review and study replication. Those of us who do research do so because we want to find out how the world works; we do not do it because we want to prove that our favorite subject is true.

    This image exemplifies the difference between the scientific way of doing things, and what you’ve been doing these past few days: http://catdang.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/science-vs-religion1.png?w=450&h=333

  301. #301 Militant Agnostic
    July 29, 2011

    Jarred C @198

    If you really want to figure out if A. Yoga really is the best exorcise system there is, then dedicate yourself to the research aspect.

    Shouldn’t the evidence of demons be required first? :)

  302. #302 Jarred C
    July 29, 2011

    Militant Agnostic,

    Lol. I noticed that after I posted. Even missed it when I hit preview first.

  303. #303 MetaCritique
    August 1, 2011

    @Vicki I think we agree, actually. I was mostly interested in the massage ratings, because massage is something I sometimes recommend to patients (usually in conjunction with prescription meds, but not always). I’ve seen evidence (in journals, in individual patients) that it seems to help alleviate pain. I agree that if patients can’t afford it it’s not a good idea, but a massage school in our city occasionally accepts “volunteers” for students to practice on. These sessions still typically aren’t free, but the cost is greatly reduced and it seems that the school gives preference to volunteers there for medical reasons, which is very kind of them. I also agree with you that people need to prioritize in their lives, and if getting a massage means not meeting their basic needs then it’s not helping either. But I do think that even if the massage per se isn’t doing a lot, it can help people simply to step out of their houses for a few hours and interact with the world. I believe it helps prevent symptoms of depression, and that’s very important for both mental (obviously) and physical health.

    @lilady. Actually, relatively few of the research papers I read in medical journals truly fit the gold standard. Often times, they’ll throw in some subjective measures. I’ve seen lots of regression discontinuity designs, and lots of medical studies are (necessarily) not true experiments because it’s impossible to have random assignment to conditions in many cases (I have a PhD in statistics so I know my way around an experiment too.) My originaly point was that CR never claimed this *was* a true experiment. They went out of their way to say it was *not* a true experiment. So, I think some of the original criticism was a bit overblown. Obviously, if we can have double blind studies all the time with random assignment to treatment and conditions and we can test for Hawthorne effects by including sham internvetions, and, and, and… then that’s awesome! But that kind of study tends to be the exception, not the rule. And I for one wouldn’t really want to see us throw out any study that didn’t meet the strict criteria you outlined because frankly it wouldn’t leave us with much. I personally think it’s a question of weights.

  304. #304 lilady
    August 1, 2011

    @ MetaCritique: You still haven’t defined what your objections are to Orac’s critique of the Consumer Reports “survey” which you summed up in the last paragraph of your posting:

    Et tu, Orac? As a member of the traditional medical community, are you only interested in supporting medical interventions from which you materially gain? Or is the goal still to help patients find solutions – and above all do no harm?

  305. #305 Bob R
    September 27, 2011

    lilady hit it right on the head “first do no harm”. Does anybody really listen to the drug advertisement side effects? Find me a patented drug that has no dangerous side effects. Mainstream medicine never uses the word “cure”. They “treat’ disease with a pill or pills for the rest of your life. They try to stamp out all competition, not because they want us to be able to make wise choices as they claim, but because they want you on their drugs for life. The CDC reports that no one has ever died from any natural or alternative medicine. Of course the same cannot be said for main stream medicine. Mainstream medicine is the number one cause of death in America. We are 35th in the health of our citizens compared to other countries that spend far less per citizen. Research it for yourselves.

  306. #306 lilady
    September 27, 2011

    @ Bob R. Are you deliberately being obtuse…or are just plain stupid and didn’t read my original post to MetaCritique?

    Here it is again:

    @ MetaCritique: Your point being? Orac stated that he has a subscription to Consumer Reports, has enjoyed reading them even before he was making any purchases in his teen years, because he is not an expert on consumer products such as mattresses, appliances and cars. In addition, Orac has no room in the cramped lab where he studies breast cancer, for the driving oval to test new car handling, braking and rollover capabilities or the giant rollers that evaluate the usable lifespan of mattresses…he leaves that to the “experts” at Consumers Reports.

    Orac’s expertise is the design of unbiased randomized double-blind placebo controlled studies…the “gold standard” of research studies and analysis of the data produced. He is eminently qualified to evaluate other studies based on the strictness of adherence to the “gold standard” and to offer his opinion about the results of such studies.

    So do tell us where and how Orac was so “wrong” and we would also be interested in your analysis of the Consumer Reports Reader Subscriber survey…using the “gold standards”; please in your analysis remember the “gold standards”:

    1. The design of the study by “qualified” researchers

    2. The randomization of study participants

    3. The double-blinded component of the study

    4. The placebo controls component of the study

    Et tu, MetaCritiqe? As a member of the CAM community, are you only interested in supporting CAM interventions from which you materially gain? Or is the goal still to help patients find solutions – and above all do no harm?

    Posted by: lilady | July 28, 2011 11:40 AM

    Two months after the discussion closed you come trolling around here…Necromancing Troll.

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