Pharyngula

Sokaling integrative medicine

Funny business, this. Professor John McLachlan corresponded with the organizers of an international conference on integrative medicine, proposing some very peculiar ideas that he wanted to present. They were…intrigued. They asked him to flesh out his concepts in a formal abstract so that they could evaluate whether they were worthy of inclusion in their prestigious meeting, so he did, and here it is.

Abstract

Intensive study of the development of early human embryos indicates that there is a reflexology style homunculus represented in the human body, over the area of the buttocks. This homunculus corresponds to areas of clonal expansion (“Blaschko lines*”), in which compartments of the body have clear ontological relationships with corresponding areas of the posterior flanks. The homunculus is inverted, such that the head is represented in the inferior position, the left buttock corresponds to the right hand side of the body, and the lateral aspect is represented medially. The Blaschko lines mediate energy flows to parent areas, and lead to significant responses to appropriate stimuli. As with reflexology, the “map” responds to needling, as in acupuncture, and to gentle suction, such as cupping. Responses are stronger and of more therapeutic value than those of auricular or conventional reflexology. In some cases, the map can be used for diagnostic purposes. In both therapeutic and diagnostic interventions, a full case history must be taken, in order to define the best methods of treatment. In the presentation, anonymised case histories, “testimonies” and positive outcomes will be presented. The methodology does not lend itself to randomised double blind controlled trials, for obvious reasons.

Obviously, the involvement of a sensitive area of the body poses special challenges. Ethical practice is of significant concern. Informed consent must be obtained from all patients in writing, before either therapeutic or diagnostic procedures are commenced. Although exposure of the gluteal region is recommended, procedures can be carried out using draping if this is required in order to gain patient cooperation. Chaperones or same sex practitioners are recommended in the case of female patients.

Unfortunately, this novel paradigm may meet with closed minds and automatic rejection. Patience and understanding of “closed” mindsets is essential in order to advance this new discovery in a way commensurate with its importance.

*See for example http://dermnetnz.org/pathology/blaschko-lines.html.

I’m deeply disappointed that he didn’t cite my article on Blaschko’s lines, but despite the absence of a boost from my notoriety (OK, maybe it helped that he didn’t mention me), the committee pondered and pondered the obvious rubbish scribbled above, and accepted the presentation. Unfortunately, McLachlan has chickened out and decided not to travel to Jerusalem to stand in front of a bunch of quacks and babble out more nonsense in the same vein. It’s a shame! It would have been so easy — it’s not as if he’d have to actually collect any data.

Besides, I’d really like to see therapeutic ass-cupping become a common alternative medicine practice.