Your Friday Dose of Woo: A dead physicist rolls over in his grave--again

Pity poor Nikola Tesla.


It looks as though the woomeisters have found a way to abuse him yet again. I don't know what it is about Tesla, but he seems to be a magnet for such woo. Well, actually, I sort of do. Tesla was definitely a character and was known for a variety of strange beliefs during his lifetime. I'm pretty sure, though, that he never came up with anything like the Tesla Purple Energy Shield, which was lovingly described in this very forum about seven months ago. I'm also pretty sure that he never came up with anything like the Body Regenerator Tesla Coil, which starts out with this amazingly scientifically...something description of how a cell works:

Every cell in the body has a tiny battery in it. When those batteries becomes low from stress, injury, eating bad food, breathing bad air, drinking bad water or from disease it will have electrical difficulty. This device charges the cells back up just like a battery charger does to your cell phone.

Here we go again. Woos love to use analogies. Never mind whether the analogy is valid or not. Think of it above, though. Wouldn't it be nice if this analogy were true? Don't you get tired? I do. Everybody does. Wouldn't it be nice if there were an easy way to "recharge" your cells, just like plugging your cell phone into a battery charger? Certainly if there were, I'd be more than happy to plug myself in. Fortunately, a woman named Mary Seid has just what you need, courtesy of a long dead physicist. Even better, she invokes a scientist who's become a favorite on this blog, thanks to the growing use of his work in devising new ways to fight cancer. Yes, I'm talking about Otto Warburg:

Nobel Prize winner Otto Warburg found that Cancer is about 15 Millivolts of the cells, an aged cell is about 50 Millivolts and a normal cell is about 70 to 100 Millivolts This device powers the voltage back up in the cells so the chemicals, hormones and enzymatic processes can work properly.

I'm pretty sure that Dr. Warburg would not endorse this work. I'm also pretty sure that decreases in the voltage gradient in unhealthy cells is a consequence of, not a cause, of cellular derangements. Moreover, Warburg did his seminal work in the 1920s; it wasn't until the much later that microelectrodes were developed that would allow the voltage across any cell membrane to be measured. In the time that Warburg was doing most of his science, only the largest cells were amenable to having the potential across their membranes measured, cells like neurons. Be that as it may, even if this characterization of Warburg's work were true (and one of these days I'm going to have to look up the primary source of this to see what Warburg really said), it would not follow that you could use a device to "recharge" your cells. Well, at least that's what science tells us. Seid tells us something different:

Nikola Tesla technology has been the most powerful devices I have studied for balancing the body. This device fills up your cells literally with energy. This device creates a wide range of pulsed electromagnetic fields which raises the cells vibration to an optimal state of health.

When cells are charged to a high vibration then nutrition can be absorbed and waste products can be dumped. This also increases your oxygen intake. Deactivates pathogens.

Wouldn't you like your cells to be "filled up literally" with energy? (I love the use of the word "literally" here.) Just be careful. I have to wonder if all that energy would put your cells in danger of bursting or of frying like an egg. Of course, all that energy is for nothing if your cells aren't also raised to the "optimal" vibration, and, as we all know, in woo-world, vibration and energy can be used interchangeably. We also know that in woo world, pretty lights are critical, as this picture of the heart of the device shows:


And the complete device:


This is a description of the device:

There are 6 plasma bulbs charged in a hexagonal shape on the crown of the Tesla coil. Neon, argon, helium, krypton, zenon and E-gas which is a combination of three proprietary gases. These are fixed and not interchangeable. However you can tell me which tubes you would like. An extra tube for holding in your hands, rolling on your skin or to place in a glass of water for charging is another $100.00 If you would like an extra Crown with the plasma bulbs per your design call me

What a bargain!

But, I'm sure you're wondering, how does one use this wondrous device and gain the full benefits of having your cells recharged like your iPod? It's so easy it could only have come from the best top-flight woo:

Just stand or sit two to three feet in front of the Body Regenerator for 3 minutes on and 2 minutes off and then 3 minutes on again for a session. You also can sit up to as many as 6 people at a time around the device and take donations.. Many practitioners and laypersons do this for added income.

"Added income"? Rare is it to see such honesty in a description of a device. Certainly it will mean "added income" for Ms. Seid, as one of these babies will set you back $2,300, plus $500 for international shipping if you live outside the U.S.

But let's say that this device isn't enough for you. Let's say that your cells are so discharged that charging them up on the Body Regenerator Tesla Coil will just take far too long--like a whole hour, for example. That could put a serious crimp into your woo profit potential. After all, turnover and throughput, as they are for fast food restaurants, are the keys to making lots of money in the woo biz. In that case, you need the deluxe version of the Body Regenerator Tesla Coil. You need the Novalight. In fact, you might want the Novalight anyway, given that it appears to be much more powerful than the mere Body Regenerator. After all, it's bigger, and it has twelve, instead of six, noble and inert gas tubes arranged in concentric rings. That means it must be better, right? It's also much more expensive, but no price is too much to be energized, is it? Get a load of this:

Tesla Photon Machine is one of the Tesla coil class of therapy devices which creates pulsed electromagnetic fields that deliver broadband, wide-spectrum, non-thermal photons and electrons deep into biological tissue. In his book, Bioelectromagnetic Healing, Tom Valone writes, "With the short term, non-contacting exposures of several minutes at a time, such Tesla high voltage pulsed electromagnetic field devices may represent the ideal, non-invasive therapy of the future, accompanied by surprising lack of harmful side effects."

That's probably because it doesn't actually have any effects, of course, but that's just the nasty skeptic in me talking. But let's hear more:

What does "raising cells' vibrations" mean biologically and scientifically? According to Mr. Valone, after his review of the scientific literature, devices like the Novalite 2000 Tesla Photon Machine:

Induce a flood of negatively charged electrons that penetrate the clothing and skin, terminating free radicals.

Penetrate the body easily, inducing microamperes of intercellular current, which may stimulate some degree of intracellular electroporation.

Increase ATP production levels in the cells due to the abundance of energetic electrons.

Feed the healthful respiration portion of the Krebs cycle, rather than the cancerous fermentation portion.

Amazing. Apparently this machine claims to be able to reverse the Warburg effect. Does that mean this machine can cure cancer? But, wait, there's more in the way of claims:

The Novalite has 12 noble and inert gas tubes that are precisely positioned in a concentric ring to create a strong electromagnetic field around the machine. The gas tubes have been selected to develop specific results within the bio-photonic spectrum.

Some of the tubes contain argon, krypton, and water vapor. Activated by a low power laser, it produces all the frequencies needed to resonate a higher pitch within your body. This electromagnetic field is unique; it raises the vibrational levels of your body to the highest of oscillations, where they were originally designed to be.
During each session, you are bathed in a natural micro-current energy that circulates throughout the body.

The Novalite 3000 provides two types of energy: electrical and electro-magnetic.These two types of energy working together increase the body's cells electrical and bio-phototonic environment.

This allows dysfunctional cells to return to a more perfect and natural state.

Sure it does. At $8,500 a pop, more like it allows Seid's dysfunctional bank account to return to a more perfect state of fullness.


Lest you think that recharging your cells is the only benefit of these two devices, be sure to check here. It seems as though there's nothing these machines can't do:

The Enhancer is number one device to me because it moves the lymphatic system and the circulatory system so quickly that it flushes out heavy metals and chemicals (detoxifying).

Of course! No woo is complete without a reference to detoxification!

It also charges up your cells with energy like charging up your cell phone battery. It puts ozone which is a germicide into the blood that quickly turns into oxygen.

Just what you need: Ozone in your blood.

It makes the cells more permeable so the toxins can flush out and the nutrient rich blood can enter. It also unsticks the sticky red blood cells by putting back the north magnetic field around the cells so they repel each other so they start flowing again unstuck.

I would be remiss if I didn't point out that this is physiology with which I am not familiar. Certainly, I don't recall ever encountering it in medical school. For one thing, it's probably inadvisable to make your cells more permeable. There's a word for a cell that's too permeable: Dead. Just like Tesla. Except that these cells won't roll over in their graves, as Tesla is no doubt doing again in response to this woo invoking his name.

Believe it or not, though, there is one useful device that's being sold on Ms. Seid's website. It's an actual medical device; indeed I was shocked when I saw it. Seid is selling an inexpensive pulse oximeter. I don't know how it got there, given that it's a real device not unlike what we use in the operating room, the hospital, and the E.R. to measure the oxygen saturation of patients' blood. Although, for healthy people with no heart or lung problems, a pulse oximeter is not much use; it will nearly always read in the high 90s, and a percent here or there matters little. It might also be useful for mountain climbers. Of course, what Seid really wants you to use it for is because, as she puts it, "Some scientist believe cancer and other illnesses are caused from low oxygen content in the blood ."

Again, I wonder who these "some scientists" are. Probably the same scientists who tell her that all of these devices have utility. You know, Ms. Seid's website is almost as full of primo woo as Life Technology, although, sadly, it lacks that certain ineffable je ne sais quoi craziness that only the Life Technology guys can provide. That's OK, though. Give Ms. Seid time. I'm sure she kick it up a notch.

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Yeah, making one's cell membranes more permiable to say Ca++ sounds like one of the worst ideas: colour me hideously doomstruck. Every muscle cell contracted, a vast number of intracellular signalling processes set off, that sounds like a bundle of fun.

By hellocthulu (not verified) on 16 Nov 2007 #permalink

Okay... so she's selling what are basically either neon or inert gas arc lamps? for $1500?
Woo.. what a scam! And here I was feeling down about my friend for working for a telemarketing company . . .

Tesla is almost the Piltdown Man of Electronic woo.
He made some big strides in high-power electrics, invented some fairly odd items and has been used as an excuse for everything from "a car that runs without gas" to the above-mentioned woo.
Well, Tesla did make some fairly extraordinary claims, a few of which he even provided extraordinary evidence for.
This makes him an easy target for woo-miesters and cranks.

Why do they make you spend 8 minutes recharging yourself? I'm going to make my own recharger that will do the same thing as his, but it'll take a mere 30 seconds. I'll be rich I tell you.

PS to my first comment:
Yes, I know Piltdown Man was a fraud. Using Tesla as an excuse for Woo is not much different than using the skull of a dead ape as a hoax.
Now, off to sort out my Orgones.

"Why do they make you spend 8 minutes recharging yourself? I'm going to make my own recharger that will do the same thing as his, but it'll take a mere 30 seconds. I'll be rich I tell you."

That reminds me of that scene from "There's Something about Mary"... :)

There's a few neon beer signs down at the local pub. I think I'll sit in front of those for a few minutes instead.

Wow! That looks so technical. They should add a hard drive into it, so it can record your life-energy patterns over time and, uh, play them back as a modulation atop the E-field, so that it restores and invigorates your existing patterns. Wouldn't want to overlay someone else's patterns, now, would we?

We should have an invent-a-woo contest. Or maybe it's already happened.

I'm just noticing how (un)energetic the lady is looking in that picture. That Mona Lisa smile (has left.) But it does look like the device may have sucked the botox out (along with her retirement check for the month), so maybe I better not be too doubtful.

I don't know what it is about Tesla, but he seems to be a magnet for such woo.

Tesla? Magnet? I can see the attraction.

By notmercury (not verified) on 16 Nov 2007 #permalink

I fill up my cells with lots of energy by eating lots of food and sugary sweets. I think myself and the woo-peddler should starve ourselves for a day or two (Albeit allowing water) and then recharge ourselves by our preferred methods. Then we have a wee fight, or jog for 5km or something. I wonder who would win.

Marcus - I love the idea of an invent-a-woo contest, but rational people would have a handicap. Maybe if there were a prize, like, say, $1M from a bearded chap in Florida.

notmercury - GROAN!

By obscurifer (not verified) on 16 Nov 2007 #permalink

Still way to expensive even for a conversation piece in the living room.

Patrick is right, seems to have flushed the hell out of something in Mary based on the photo....

She should hire Jenny McCarthy to sit next to it, she really made a marketing blunder with her in the photo.

If Jenny was caressing it and claiming she gets moist when shes around it I might be interested in learning more about this amazing plasma device....

By Uncle Dave (not verified) on 16 Nov 2007 #permalink

Some of these claims seem fairly testable. Why isn't Ms. Seid clammoring to take the JREF million dollar challenge? Hmm... Nevermind, I know why.

The novalight site is great. Here are some more gems:

"The blood zapper can make your blood so pure from germs that it can live almost 60 days on a microscope slide without dying. Normal blood is dead in 3 to 4 days. Immortal blood perhaps?"

you can see the chakras/auras change as the site owner kisses her husband or as they make love (a little scary...)

apparently her husband "works at Lockheed Martin on the rockets at Cape Canaveral for many years as a rocket scientist.""" Ha Ha Ha...yeah right.

Wow, this is concentrated woo!

Some of my "favorite" parts:

[1] "Induce a flood of negatively charged electrons that penetrate the clothing and skin, terminating free radicals."

Well, at least they got the charge on the electron right. I had to wonder, though: the radiation safety people are always harping on how getting too much exposure to 32P (a beta-emitter) is bad for me.

Are they just part of the "Big Pharma" and AMA conspiracy or are they are they trying to save me from an early death from cancer?

And as far as "terminating free radicals", free electrons are a great way to make free radicals.

[2] "Nobel Prize winner Otto Warburg found that Cancer is about 15 Millivolts of the cells, an aged cell is about 50 Millivolts and a normal cell is about 70 to 100 Millivolts This device powers the voltage back up in the cells so the chemicals, hormones and enzymatic processes can work properly."

It's scandalous how they pick on a poor dead guy who can't defend his reputation. Still, I assume they mean that if I can return my "aged cells" (and I have a lot of them) to 70 - 100 millivolts membrane potential that they will be young again?

How about if I just grabbed the terminals of my car battery - would that do it? I did that when I was a teeneager (by accident) and I certainly felt better after I let go.


Orac writes: "Wouldn't it be nice if there were an easy way to "recharge" your cells, just like plugging your cell phone into a battery charger? Certainly if there were, I'd be more than happy to plug myself in."

I do not know. I plug myself into my wife and we both get a charge out of it. Feels like every cell in the body when max charge is reached. Unfortunately, the charge does not last long, then exhaustion sets in.

Can't Tesla's descendants (or Warburg's, for that matter) sue people like this to avoid having their ancestor's name appropriated and his reputation tarnished by association with this claptrap? If not, why not?

~David D.G.

By David D.G. (not verified) on 16 Nov 2007 #permalink

"Feed the healthful respiration portion of the Krebs cycle, rather than the cancerous fermentation portion."

I assume she means the Cori cycle after glycolysis? Didn't realize exercise was giving me cancer.

Dan said "Can't Tesla's descendants"

He had descendeants?

From the biography I read he never married. The closest thing he had to children were the pigeons he fed on his walks in his later years, about the time his mental health could be questioned.

He was brilliant... but very very odd.

It's obvious this device is wrong because you should really use a Total Shield which not only neutralises EMFs but also protects against that well known syndrome, Geopathic Stress.

Good thing it doesn't cause a flood of positively charged electrons.

Aren't most woos deathly afraid of EMFs - they should stay away from this device.

This device doesn't live up to the Tesla name for sure - it is quite lame compared to the stunts Tesla did with high voltage AC.

By Freddy the Pig (not verified) on 17 Nov 2007 #permalink

Invent-a-woo? Heck, why not?
Only the idea behind MINE would be that it could be easily seen as a scam. Here goes:
THE UBER-PURIFIER! Here's how it works: the DETOX-PATCHES (duct tape) connect to the SPIRIT COILS (pipe cleaners) and wrap around the ENERGY CRYSTALS (a pile of lemon Jolly Ranchers) which are activated by the BATTERY! (a shoebox with "BATURY" written on top) Simply place the DETOX-PATCHES on the palms of your hands for 5 minutes a day and you'll be ready to face the world! Only $99,999,999 plus tax.

By Laser Potato (not verified) on 19 Nov 2007 #permalink