An amusing bath of crank magnetism


It was a long day in the operating room again, albeit unexpectedly so as a case that I had expected to be fairly straightforward turned out to anything but. Let’s just say, when I’m peeling tumor off of a major blood vessel, my anal sphincter tone is such that if someone were to stick a lump of coal up there it would come out a diamond. Fortunately, everything turned out fine (damn, if I don’t sometimes know what I’m doing), but that, plus the other cases, drained. This seems to be happening more and more often these days, which means that I’d better get my lab funded quick before I’m forced to do two or three times more cases than I’m doing now just to support myself. Yes, that’s how it works; you either support yourself at an academic institution by operating or by getting grants (which, with NIH funding levels stagnant—declining, actually, when adjusted for inflation—for the last several years, the grant funding situation just doesn’t look that good, or you support yourself by doing what doctors do and seeing patients (or, in my case, doing what surgeons do and operating).

Enough of my whining, though. Just because I was beat when I got home tonight doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve at least an abbreviated blast of Insolence from the old master himself. Remembering that an abbreviated blast of Orac’s Insolence, Respectful or otherwise, is longer than most other blogger’s regular posts, you won’t lack for anything. Besides, it’ll be fun, especially if you join in the comments.

I and others (Mark Hoofnagle) have written about a phenomenon common among cranks known as crank magnetism. It’s a very simple concept describing a widespread phenomenon among cranks of all stripes. Basically, what crank magnetism describes is the tendency of a believer in one form of pseudoscience (like alternative medicine) or science denialism (such as denial of anthropogenic global climate change or evolution denial, the latter of which is more commonly referred to as creationism) to believe in other forms of pseudoscience or science denialism. Examples are many, but the one I like to use is—surprise! surprise!—Mike Adams, whose hatred of scientists whose science he doesn’t accept is legendary but who buys into an astonishing variety of woo and conspiracy theories, ranging from many forms of alternative medicine, rabid hatred of vaccines and, even more so, psychiatry, as well as New World Order conspiracy theories that would make even Alex Jones blush. Or maybe not. After all, Adams worked for Alex Jones for a while. (I don’t know if he still does.)

So it’s not surprising that antivaccinationists often fall prey to crank magnetism. However, seldom does it happen as hilariously as two examples I’ve come across. First, here’s a little context. Regular readers might know that I subscribe to many e-mail lists (and Twitter feeds) run by cranks. The reason is simple: They deliver fresh blogging material to my in box or Twitter feed, a seemingly never-ending, inexhaustible supply of woo, conspiracy theories, and the like from which I often choose the topics of my posts. So it was that I’ve been subscribing to Generation Rescue’s e-mail list. Generation Rescue, as you might remember, is the antivaccine group originally founded by J. B. Handley based on the idea that “autism is a misdiagnosis for mercury poisoning” (ah, how 2004!) but later evolved into a more all-purpose, inclusive antivaccine group welcoming basically any idea about autism causation, as long as it involved vaccines (and, to a lesser extent, environmental contaminants). Later, the organization was put in the hands of celebrity antivaccination in chief, Jenny McCarthy.

In any case, GR’s latest newsletter induced but a single reaction in me: Uproarious laughter. Here’s what it said. The subject was “Who’s the new kid on the block. No, not Jenny’s husband,” and the answer was:

If you were at the Autism Education Summit in Dallas a few weekends ago, then you probably know whom we’re talking about! The IonCleanse® foot bath from A Major Difference made “a major difference” to the attendees who got to try it.

Whoa. Talk about crank magnetism! Ion cleansing foot baths? That really brings back memories, such as this post from seven years ago entitled A soothing footbath of woo, a post you newbies (and even you not-so-newbies) should go back and read. “Detox footbaths,” remember, are claimed to draw “toxins” (yes, those unnamed, mysterious unnamed toxins). The evidence? The water bath, which is loaded with salt and through which a weak current is run, turns a nasty brownish-red color after your feet have been in in a while. Of course, what no one tells you is that the water turns that same color through electrolysis if your feet aren’t in the water. It’s a lovely scam, and it would appear that Generation Rescue is falling for it. Of course, as usual, GR’s timing couldn’t be worse, given that Brian Clement, the quack who is treating the First Nations girl from Ontario, is a fan of the Aqua Chi detox footbath. (OK, different brand, same quackery.)

The e-mail sends the reader to the Facebook page of A Major Difference:

And includes this sales pitch:

While AMD is the new kid on the block here at Generation Rescue, they’ve been “detoxing the planet two feet at a time” since early 2002. As many of you are already aware, toxicity is one of the major factors in autism spectrum disorders.

AMD claims that users of their foot baths, especially young children, feel calmer with less aggression and a greater ability to focus. Can you imagine what life could be like if your child exhibited any of these benefits? Can you imagine how much better he or she would progress with the other therapies? One very proud mother did imagine the possibilities and is excited to share her son’s incredible experience in this video.

Naturally, I couldn’t resist heading on over to the A Major Difference website, and all I can say is, “Whoa.” Or should I say, “woo”? Detox footbaths galore are on sale, ranging from the IonCleanse®Solo® Package for only $1,995 to the IonCleanse®Premiere® Package for only $2,895. What a bargain! Perhaps the most hilarious part of the website, which might be worth a post of its own one day, is the research section, complete with a report on the ions in the footbath from—I can’t stop laughing—Doctor’s Data! Seriously, guys, Doctor’s Data?

In any case, it’s a lovely example of crank magnetism, but it’s not the only one. Remember The Thinking Moms’ Revolution, that self-absorbed coffee klatch of mommy warriors with a love of wine, a hatred of science-based medicine, and a level of Dunning-Kruger effect powerful enough to produce a black hole of stupid? They’re mainly antivaccinationists, but lately they’ve been branching out into other forms of woo in true crank magnetism style. First up, it was energy healing. Now they’re into The One Quackery To Rule Them All, homeopathy, and they’re into it hard. Not only are they presenting an eConference on homeopathy, but they’ve been writing paeans of praise to homeopathy, including Homeopathy at Home and The Healing Power of Homeopathy.

Crank magnetism. It lives.

More like this

One of the most reliable indicators of a quack clinic that I know of (besides its offering homeopathy and reiki) is the inclusion of “detox foot bath” treatments on its roster of services. Detox foot baths, whatever the brand, are of a piece with other “detoxification” pseudoscience involving the…
Celebrities who support pseudoscience and quackery are worse than regular, run-of-the-mill believers because they have a much larger soapbox than any of us do. I have a pretty healthy blog traffic for a medical blog, but even I don’t reach more than maybe 10,000 people a day. Even at my not-so-…
Living and practicing surgery in Michigan, it’s not surprising that I am very concerned about a bill being considered in the Michigan House of Representatives. The bill, HB 4531, would license naturopaths as health care providers. In fact, it would give them a very broad scope of practice, defined…
It’s been a while since I paid attention to the movie, but the publicity among the antivaccine movement for Andrew Wakefield’s and Del Bigtree’s movie VAXXED: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe continues apace. Sadly, I missed my opportunity to see Bigtree himself doing a Q&A for the movie when it…

To me those prices sound more like a wallet cleanse.

Mr Woo has been interested in these forever (there is always at least one vendor demonstrating them at the state fair). The very high cost makes him hesitate, thank goodness, though he did end up talked into a foot vibrator that shakes everything when it is on. It is supposed to reinvigorate and restore blood flow.

It is frustrating to watch. He is a good man, but if the pitch is delivered confidently with a hint of plausibility or a nod to "suppressed cures," dollars to doughnuts if the money is in the bank, he'll try it.

At least these aren't bleach enemas. Poor kids...

A desperate person sold on woo will spend thousands that could have gone to better treatment or improving quality of life. I see this firsthand every year. When I am angry, I wonder how the cons sleep at night. When I am feeling more kindly, I wonder if they believe in their own products. many of these devices would have been right at home in the Kellogg clinics.

What is old is new again, as long as you can make money off of it.

When I looked at the "analysis" report, the large quantity of chromium struck me as very odd. Then I looked at the web page for the electric wash basin and found that it could be supplied with an "array" of type "316" or "304/321". These are designations for stainless steel alloys, which are of course loaded with chromium - 316 is about 17% chromium. Chloride corrosion of stainless steel is a well-known problem.

Anyone want to challenge them to run the "footpath" without feet in it?

Such basic chemistry fail....

A basic chemistry fail, yes - but what A Major Difference this scam must make to the bank account balances etc. of those concerned!

[Sorry, I really couldn't help myself...]

By AntipodeanChic (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

Simultaneously challenge them to run multiple footbaths on the same person in succession, without breaks in between.

Surely at some point all the toxins that can be removed will have been removed and the bath will stop turning red...right?

It was Ben Goldacre who used his (then) girlfriend's Barbie Doll for one of these Detox foot baths. The water was the same colour and all he had was a soaked Barbie and a mad girlfriend.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

Lawrence, the analysis report claims the values are from runs without feet and with feet.
I'm not willing to waste the time to view all their videos to see how the thing is used, but my suspicion is that the higher concentrations of ions with feet is due to nothing more than foot movement improving the availability of fresh electrolyte at the surfaces of the "array", thereby increase the rate of galvanic corrosion of the array.

Science Mom: If it was a MIB Barbie with tags, I'm not surprised she got mad. Those things are expensive.

In defense of the product, it can double as a catch basin for a colon cleanse.
What I'm not clear about is whether the bath can be done in conjunction with an earthing mat. Will it remove the healing negative ions drawn up from the earth into my fatigued adrenals? Advice?

By CTGeneGuy (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

I've to use my both hand to facepalm at this.
Outright quackery ! I wonder something...
Why selling a house (or a car, or something) that doesn't exist will put you to jail, whereas selling medicine that doesn't exist will not ?
I mean it's pretty easy to prove that is wrong and only about money. It could be an entire empire to build for laywers.

Their users are "calmer and have less aggression . . .". Well, I imagine that almost any human being would be calmed and soothed by a nice, hot foot bath, no matter what was in the water. Especially if a foot rub is involved. Just for the record: I'm always ready to be a guinea pig for this sort of experimentation, and once again, especially if a foot rub is involved.

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink


Why selling a house (or a car, or something) that doesn’t exist will put you to jail, whereas selling medicine that doesn’t exist will not ?

Ah, but it does exist and they will ship it to you. However, as it says on their money-back guarantee page,

The IonCleanse® system is not a medical device, and therefore we cannot make any claims regarding treatment, diagnosis, cure, or prevention of any disease or ailment.


By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

"the analysis report claims the values are from runs without feet"

Wasn't Runs Without Feet the Ojibway medicine man who gave the formula for essiac to Rene Caisse?

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

M O'B @ 15 -- longtime readers of this blog will recognize your second quotation as the obligatory "Quack Miranda Warning".

By palindrom (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

@Shay #11:

If it was a MIB Barbie with tags, I’m not surprised she got mad. Those things are expensive.

Irrelevant -- this was done in the cause of science!

By Rich Woods (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

This is very bad news.

I guess my stock in Japanese Kinoki Detox Foot Pads - As Seen on TV® is soon to be worthless.
It is a shame as they turn a satisfying brownish-black colour demonstrating just how toxic your feet really are and verifying that your wife's complaints are legitimate.

Back to the Dark Ages!

As Seen on TV

I find those four words to be highly useful when they appear in an advertisement. It's a reliable sign that the primary purpose of the advertised product is to separate marks--excuse me, customers--from their money.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

So, preventing crank magnetism by approving of people's first crank so they don't turn to stronger crank, just to get high, I mean to not feel so alone? Harm reduction strategies are sexy nowadays.

I love this bit from the instruction manual for the IonCleanse Premier:

Great care should be taken with reluctant or overly skeptical clients who are suffering from pathologies or are under the allopathic care system. These individuals do not understand the alternative healing paradigm and are not prepared to undergo the rigors of detoxification.

Yes. Only use it with particularly gullible individuals, for they are the only ones ripe for fleecing...I mean, who can handle the rigors of detoxing.

Ha! It also instructs quacks to use applied kinesiology to tell if a client is "electrical":

To Determine If a Client Is Electrical
1. Have the person hold an arm either straight out or off to the side (see instructional video).
2. Instruct him/her to resist, and then apply gentle pressure to the arm just above the wrist. You should get a strong response virtually all of the time. If not, refer the client to a chiropractor or physician.
3. Next, place your index finger on the bridge of the client’s nose and again instruct them to resist.
4. Test the arm again. The client’s arm should go weak and they should not be able to resist as they did on the initial try. If there is still strong resistance, the client is not electrical and should not be bathed.
5. If the client is electrical, go on to determine session option.

These things don't amuse me at all. Chromium allergies are not real common, but they are among the most dangerous of contact allergies. I don't intend to try these feet things, but I can see them killing me. No hyperbole--I don't really know how much ionized chromium is in that vile stew, but I wouldn't advise anyone to experiment with their non-verbal children.

By ChristineRose (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

the TMs are trying to find ways to make money- those e-conferences are not free : they sell books and trinkets and partner with healthy food companies as well and have a charity or two going- one funds woo for other TMs and they are soliciting for the surviving child and spouse of the late BK

-btw- Killer first sentence!.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

OT, but AoA has really outdone itself today, with Laura Hayes reporting on a Warrior Mommy who is irate that a hospital won't diagnose her son with... tetanus. She shows up in the comments to add that he's apparently had it on and off since June and that she suspects six other cases.

@Todd W.

To Determine If a Client Is ElectricalSuggestible

Fixed that for them.

AMD claims that users of their foot baths, especially young children, feel calmer with less aggression and a greater ability to focus.

I recently had a footbath that left me much calmer and with less aggression. I went to get my regular acrylic fill (I have ugly brittle nails, and the acrylic holds up to the demands of both SCIENCE and maintaining my motorcycles), and they had a mani-pedi special. I got my toenails trimmed and painted, a warm foot bath, and a foot and calf rub with lotion. Oh, it was heavenly. And without all that woo tacked on, only ~$30 for both hands and feet! I tipped with gratitude.

I won't say that it improved my focus, though, because I ended up in a bit of a blissed-out relaxation haze.

By Roadstergal (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

Wasn’t Runs Without Feet the Ojibway medicine man

You are confusing him with the Wendigo.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

Ah Roadstergal you are right on. I love a good pedicure. A lot cheaper than the ion thingy, you get a nice massage, and I even went to a salon which did paraffin foot dips. I tried it, it was interesting, a bit hot at first but not bad. And there was even a man in there getting his feet groomed. I made my hubby do a spa day with me once and we had a pedicure together (after promising not to have his nails painted). He did not enjoy the experience for some reason, he has really sensitive feet and kept yelping every time the poor lady touched him. But I'll take a good pedicure any day over spending the money on one of those things. I could have a pedicure a week for a year and not spend that kind of money. Oh earlier someone made a comment about Kellogg, oh how I laughed. Hubby and I have a copy of Road to Wellville again (our old copy was VHS and sadly the VCR died) and I love that movie. I highly recommend it to everyone here, the whole thing is hilarious and crammed full of the woo therapies of the day. Which incidentally don't look much different than the woo therapies of today including the obsession with the enema. Best quote:
Kellogg: 'Take Mr. Lightbody to the yogurt room and give him 10 gallons.'
Lightbody: 'I can't eat 10 gallons of yogurt!'
Kellogg: 'Oh it's not going in that end Mr. Lightbody.'

It seems that believers in one form of woo tend to fall for other forms of woo for multiple reasons. One of them I think involves a sense of affinity with other people who aren't afraid to "think outside the box" or "fight the materialist hegemony." You're both on the same side, so you can trust what they say.

Which is why I still remember the shock my woo-believing friends experienced when I pointed out that one of the alt-med naturopaths they had just warmly endorsed was also a holocaust denier. Yes, I told them -- look it up. There was a very uncomfortable silence.

I wish I could remember who it was (I'm sure someone here can remind me) -- it was a woman in California iirc. Point is -- wrong type of nonsense. These were politically liberal New Agers who would never, in a million years, argue that the Jews were lying about the death camps. That wasn't the Establishment they wanted to fight against.

But really, once you've gone off the rails into pseudoscience and conspiracy thinking who are you to criticize anyone who uses the very same methods to go in any other direction?

Kiiri -

paraffin foot dips

I hope that was paraffin wax and not what the British call paraffin.

Though,as the Pope said, who am I to judge? Use whatever form of paraffin you like.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

@ Narad:

OMFG you are so correct.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

@ Sastra:

I suspect that alties accept all sorts of woo and conspiracies because their knowledge of science and that of ' how the world works' are amiss and furthermore, they don't comprehend why people behave as they do and their motivation- so it's really a double problem that underlies crank magnetism-
oddly, these abilities don't always run together- you can be bad at science but good at people or the reverse. I think, however that to swallow woo you need double blindness

For example, woo-meisters usually crow about how they are ahead of science ( how likely is that?). They claim convoluted imbroglios of malfeasance to explain why they are dismissed as loons ( how likely is it that the whole of science would be wrong and one uneducated person correct?) Also, they claim to be humanitarians, not money-hungry entrepreneurs ( and marks believe this unlikely story)..

they can't assess that there's no way in h3ll that this above system would work and they can't 'see into' the inner workings of salesman and charlatans. Oddly enough, inability in these two arenas don't always run together but sometimes they do

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

Pardonnez the extra paragraph-
seriously this new keyboard wants to make me repeat myself for emphasis or suchlike.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

Paraffin dips! Yes, it's the wax - my husband had one of those as part of his PT when he broke his hand. It's sitting in the garage since he healed up - I should try it on my feet... it's certainly a lot more appetizing-looking than the rusty woo baths.

By Roadstergal (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

Meanwhile, back at the Clown blog, the bot has posted an open letter to Pope Francis about autism and vaccines. She's still banging on about the absence of autistic adults in our society and referred the Pope to the Remini court case.

Narad: Laura Hayes is organizing her crowd to refuse to provide information to ER staff about their children's vaccination status. I foresee more measles outbreaks in hospital ERs, when the mommies bring their disease vectors into hospitals.

It's amazing how an ignorant mommy is able to diagnosis tetanus, when neurologists and I.D. specialists diagnosis rhabdomyolysis, with an unknown etiology. Could it be, that the young man regularly did 10 miles stints of mountain bike riding, causing exertional rhabdomyolysis?

lilady @ 39 -- A 10-mile stint on a mountain bike may seem like a long way, but it's pretty short by enthusiast standards.

By palindrom (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

palindrom, I just threw that armchair diagnosis out there. There's a far better chance that the young man's problems are associated with exertional rhabdomyolysis, than tetanus. :-)

Meanwhile, back at the Clown blog, the bot has posted an open letter to Pope Francis about autism and vaccines.

She also failed to check on proper forms of address for the Pontiff. Simply referring to Christ's vicar on Earth as "Holiness" is like just referring to Mr. T as "T."

Laura Hayes is organizing her crowd to refuse to provide information to ER staff about their children’s vaccination status.

That's just embarrassingly stale. I remember the whole routine from MDC years ago.

Who wants to go splitsies on getting grants from NCCAM to RCT these things with regular footbaths as the control?

By ebrillblaiddes (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

Narad, they are desperate to find something to blog about. Their totally tiresome rants and pseudoscience are boring...only good for the unintended laughs they generate.

I'd give the footbath treatment a go, if, along with Pareidolius's foot rub I get some of those nibbly fish fellas as well.

By Rebecca Fisher (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

Ah, you want the piranha treatment?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 19 Nov 2014 #permalink

I'm sure this will be a comment lost within the minions, but I'll offer anyway. Recently saw an anti-anti-vac report firing back some common sense. You don't want to protect your kids against preventably but highly infectious microbes that can put the absolute smackdown on your little one's breathing, fine, no problem. The silent majority of us following medical science using evidence-based protocols will pull our kids out of your schools and remove herd protection from your dumbass pseudoactivist fear mongering stupidity and let the unprotected gene pool eliminate itself. Win win.

I think it was a usa today survey. 75% of the parents with kids following microbe protection protocols are getting fed up with repeated soapboxing that comes from this...what is it, woo-activism? even after extensive peer-reviewable meta analysis after extensive meta analysis keeps supporting genetic predisposition.

I guess I'll just keep sticking tubes in the kiddos because mommy had to be misled into to "proving a point" on internet empowerment, albeit coming at a terrible cost to her family.

@ MarkN:

You would never be lost amongst the minions.

Interestingly enough, I just scanned LKH's** woo-bent letter where she crows that 25% of parents believe that vaccines cause autism or suchlike.

Odd how different people see different thongs in the same material although to homeopathy apologists perhaps 25% is more powerful than 75%.

** Fearless Parent/ AoA

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

Mrs. Woo @ #2: What to do about those State Fairs:

Duck hunting is a big thing in the USA. Is it popular in your state?

Duck hunters use 'duck calls' that are like whistles they blow into, that make quacking sounds to attract ducks. Do the sellers of hunters' goods have booths at State Fairs? You see where I'm going with this, right?;-)

So, do either of the following:

1) Encourage a manufacturer or seller of 'duck calls' to set up a stall or a booth right next to the one that's peddling quack med. There will be much quacking emanating from that booth, to provide the perfect audio accompaniment. I'm not sure how to do about this, but if you know any duck hunters you can ask them.

2) Get some friends, and get some 'duck calls.' Make signs that say 'If it ducks like a quack, it's a quack!' Go to the booth that sells the quack med, and stand right across from it with the signs, blowing the 'duck calls' and making lots of quacking noises.

If you're lucky, some of the quacks from the quack booth will come over to have a look, and you can shoot them, with your camera of course, and post the video. Much laughter will ensue.

It might also be fun to have a sign (for those foot baths), saying 'The water turns the same 'toxic' colour without any feet in it!'

If you want to play 'hard ball,' send someone into the booth to say they have a medical condition, and see if the sellers make a medical claim for the device without any prompting to do so. Actually you need two people, and a married couple will do nicely. This way you have an additional witness to what was said, without having to record the conversation, which might be illegal. After that, go write witness statements and contact the FDA or whoever is likely to prosecute.

I'm ashamed to admit that my gf not only completely buys into the magnetic quackery, she sells that crap. She has relapsing/remitting MS and thinks these silly refrigerator magnets actually help. She gives them more credit than she does quitting smoking, losing 100 lbs and getting off a cocktail of some dozen drugs and down to just interferon.

I try and try and try to help her understand, shown her the evidence (she counters that this company [Nikken] has "peer-reviewed studies" that prove magnets work), and she persists in her delusion. The problem isn't one of understanding the science, or even a willingness to try; its that she BELIEVES in it. Facts have never changed a belief.

When she revealed that she thinks these idiotic devices help autism, I just about blew my top.

Mattress pads, chair covers, insoles, magnetic water thingies, and filters that promise "far-infrared" (I pointed out that that's nothing more than heat, and invited her to hold a ceramic dish and let me know when it got too hot) and "superior" filtering. (along with magnetically aligning the water so it's better absorbed).

She's amazing in every other way, but I think I gotta trade her in on a more objective, rational model.

At least she's not anti-vax...

Better yet, put the foot-bath purveyors next to the poultry exhibit.

@Lurker - I should do a photo blog of state fair woo. Foot baths are only one over-priced offering. We would be quacking all over the place. Mr Woo wouldn't let me be mean to the purveyors, obviously. We just received his $139 supplement guaranteed to reverse diabetic neuropathy...

Yes I meant paraffin wax, and though I am usually a bit more up on British slang (Dr Who fangirl that I am) I am in the dark as to what paraffin is in the British context. Do please enlighten Mephistopholes.

Kiiri - In Britain, paraffin refers to what I would call kerosene. There's apparently also a "liquid paraffin" which is mineral oil.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

Sorry, Great Britain.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

Why the feet? Why not soak your hands? Or--give new meaning to the old insult, “go soak your head!”.

(I very much enjoyed the comments today--to say nothing of the fits of laughter generated by the image of Orac’s new diamond-generating method).

Many years ago when I was getting therapy for the limited scleroderma in my hands, I usually soaked them in hot water and tried stretching the fingers a bit to flex them.

One time they tried soaking them in a hot paraffin bath instead. I seemed to be doing OK until I passed out. Not sure if I just fainted or it was one of my seizure episodes.

I never tried that treatment again!

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

One of the more popular tables at our annual employee wellness fair is the one offering (gratis) paraffin dips for your hands (US vs UK paraffin, obviously).

Of course, they don't promise anything more than your skin is going to feel nicer.

Mrs. Woo @ 52: Aha!, a project!

First, yes, take video of all those woomeisters at the State Fair.

Second, go back the next day, when Mr. Woo isn't looking, with a couple of friends and some 'duck calls' and appropriate signage. One person takes video whilst the other quacks up a storm.

Third, edit the videos together and post in a place that gets high exposure, preferably somewhere Mr. Woo won't see them.


To all ye whose partners embrace quackadoodle medicine, remember that love supercedes silliness, and try to be gentle about disabusing them of their notions.

of Orac’s new diamond-generating method

Superman to the contrary, that's not how you make diamonds.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

I got the hot-wax (paraffin, U.S. usage) treatment once from an occupational therapist working on a post-surgery thumb (repair of a ruptured ligament, "skier's thumb" or "gamekeeper's thumb").

I don't know if it did much good, but it did seem to deposit quite a bit of warmth as the wax hardened. It was pleasant.

By palindrom (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

There’s apparently also a “liquid paraffin” which is mineral oil.

Since Kiiri has mentioned yogurt enemas...
A century ago in the golden days of 'regularity' and 'autointoxication' and colonic obsessions, liquid paraffin was one of the lubricants administered in heroic quantities to avoid the dreaded constipation. Or so I remember from Alex Comfort's "Anxiety Makers".
How fortunate we are that the quacks have moved on from their colonic obsession!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 21 Nov 2014 #permalink

They say I'm constipated, but I don't give a s***.

By palindrom (not verified) on 21 Nov 2014 #permalink

Oh, Oraaaac! Remember the Paleo buffoons?

Well, guess what? A guy in California who makes bikes (actually, a guy in California who designs bikes which are made for the most part in the Far East) has a book out called "Eat Bacon, Don't Jog" wherein he states that All Carbs Are Evil (seriously, he does) because they all cause Evil Insulin to spike and that we would be much better off if our diet was almost all fat.

I shit thee not.

By Phoenix Woman (not verified) on 22 Nov 2014 #permalink

@37 : She’s still banging on about the absence of autistic adults in our society
Urgh... given how much french autism activists are fighting to get autistic adults correctly taken care of, this type of comment never cease to disgust me.

Phoenix Woman @64 -- I'm a bicycle enthusiast when I'm not inflictnig bad jokes on internet comment fora, or (God forbid) actually working.

Grant Peterson, the founder of Rivendell Bikes, is well-known for his unorthodox opinions on all kinds of issues. I did order some rebranded Panaracer tires from his company once, and they're nice tires. I don't think I'd turn to him for medical advice, though.

By palindrom (not verified) on 24 Nov 2014 #permalink

Oh. My. G-d.

There's finally a homeopathy, ah, "theory" paper done in LaTeX (PDF).