Friday, July 23, 2010

Your Taxes & 21st Century Snake Oil

I'm seeing a lot of commercials for iRenew, a bracelet claiming to " utilize a proprietary quantum based technology to harness the natural frequencies which are everpresent in our environment and use them to tune and rebalance your biofield back to a more natural, coherent state."

What is a "biofield" ? They claim it's a new term adopted by the National Institute of Health. Sure enough, it turns out that there is a Federal government agency under the National Institutes of Health called the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

What Is Complementary and Alternative Medicine? [NCCAM CAM Basics]
"Some CAM practices involve manipulation of various energy fields to affect health. Such fields may be characterized as veritable (measurable) or putative (yet to be measured). Practices based on veritable forms of energy include those involving electromagnetic fields (e.g., magnet therapy and light therapy). Practices based on putative energy fields (also called biofields) generally reflect the concept that human beings are infused with subtle forms of energy; qi gong, Reiki, and healing touch are examples of such practices."
I love that phrase "yet to be measured". It sounds so much better than "imaginary" or "non-existant".

OK - I know many of you believe in such things, and I won't attempt to dissuade you. But assuming some unmeasurable energy field exists, exactly how does a bracelet utilizing "proprietary, nano based BioField Technology" bring this energy in balance?  A similar device was sold in Australia, which used "Mylar technology" - a holographic image printed on aluminum-coated plastic film applied to a rubber bracelet.  

Charlatanism is probably the world's second oldest profession, and presenting a magic bracelet as "science" by using buzzwords like "nano" and "quantum", and especially referencing the NIH provides respectability to  specious claims. 

There's a place for "fringe" research but I don't think taxpayers should be footing the bill.. NCCAM's budget for 2010 is $128.8 million dollars, and surprisingly an additional $31 million from the so-called Recovery Act. Maybe they'll revive the Magnetic Rings industry.

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