Mind, Body, Spirit, Hand, Hook, Line and Sinker


Mind Body Spirit

Recently, I spent a little time in Edinburgh – having headed north of the border in order to sample what the fringe festival had to offer, I was wholly prepared for a few good laughs.

Which is lucky really, because sitting in a cafe on Cockburn Street (which I was assured but not convinced was actually pronounced Co-burn Street), I noticed this sign (that one there on the right.  It impressed me so much, I obviously took a photo, because I’m like that).

The sign was attached to a woo-peddling establishment called (I believe) Crystal Clear – a veritable cornucopia of bullshit, which the sign doubtlessly attests to.  In case you can’t read the small print, the shop offers:

Feng Shui / Tai Chi / Meditation / Ecology / Herbalism / I Ching / Dowsing / Homeopathy / Self-Improvement / Massage / Spiritual Awareness / Shamen / Zen / Buddhism / Numerology / Native American Indian Art / Therapy / Psychic Development / Acupuncture / Crystals / Complimentary Medicine / Colour Healing / Psychology / Tibetan Buddhism / Wicca / Bonsai / Tarot / Green Issues / Astrology / Aroma Therapy / Celtic Christianity / Sufism / Vegan Cooking / Divination.

A mixed bag, I’m sure you’ll agree, but at least they covered their bases.  I’ve emboldened the ones that made me giggle most, because they’re so normal amongst this sea of crap.  Obviously I went in, and obviously I looked for the weirdest thing I could find…And so, I can present to you the fruits of my labours – something so weirdly-woo that even I am startled at it.  I give you:

Su Jok Massage

Su Jok Massage RingSounds pretty innocuous, right?  Sounds like a fairly standard, eastern-based nonsense.  We’ve all seen those, they’re weird but all samey, nothing remarkable here, right?  Well, before you ask me any more quickfire rhetorical questions, take a look at the accompanying leaflet.  Click it to make it bigger, if you like.  Marvel in it’s sheer bullshittery.

Su Jok Massage, it seems, is the process of taking a cheap ring (it’s actually more like a loose spring, coiled into a circle) and rubbing it on specific, homunculus areas of the hand to cure what ails you.  The little finger equates to the right hand, apparently.  The ring finger heals your left leg, too.  Handy.  Although there’s no mention of what happens if you massage areas of the right hand – by the looks of this helpful and very cute diagram (look!  his trachea even looks like a little tie below his round, bald, thumby head!) all the action takes place on the left hand.  Maybe the right hand is for healing the mind – you know, rub your right thumb and it cures your depression centre, the tip of the right little finger causes a surge in happiness, that sort of thing.

I think what I like best about the whole thing is the attention to detail – essentially, the makers (Shivago Thai Clinic – we’ll get onto those guys in a bit) have just seen a very basic drawing of human anatomy, and then kinda bent it around a left hand.  Very scientific.  Thanks for that, guys.

A helpful Merseyside Skeptic illustrates the Su Jok healing areas on a real hand.  Thank you, helpful Merseyside Skeptic.

A helpful Merseyside Skeptic illustrates the Su Jok healing areas on a real hand. Thank you, helpful Merseyside Skeptic.

The rest of the leaflet, not pictured, consists of some creatively-translated instructions, which I think are worth replicating here in full, lest anyone manages to secure a Su Jok ring on the black market and goes off half-cocked, with no clue what they’re doing.  This is powerful stuff after all – just look at the stern expression on the little thumb guy if you need any proof of that.

Rolling the ring on the thumb or big toe for 2 minutes twice a day is traditionally used for the relief of headache, toothache, stiffness of neck, cervical spondylosis, tension, insomnia and colds.

Ahhh so it’s ‘traditionally used for the relief’ of those things?  It very specifically does not ‘treat’ those symptoms?  Well side-stepped, cautious and serious thumb guy.  Fortunately, all of the head-type things it treats traditionally is used to relieve are nice, simple, go-away-by-themselves, subjective things.  Which makes peddling a woo product so much easier – not having to actually prove effectiveness.

Rolling the ring on the little finger or toe for 2 minutes twice a day is traditionally used for the relief of tension in the hands or feet.

Eh?  The little finger equals the hands OR feet?  This goes against everything the little thumb guy stands for!  Did his sternness and little tie trachea mean nothing to these people?

Rolling the ring on the middle finger or toe for 3 minutes twice a day is traditionally used for the relief of knee-joint pain, sciatica, stomach pain, back pain, ankle pain and calf pain.

Ah, back to the thumb guy’s guide – mainly leg-based things for the middle finger, just as he tells us.  Also, exclusively subjective symptoms again.  Lovely.  Quite how rubbing the middle finger will help with stomach or back pain I’ve no idea – and neither does little thumb guy (he really should have a name by now, I’m deferring to his wisdom so often.  Let’s call him Clive.  He looks like a Clive to me).

Rolling the ring on the first and middle finger or toe is traditionally used to improve the function of the digestive system and lungs

OK, now Clive’s just pissing me off I think.  He clearly has a hand on one of his fingers, and a foot on the other.  Neither of these things are related to digestion or breathing.  Clive’s showboating, I fear.  It also makes me wonder why have all that crap drawn all over the palm if the magic healing traditional relieving ring is only to be applied to fingers and toes?  It’s almost as if there’s no thought at all gone into this product, apart from to just exploit gullible people’s obsession with eastern-influenced health-bollocks in order to make money.

Surely the good people of… who was it again, those guys I said we’d come back to, ah – yes! – Shivago Thai Clinic… surely the good people of them wouldn’t try and capitalise on the pseudomedical obsession with the East to turn a quick buck?  Surely, in the name of Clive and all that is sacred, they’d sell something based on, well, something?

Let’s find out, with a quick trip to their lovely Eastern-themed website.

Shivago Thai Clinic follows the lineage of Traditional Thai Therapies which originated over 2500 years ago. We are dedicated to the preservation of Thailand’s authentic healing heritage and its integration into a modern lifestyle.

OK, so they promote healthcare that pre-dates germ theory by about 2350 years or so.  The older it is, the better – I’m sure that’s how it works.  Which is why leeches cure more diseases than anti-biotics, and holy men out-do both put together…

Here you can experience “first touch”, our unique style of Thai Therapies, delivered by our highly trained professional therapists as featured in the Scotsman , Scotland on Sunday, Daily Record, The List , Westminster News, Portuguese News and Brazilian News.

Now, all good medical practices state up front which newspapers they’re featured in, I’m sure.  And the Portuguese News and Brazilian News are right up there alongside The Lancet, I’m positive.  Lets keep looking…

Traditional ThaiTraditional Thai Therapy is an excellent way of easing and preventing stress related issues such as; muscle pain, stiffness, headache, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, tiredness, sport injuries, low energy and the stagnation of energy and blood.
Thai Therapy also improves posture balance and corrects body alignment.  Therapy is an excellent way of easing and preventing stress related issues such as; muscle pain, stiffness, headache, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, tiredness, sport injuries, low energy and the stagnation of energy and blood.
Thai Therapy also improves posture balance and corrects body alignment.

Traditional Thai Therapy is an excellent way of easing and preventing stress related issues such as; muscle pain, stiffness, headache, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, tiredness, sport injuries, low energy and the stagnation of energy and blood.

Thai Therapy also improves posture balance and corrects body alignment.

Finally – some testable claims.  Traditional Thai Therapy prevents stress-related issues like headaches, and improves posture.  Those are actual scientific claims.  The bit about blood and energy stagnation goes back to being meaningless bollocks again, but for a moment, we had something, Clive and I.  Don’t think I’m not already drafting an email to Dr Shivago’s people to find out their evidence for these claims.  Clive – I’m sorry, but the gloves are off…

, , ,

  1. #1 by Gittins on August 26, 2009 - 14:48

    Since that shop listed Shamen on their sign, you should have gone in and asked for a 12″ copy of Ebeneezer Goode.

  2. #2 by Tony on August 27, 2009 - 06:40

    Nice diagram but I think a lot is missing, what about the other organs?

  3. #3 by Dunedin on September 3, 2009 - 23:53

    My favourite in the list was “Complimentary medicine” – is it the pills that say nice things about you, or do the practitioners oblige personally?

  4. #4 by Isabella Edwards on June 29, 2010 - 04:43

    i have backpains after work. what i do is get some relaxing massage and yoga.’~.

  5. #5 by S on October 17, 2011 - 21:24

    There are some similarities between Sun Jok massage and acupuncture therapy. They both define a magical points and these points has magical powers to heal various parts of your body. Magical powers are unleashed by exciting these points in various ways: massage, needles, heat, peppers. Most practitioners of Sun Jok agrees that acupuncture is much more powerful than Sun Jok because it includes more points through the whole body and uses better technique to stimulate these points (everyone agree that needles are more impressive than massage).

  6. #6 by Pussy Riot on July 1, 2013 - 19:16

    If you are skeptic about Su Jok, I can tell you where you should apply yellow colour on your palm and you get’ll diarrhea. Just email me if interested to have an experience

(will not be published)