Posts Tagged woo

Exploring TCM: Dr & Herbs, Liverpool

Having a rare weekend free, and having the need to pop into town in order to buy secret things for my girlfriend’s upcoming birthday (July 22nd if you want to wish her a happy birthday, by the way), I chanced into St John’s Shopping Centre and came across the rather charming ‘Dr & Herbs’ Traditional Chinese Medicine outlet. Which I immediately dived into and immersed myself in, obviously.

I’d like to say up front, before I get into any real detail – the two people who seem to run the shop were helpful, kind and friendly. Unfortunately, they were also entirely wrong in a number of ways…

The first thing that struck me about the shop was the crude (and rather awfully-designed) posters in the window, listing various ailments and how TCM can help – the list was reasonably long, and didn’t include any more wild and dangerous ailments to treat, but I was able to grab shots of the claims for Thrush, StressEczema and Asthma.

Thrush: TCM treats this as a problem of damp in the body, usually internal damp caused by an infection or fungus; herbs are a very effective treatment.

While it’s true to say that thrush is caused by a fungus, it’s vague and bewildering to claim it a problem of ‘damp in the body’, and the bald assertion that herbs are a very effective treatment is an outright falsehood, unsupported by evidence.

Stress: According to TCM, Stress is due to too much dampness and heart heat from internal and external pressure. We can treat this by clearing the dampness as well as regulating your Qi (vital energy) through a natural process).

Here the issue is somewhat more fundamental – the notion of ‘stress’ is something favoured by pseudomedical practitioners because of its dual properties of vagueness and ubiquity. Many people believe they have stress; very few of them could quantify what they mean by the term. Fortunately, Dr & Herbs seem to know, and they’re pretty sure it’s to do with dampness – although, in fairness, dampness is their go-to diagnosis. That they can regulate this invented dampness – both internally- and externally-caused –  via the regulation of Qi is neither here nor there, given that Qi adds one more invented element to the pot. All in all, their claims to fighting stress don’t stand up to scrutiny. Read the rest of this entry »

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F*ckin’ Magnetic Bracelets – How Do They Work?

Magnet Health Bracelets

This grey fella sure has his health problems

This week I want to take you both to the seaside, to take a look at something listener submitted, Blackpool-based, and textbook-woo. So, with a tip of the hat to Hoopy1888 on Twitter, I present to you – Magnetic Zone, and their Magnetic Health Bracelet.

Now, confusing as the name might seem, this isn’t a bracelet you wrap around magnets to help them stay healthy – this isn’t about the health of your magnets at all. Instead, this is about trying to use magnets to make YOU healthy. Confusing, I know, but stick with me, and I’ll talk you through the leaflet that our listener sent to my via the magic of twitpic. The leaflet – which is available on the MSS site and linked from the show notes – starts promisingly, with the printed name ‘Magnetic Zone’ hastily surrounded by scrawled writing either side of it, to read ‘www.magneticzone.co.uk’. Which is always nicely professional – especially when you visit the site, and find nothing but a black holding page with garish yellow text giving you an email address to contact, and nothing else. I know that’s how I like to get MY health advice.

Still, as the leaflet declares, these products promise that they ‘Change your health for the better’ – which is an amazing claim, presumably in oppostion to all of those bracelets that seek to change your health for the worse. Handcuffs, I suppose you’d call them.

So, what can these mystery bracelets do for you? Well, despite not yet saying anything about them – again, another sure sign that we’re dealing with a genuine health product here – the leaflet gives us a charming grey silhouette of a man with little lines coming off to list the ailments he can be relieved of via the use of Magnetic Health Bracelets (promotional price from £10, the handwritten scrawl appears to inform us). Read the rest of this entry »

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The Best Psychic Story Ever. Really. Ever.

Regular readers will know, I like a good psychic. Or, rather, a bad psychic. Or, rather, I like the process of discussing and exposing someone who claims to be psychic. You get the idea. Often, discussions of psychics tend to look at false predictions they’ve made, outlandish murder-solving claims they put forward, or generally the grief-profiteering many engage in. And then there are the claims which are just jaw-droppingly, batshit insane. I’ll let you guess which of these categories we’re going to take a look at now, but to set the scene I’d like to take you to Port Angeles, America, where – as the Peninsula Daily News points out – poor Robin Alexis had recently moved, what with her burning desire for privacy. Just to reiterate, that’s as as the Peninsula Daily News points out. The Peninsular Daily News, is a newspaper. Privacy indeed.

Oh, I should have mentioned, Robin Alexis is described as ‘psychic Robin Alexis’. So, ‘psychic seeks privacy, says local paper’? Accompanied by a charming full photo of said privacy-seeking psychic? Ho hum, I’ll carry on…

“She’s found it a welcoming place, where she can develop a variety of ventures: her Mystic Radio program, her Web portal to psychic readings and her online Soul Spa, all at www.robinalexis.com.”

Again, to reiterate – seeking privacy here, the privacy to discreetly go about her radio program, web portal and soul spa. Ho hum ho hum.

Apparently, as the paper tells us:

“Alexis describes herself as more than a psychic; she’s also a spirit medium and “metaphysical mother” who is now in the midst of an extraordinary three-way conversation”

Quite what a metaphysical mother is, I’ve no idea. Surely it’s a mother who isn’t actually there, or is there but on another plane? Like a meta-mum?

Still, this privacy-seeking, self-professed meta-mum with a burgeoning-yet-discreet media empire to non-promote has a terrible burden – she, discreetly and in no way publicly, despite being in the paper about it, claims to have been communicating for ‘many moons now’ with… Michael Jackson.

Just to be clear, that’s deceased king of pop Michael Jackson, not the former Tranmere Rovers and Blackpool defender Michael Jackson, nor Canadian actor Michael Jackson, best known for his role as Trevor on Trailer Park Boys, nor even the soldier Michael Jackson from Massachusetts, wounded at Bunker Hill during the American Revolution (though admittedly one of those would still be impressive, not least because the Tranmere defender’s been notoriously reclusive since his retirement at the end of the season). No, she’s been talking – she non-publicity-seekingly claims – to the deceased former most famous man on the planet, Michael Jackson. Ho hum ho hum ho hum. Also, as a couple of footnotes – I’ve got to thank Wikipedia disambiguation for a few Michael Jacksons there, and I’ve also been listening to way too much Andy Saltzman on the Bugle podcast lately. Read the rest of this entry »

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Druid, Where’s My Car Crash?

The modern world has given us all manner of road safety initiatives, from speed cameras to road bumps, all the way down to that 70s Green Cross Code advert where Alvin Stardust told some girls they’re out of their tiny minds. Look it up on youtube, I’m not even kidding.

Still, having 70s glam rockers with chipmunk names yelling patronising insults at children isn’t the stupidest method employed in an attempt to promote road safety, given that reports from Austria this week suggested that druids have been working with local road safety authorities in an attempt to mitigate the dangers of accident blackspots.

As the Metro explains:

“Austrian authorities say druids have been so successful in dealing with motorway accident blackspots in one area that they plan to extend the project nationwide.  As well as using quartz standing stones to restore the area’s ‘natural energy’, the druids have come up with a cheaper modern-day option – burying plastic slates with magnets in the ground.

Arch druid Ilmar Tessmann was called in as a last resort after a high number of fatal accidents were reported on a straight stretch of motorway near Salzburg.  He said the crashes were caused by radiation from a nearby mobile phone mast disrupting the area’s normal ‘terrestrial’ radiation.  Installing the monoliths has successfully counteracted that, he claimed.”

The Metro reports that the rate of accidents has decreased from 6 per year, to zero in the 2 years since the druids have been applying their magic. Scientists, surprisingly enough, are somewhat skeptical, with a range of questions springing to mind. Read the rest of this entry »

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