To celebrate the return of my laptop from the doctor, I decided to make a Saturday trip to the Oklahoma State Fair in search of blog fodder.
Between wine, beer, and going to Disney on Ice with my wife and daughter, I was able to make a run through of the Cox Pavilion in search of health scams. They weren’t very hard to find.
The first thing I ran across was a chiropractor diagnosing people using a bogus device called the MyoVision Static Graphic. Basically, his assistant would place these two things on each side of your vertebrae and click them. After moving up and down your back, a printout would display the misalignment of your back.
This is a total scam, for a number of reasons. First, chiropractic itself is a scam. It is to America what homeopathy is to Europe. The entire theoretical concept behind chiropractic is that subluxations of one’s spine accounts for a whole variety of ailments, and that by cracking the back into place a chiropractor can solve these ailments. The inventor of chiropractic claimed to have cured blindness in his first patient just with spine manipulation.
Chiropractic is nothing more than very invasive, and potentially life-threatening, placebo. In my opinion, it shouldn’t even be legal. At best, it is no more therapeutic than a strong massage. At worst, it can cause strokes.This product the chiropractor was using also can’t do what its manufacturers claim. If you look on the Myvision website, you’ll find plenty of pretty pictures and testimonials. What you won’t find is clinical research. The reason is that, clinical research has shown that Myovision isn’t effective. Since it can’t meet the criteria for being a useful medical device, it is aiming its product at people who aren’t real medical professionals…namely chiropractors. The fact that these people were using Myovision to diagnose potential patients and get them to come in to their clinic, shows that they aren’t trustworthy or they’re incompetent.
The second health scam booth I visited was hawking Foot Relief Insoles. Insoles are fine and all. Dr. Scholes never hurt anybody, but these guys were making health claims that were bonkers. They had this chart…
This is a very common chart in the reflexology world. Reflexology is basically the chiropractic of foot massage, with a little acupuncture theory thrown in for good measure. Just as chiropractors claim that back manipulation can cure a variety of ailments, Reflexologists claim that massaging specific places on the feet can help things like kidney function and thyroid problems. This is complete hogwash. Don’t buy your insoles from people claiming they can help your kidneys work better. Their claims are full of piss.
The next booth on the list was selling Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulations (TENS).
This is a very fancy way of saying things that electrocute you through your skin. The idea is that by electrocuting yourself, you can relieve pain. While this on its face isn’t completely ludicrous, we do have electroshock therapy for brain disorders after all, they “HOW DOES IT WORK?” section on their website gives away just how bs this product really is.According to the website, TENS makes use of qi and ‘traditional Chinese medicine’ as the theoretical explanation for how it relieves pain.
Word of advice, if a website selling a medical device has a testimonials tab, a ‘how it works’ section that mentions Chinese medicine, and includes vague references to studies or ‘research shows’ without ever actually citing a paper in a reputable medical journal, you’ve got a health scam on your hands. Run away.
Our next product is the Euro Body Shaper.
Yes, it does what it looks like. It is a weight loss machine that claims to exercise you by shaking the weight off. That anyone would actually fall for this makes me die a little on the inside. The only possible response to this silliness is…
It was a scam then and it is a scam now.
Finally, for nostalgia sake, I include the handwriting analysis machine. This machine is great because it isn’t even pretending to be real. It has this massive bank of what is supposed to be old-timey computers, and if you give them money they’ll effectively give you the equivalent of a fortune cookie slip.
The reason this is so great is because it puts all of the other scams that are trying to pretend to be real in context. It is like placing a Cleveland Grandma Fortune Teller Machine in a room full of would-be psychics.