Friday, July 5, 2013

Woo in 2013: Some bogus images "proves" their product works? Nah.

Mr. Bogus
Is your product from Mr. Bogus?
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The problem with modern health is it's so complicated that modern charlatans moved in using pseudo-science, fancy jargon, and bogus advertising to claim their products work.

In 2004 or so there was a flood of so-called "foot bottom patches" allegedly from Japan. The claim was you apply these to the bottom of your feet at night, and when you wake up in the morning, you'll find the patches having turned dark, and that supposedly had leeched "toxins" from your body, thus proving it works. 

What utter bogosity. The patches actually turn dark to ANY moisture. Just drip a few drops of distilled water will make them turn dark. Tests of pads turned dark with distilled water vs. pads turned dark under actual feet, as well as unused pads were tested, absolutely NO difference in metal content was found. 

The claims were so bogus, FTC sued the makers of Kinoki pads and shut them down. They claim they didn't really make money and thus can't pay the FTC fines. 

And now the patches are back, with even MORE bogus claims than EVER. 

LifeWave claims to have patches for everything from weight loss to pain relief to energy enhancement to improve sleep. 

How do they work? According to themselves? These are quoted DIRECTLY from their own FAQ:

How do the patches work if nothing enters the body?
LifeWave patches are clinically proven to stimulate acupuncture points, ultimately improving the flow of energy in the body. No drugs, stimulants or needles are needed.

What is in the patches?
The patches contain a patent pending blend including amino acids, water, stabilized oxygen, and natural organic compounds. None of the materials in the patch enters the body.

The LifeWave Technology was born out of 3 years of intense research by David into the concept of being able to naturally increase energy and stamina through elevation of fat burning utilizing wireless communication to the human body. 
Wait, so "patent pending blend including amino acids, water, stablized oxygen, and natural organic compounds" was able to generate "wireless communications" which somehow affects human accupressure points?

Yet their research paper says that's EXACTLY what it does...
When any of the LifeWave patches are placed on the skin,
they safely transmit specific wavelengths of light to optimize
certain biological functions, such as pain control. These devices
have photonic and electrical properties. They are essentially a
passive, wireless nanotechnology that relies on non-toxic
organic crystals. The crystals absorb infrared frequencies (body
heat) in the range of 1000 - 20,000 nanometers and emit light in
the infrared and visible spectra back into the body
What utter bollocks!

First thing, folks... There is no SCIENTIFIC basis on accupuncture / accupressure. Accupuncture is NOT a Chinese word! It's invented by a FRENCH guy George SouliƩ de Morant, who also coined the term qi and meridian, in the beginning of 20th century!

And the claim that accupressure is 5000 years old? Bollocks. The FIRST mention of accupuncture in Chinese literature was dated back only 2000 years, maybe 2200 or so, but it's more likely no more than 1500 years old.

Lifewave head "Schmidt" claimed 1.8 billion in the world relies on accupuncture? Bollocks. There's only 1.34 billion people in China, and most of "traditional Chinese medicine" is HERBAL! In fact, for about 20+ years accupuncture was BANNED as "old supersitution" by Chairman Mao Tse Tung!

And how the **** does amino acids, water, stablized oxygen, and natural organic compounds" was able to generate "wireless communications" any way, much less able to influence accupressure points? Did he just create a chemical "power plant" of some sort where's the transmitter? (And the irony... LifeWave just started selling "Matrix 2" EM shields for your cellphones, when they claim their products *use* wireless communications to influence your body!)

So what proof do they have that this works? Three primary sources: holistic medicine studies (none of which have been replicated or peer-reviewed), celebrity athlete endorsements, some "thermal photos" proving the patches have somehow lowered temperature of the body after application.

Their most recent study, published in a Korean Journal, claimed that out of 30 some people who managed to finish the 5 day test, most reported some reduction in pain. However, there was NO placebo patch applied, with each individual acting as his or her control, and self-reporting, and thus, this test is mostly useless.

As for celebrity athlete endorsements, with plenty of photos of Olympic and professional athletes sporting what appears to be their patches...  What's really interesting is they have a letter from WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) proving their product does absolutely NOTHING, and thus is allowed to be used by professional athletes.

And finally, about those "thermal photos"? This one was found all over the web, supposedly "proving" that the patch had "cooled the body".

Pay particular attention to the two photos on the right... The top one, the "red" is set to 23.8 C, right? Now look at the bottom one. What's it set to? 28.8 C. Yep, they "moved the goal post" by redefining red to be a higher temperature, and thus, the entire picture LOOKS cooler. Also note that the body is a bit further away, and presumably the body had been at rest for a few minutes "for the patch to take effect", further cooling down the body. 

I can't explain the two on the left. Top picture was set to 24, the bottom was set to 23.7, and camera was moved slightly back. I suspect the pictures were taken minutes apart after sweat had been mopped off, but the fact is without timestamp and "single-take video" the pictures only create an IMPRESSION of something, not actual something. 

What utter bollocks. 

The thermal graphs were labelled "Mullens Joe 051305 1355"  which I assume to mean 2005 May 13th, 1:55 PM. I can't find a Joe Mullens (there's a famous hockey player Joe Mullen). As they are using C instead of F, this appears to be done somewhere NOT in the US or the UK (who'd be using F). 

If the REAL Joe Mullens care to step up and explain these pictures, I'd love to hear it. For now, I'd say the origin of these pictures are... questionable 

So what are we left with? 
  • Pseudo-science explanations (crystals in patches that absorbs body heat and sends light back somehow triggering accupressure points)
  • Endorsements that are not (a letter from WADA / USADA stating your product does NOTHING and thus is NOT banned is NOT an endorsement)
  • False citation of facts that plays to stereotype (accupuncture is NOT 5000 years old and NOT all of China use accupuncture)
  • False thermal graph claiming to be "proof" of their product in action (mis-labelled and false interpretation through false color calibration)
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  1. I love, it, K.Chang. You should make more blog posts. You teach people to think rationally and escape the mental prisons they or some woo salesman put them in. If I could suggest an article, I'd like you to point out how, mathematically, when you play in a pyramid or ponzi, what you're doing is essentially making someone else rich at the expense of others and you're fighting other players/affiliates for scraps. Playing a ponzi is essentially a job that has the potential for decent "profits" but can get you into legal trouble, and financially rapes the elderly at the same time. It only actually makes sense to either be at the near top of a pyramid/ponzi or to run one yourself!

    The important thing to understand with respect to all this pseudo-science mumbo jumbo is that it's a sliding scale; it's pretty easy to get someone to take your placebo pills, for example, if you already convinced them you have magic pads they can put on their feet to somehow eliminate toxins, even though none of their evidence checks out or is used in hospitals or any major health establishments.

    And of course, it's a smaller step from there to get people to drink industrial strength bleach that you called something else and tell them that it'll make them better. It's pretty scary how these people can isolate you and sell you fear, conspiracy theories and fake cures, simultaneously picking your pockets AND turning you against people who genuinely want to help you. I posted about that on Patrick's blog. That could be someone's grandmother, avoiding real treatment and making herself sicker, all the while not telling anyone about what she's doing because "they won't understand." All this pseudo-science quackery is dangerous. Period.

    Please keep doing what you're doing and offering rational, non emotional and unbiased analysis of all these schemes and scams. You, Patrick, Oz, Littleroundman, Lynn of Eagle and all the others I haven't mentioned (but they know who they are) really save people time, money and misery.

  2. So does the Lifewave Matrix 2 radiation protection for cell phones really work in reducing cell phone radiation or not?
    I'm looking to obtain some cover for my phone that'll reduce or eliminate cell phone radiation.

    1. Given the amount of woo it had in other products, I rather doubt their shield works to the extent they claim to.

      Besides, the whole idea of wireless communication is based on "radiation", isn't it? If you're worried about such, use a landline phone, or a Bluetooth headset and keep the phone away from yourself. But unless you're super sensitive to EM spectrum, you're worried over a lot of nothing, IMHO of course.

    2. Bill,
      The only real deal on cell phone protection is a company called Pong Research. Just go to their site.....

    3. Any one can create a website nowadays...

    4. "I'm looking to obtain some cover for my phone that'll reduce or eliminate cell phone radiation."

      If the cell phone radiation is eliminated the phone will not work, right?

      If you have a cover that cuts down the signal being received or transmitted, won't the phone work harder to send a signal thus INCREASING the level of NON-IONIZING radiation being sent into your head?

  3. You guys are so closed minded. Try the product first before you butcher it. I tried a patch on my wife's bad ankle and within seconds her pain went away from a level 8 to 0 pain. She was so amazed. She is the biggest skeptic too might have add.

    1. Does trying it make it less woo? Does it make company less guilty of manipulating evidence to make itself look good? Does trying it make it a double-blind test with sufficient sample size (say, thousands)?

    2. Just for the hell of it, I thought I'd try them out....TRULY try them out. After all, I've dealt with chronic pain since a 1992 car accident. Someone I know is really pushing the damn things so I thought, "What the hell." I spent the $300.00 for the 'Pain' Package, I studied EXACTLY where to put the patches, etc. I can honestly say: IT'S ALL IN YOUR MIND!!!!! Hell, after almost 10 years these people at LifeWave can't even get a patent! DO NOT SPEND THE MONEY ON THEM.

  4. Wow need an approval to comment? Truth must hurt I guess

    1. Perhaps the fact that the rest of us have a "life" and don't live to approve your comment minutes after you post them is what's hurting you.

    2. anonymous you do not have your facts straight which means you don't know nothing about the product it actually is patented which means you have an agenda elsewhere or just ignorant.

    3. Nowadays patent is no longer that meaningful. Did you know someone tried to patent a light bulb changer? (no joke)