I’m off to Chicago, where the woo doth flow

Surgeons, especially general surgeons, know that the middle of October is an important time of year. One thing that hospitals notice is that the surgery schedule in the O.R. often slows down considerably for several days. If you’re the junior surgeon or otherwise the low man on the totem pole, you suddenly find that it’s easy to get O.R. time, that you can book cases at times you normally couldn’t before, and that you might even get the better rooms. The reason? Simple. The middle of October is the time when the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress takes place, and that’s where I’m going this afternoon.

What that means for the ol’ blog is that things will slow down. What will probably happen is that I’ll post the usual collection of “best of” posts (if there is a such thing for this blog). However, much of what I will repost will be more than three years old, which means it’ll new to you if you haven’t been following the wild and woolly world of the Insolence that is Orac for at least two or three years. Of course, as nearly always, there will be some new stuff interspersed with the old, frantically typed out between meetings or in the morning before I head off to McCormick Place to take in all that surgical science-y goodness. (It’s all part of my evil plan to keep readers from simply deciding not to check back her until the middle of next week.)

Maybe I’ll even manage to find some awesome EneMan tchotchkes. Part of the reason I haven’t done any EneMan posts for a while is because…well, Fleet never sent me a 2009 Calendar (despite my asking) and, more importantly, I simply haven’t had a lot of inspiration for something to do with our intrepid anti-woo blog mascot. That will have to change. Our old friend with the thing sticking out of his head about whose purpose you really don’t want to inquire in too much detail will put up with a lot, but a year out of the limelight? Even that may be too much. Maybe he’ll even be at the Fleet display in the Exhibit Hall, in which case I must get a picture of myself with our old friend.

In the meantime, maybe I’ll end up meeting up with some of my readers. The last time I suggested such a thing, it went over like the proverbial led balloon, but we’ll see this time. A reader facetiously (I think) suggested just the place:

Karyn’s Raw Cafe.

Yes, it’s a vegan restaurant. No, I’m not a vegan–I’m anything but. However, I’m not opposed to vegan food, just the woo that goes along with it. And, oh boy, does Karyn have a lot of woo! Take a look:

Colon Hydrotherapy
Diet, stress and toxins from our internal and external environments can quickly cause a build up of undigested matter in our large intestine/colon. Impacted fecal matter can be responsible for a myriad of ailments including indigestion, acne, body odor and poor nutrient absorption. Colon therapy is one of the most effective ways to quickly cleanse and heal the body by eliminating accumulated and impacted fecal matter. Relax one-on-one with a certified colon therapist using a state of the art apparatus that gently flows tepid water in and out of the body while strengthening the colon muscle tissues. To enhance your session we recommend using oxygen or adding an implant of wheatgrass, chlorophyll or rejuvelac to help pull out excess mucous and replenish good bacteria. Sessions last 45 minutes.

Cost: $85 per session; $320 for a package of 4, or $750 for a package of 10. Oxygen and implants are included in the price of colonics but implants must be purchased ahead of appointment and provided by client.

Woo-hoo! (Or, should I say just “Woo!”) Think of it! Colon cleanses! But not just any colon cleanse, a wheatgrass, chlorophyll, or rejuvelac colon cleanse. Of course, rejuvelac is a fermented liquid that supposedly improves the digestion of food. Why on earth would you want to insert an “implant” of this stuff in the colon? And don’t you just love the thought of tepid water flowing in and out of your colon? Yum! There’s nothing better, especially if you’re a woo who thinks that mere regularity is never enough. In any case, if there’s one job I don’t want, it’s that of colon hydrotherapist. On the other hand, at $85 a pop, maybe I could learn to deal with the plethora of consistencies of fecal matter.


But that’s not all. After a good colon cleanse, what do you need to suck out any “toxins” out somehow didn’t come out through your colon in the form of big brown? Easy, you need this:

Oxygen Bath
Sit comfortably in a sauna ‚ like pod that increases the available oxygen to the body over the level of daily function to the level needed to draw toxins from the body. A powerful detoxifier that will leave you invigorated and refreshed, while it regenerates on the cellular level. Sessions last 20-30 minutes.

Cost: $55 per bath. A series of 10 baths is $450.

What is it with people and “boosting” oxygen? The amount of oxygen dissolved in the blood is small relative to the amount bound to hemoglobin, and at the partial pressure of oxygen at sea level the hemoglobin in a normal person is pretty much saturated. Dissolving more oxygen in the blood doesn’t do anything, and cranking up the oxygen certainly doesn’t “draw toxins from the body” or “regenerate on the cellular level” (whatever that means). Come to think of it, “regenerate on the cellular level is one of those pointless alt-med phrases that sounds all science-y but has no real meaning in physiology. But, hey, if it costs $55 for 20-30 minutes, it must work, right?

Just like the ear coning, truly one of the stupidest “alternative medicine” types of “treatment” ever conceived. I wonder what whoever invented this particular form of woo was thinking when he or she thought of it. Hey, let’s stick a candle in a person’s ear and light it. It’ll draw out earwax and “toxins.” Yeah, that’s the ticket. If they’ll believe that, they’ll believe anything, and then I can sell them…

Aqua Chi!

That’s right, it’s a soothing footbath of woo, where the water changes color, drawing out your “toxins” through your feet. Too bad the water changes color whether there are feet in it or not. These “detox footbaths” are pure woo. They do serve one purpose, though. They show definitively that there is no concept too divorced from reality that it can’t be turned into the basis of some sort of “alternative” therapy.

The sad thing about this whole thing is that Karyn’s place is in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago. In fact, back in the late 1990s, my wife and I lived only a half mile walk away from where Karyn’s Lincoln Park location is today. I’d look for almost any excuse to go back to that neighborhood for a visit. However, given the amount of pure nonsense being sold at Karyn’s, I’d be afraid that the clash of my “aura” with the woo aura emanating from Karyn’s place would split the fabric of the space time continuum.

I wouldn’t want that to happen in my favorite city. Newark or Camden, OK, but not Chicago.