Your Friday Dose of Woo: I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic (Beam) Blues Again Mama!

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Although there’s been plenty of woo this week (Harriet Denz-Penhey, anyone?), it hasn’t been the truly entertaining woo that I so love, you know, the kind of woo of Your Friday Dose of Woo, my long-standing (albeit now intermittent) excursion into the depths of alt-med silliness so over-the-top that it requires–nay, demands!–some serious not-so-Respectful Insolence, but in a more light-hearted way. After all, it’s Friday, and what better way to get ready for the weekend than with a little visit to Dr. Orac’s Emporium of Quackery and Pseudoscience known as Your Friday Dose of Woo, as long as you aren’t someone who’s fallen for the blandishments of one of the victims–I mean subjects–of Orac’s little project.

Of course, last week I was busy deconstructing nonsense about medicine from the Three Musketeers of Woo when in reality I had wanted a dose of what only YFDoW could deliver. However, duty called when it was clear that the Musketeers were launching an all-out assault on science-based medicine, although I did find it rather amusing that Dr. Dossey demanded that his woo be treated on equal footing with science-based medicine. As they say, be careful what you wish for.

In any case, I found the perfect bit of pure silly quackery to start 2010 out right with its first installment of YFDoW. For one thing, it’s cosmic, man. No, really, it’s cosmic. I mean it. It’s something called Cosmic Beam Therapy.

Far out, man.

You know, sometimes I wish I didn’t have scruples. After all, it’s scruples that keep me from doing what these guys do, namely asking for just a picture and then claiming that they can cure you of just about any disease (or “dis-ease,” the preferred spelling of the word by quacks):

A person may be living anywhere in the world; a photograph is required to sense the AURA (energy field around body) to diagnose & heal from any distance.

This is a distance healing method for brain diseases like migraine, schizophrenia; genetic dis-eases like thalassaemia; reproductive disorders, kidney/ gallstone, cysts & other incurable dis-eases.

Amazing, isn’t it? Just send in a picture, and you can be cured incurable diseases! Of course, I’m a bit curious at this woo-meister’s choice of “incurable” diseases. Gallstones, for instance, are certainly quite curable with a little bit of surgical steel applied carefully, these days through small ports by laparoscopic instruments. Yes, that nasty old reductionist scientific medicine is quite effective against some of these diseases, and for the ones out of this list it can’t cure it can often treat reasonably well. However, before I get into the woo itself, let me just point out one thing that really amused me when I read it. It’s the healer stating:

Before any argument, discussion, suspicion, criticism, belief on the contents of this website, it is necessary that first & foremost you ring/ email us to experience the soothing effect of Cosmic Energy on your body and mind. It doesn’t matter which part of the world you live in.

I’ll pass, thank you very much. I’m certainly not making an international call, and I don’t see the point of e-mailing someone. Besides, if this particular healer can heal distantly, why can’t he sense my intent distantly and preemptively e-mail or call me? I mean, come on! He’s got the cosmic beam to detect and heal disease distantly! Why not detect and preempt nasty skeptics making fun of his woo? I must say, I do find it pretty funny that, right there on the very front page of the website, there’s a plea by the healer to skeptics not to be mean to him and harsh his cosmic buzz. Nasty, vicious skeptics, insisting on scientific evidence for claims such as “cosmic beam healing”! How could we? Why can’t we just believe? You know, believe John Edward, believe Sylvia Browne, believe, well, this:

The intense reaction in the brain on success or failure in possessing the worldly pleasures (attachment to man & material), results in an imbalance of cosmic energy. This in turn leads to the gradual closure of the vital centers (called chakras), thereby preventing the smooth flow of Divine/ Cosmic Energy. When the body is deprived of this Energy, it is prone to all sorts of physical and mental diseases, which makes our life journey painful.

As painful as the assault on science and reason this website launches? I think not. It’s also clear that the healer thinks not, as in doesn’t think:

Physicists state that there are no basic building blocks of matter, rather that the Universe is an inseparable whole. Since we are inseparable parts of that whole, we can enter into a holistic state of being, become the whole, and tap into the creative powers of the Universe to instantaneously heal anyone, anywhere. Dr. Andria Puharich was able to consistently measure an 8 Hz magnetic pulse coming from the hands of healers. He found that healers who produce a more intense signal have a greater effect of healing.

Andria Puharich? I hadn’t heard of him before; a little Googling revealed that he was a parapsychology researcher who had reported favorably on Uri Geller. Apparently, he also investigated favorably a “psychic surgeon” named Zé Arigó and a Dutch psychic named Peter Hurkos. Suffice it to say, from what little I could find out about Puharich, I’m not impressed with his critical thinking abilities. Not surprisingly, his name is mentioned on a whole bunch of quack sites, including the current topic of YFDoW today. A quick search on Google Scholar yields many books and articles with titles like “Beyond Telepathy” and “Basic Energy Systems in Acupuncture,” or credulous paeans to Uri Geller. He fits right into blithering idiocy like this:

This therapy is neither for the dis-ease nor for symptoms, but for the person as a whole – i.e. for physical, mental & spiritual health. All dis-eases manifest as a result of an imbalance in positive and negative energy (toxic matter), and as such, name of the disease is immaterial – be it Schizophrenia, Rett Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Angina, Arthritis, Cysts, Spondylitis, Migraine, fibroids, adenoids, stones, etc. Almost all dis-eases, including those, which are considered chronic / incurable, can be healed.

He shoots, he scores! It’s the perfect alt-med trope about “treating the whole person,” but what elevates it to truly extraordinary is the claim that the name of the disease is immaterial and that all disease can be healed. In other words, it doesn’t matter what you have, stage IV pancreatic cancer or a hangnail. These guys will fix you up! All it takes is this:

This is a powerful method of tapping the Cosmic Energy and directing it to the dis-eased, irrespective of time & space. It is a complete and exclusively distance method of healing, wherein only a photograph of the dis-eased is required. As soon as we receive the photo and the details, we sense the AURA to find out whether the patient is in a healable stage. So also the problem areas & the cause (like anger, worry, greed, tension, ego, fear, attachment, past-life effect, etc.) are assessed. Some guidelines are sent – to speed up the healing process.

Oh, come on! Everyone knows that only the Silver Surfer could manipulate the power cosmic. True, Doctor Doom did manage to steal that ability from the Surfer once, but the Surfer got it back. In any case, I have to wonder if these guys are counting on poorly adjusted and focused cameras. How else would they see “auras” in photographs. It’s a wonderful scam, though, particularly since the healer offering this “service” apparently resides in India. Not too many people are going to track him down, and if they die, if a many of those patients with incurable diseases die, who’s going to know? Certainly, it’s highly unlikely that anyone would actually track this person down.

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But you don’t have to worry about this, really. After all, cosmic beam therapy is amazing in its awesomeness:

3. How correct is the Aura sensing?
Aura has been scientifically proved beyond doubt. Aura can be photographed – which is a costly affair; it can be seen by the clairvoyants – which is a rare phenomenon and lastly, it can be sensed between the palms – which is simple, easy and accurate. Of course, the accuracy of the interpretation & diagnosis depends upon experience & expertise of the healer.

4. How is it different from other healing methods?
In Cosmic Beam Therapy, sensing of the problem areas and healing can be done if the dis-eased person’s hair, nail, photograph, blood drop, handwriting, recorded voice, or anything belonging to him / her is available. But we prefer a passport size photograph. This is a powerful method of tapping the cosmic energy, wherein normally, one can feel the effect of the therapy instantly, but feels within a day or two if the case is chronic or if sensation level of the dis-eased is low. We continue the therapy only if the dis-eased feels the effect of Energy on his/her body, in these two days. This system of healing has been developed after rigorous practice.

In other words, cosmic beam therapy is magic. It’s witchcraft. You take an image of someone or something that belongs to that person, and then you do magic on it in order to affect the person. The only thing that’s missing is a voodoo doll, except that, instead of sticking needles in it, the healer thinks nice thoughts at it and expects the person whom the doll represents to respond to those nice thoughts. I’d love to see the “rigorous practice” that led to this “healing modality,” though.

Unfortunately, something that I truly loathe about alt-med rears its ugly head once again, even in this light-hearted woo that’s so silly it’s hard not to laugh at it. This is the one part I didn’t laugh at:

6. What should the dis-eased do?
Dis-eases are our own creation. Older people are often seen relating their disease to old age. But old age has nothing to do with the disease. There are instances of people living a healthy life till the end. So, understanding the meaning of life, the cause has to be analysed and avoided by the healee. Healee is expected to follow the healer’s instructions, for faster healing. Be with the Nature. Be cheerful. Laugh and make others laugh. Drink plenty of water. Wash hands, feet & head at regular intervals. Be bare-footed, as far as possible. Let there be no conflict in what you think, do & say. Most important is the regular feedback by the healee to the healer, for continuous guidance.

7. Is there a chance of relapse?
After restoration of health, if one merely keeps a check on his/her ‘wish horses’ – like anger, worry, jealousy, lust and attachment, and if there is minimum conflict in what one thinks, does & says, then there is no reason why you cannot live a dis-ease free life. It is our uncontrolled desires, which create an energy blockage (accumulation of toxic matter in vital body channels/paths), leading to dis-ease.

Whew! For a moment there I thought these guys were actually going to admit the possibility of failure and relapse. Dodged that bullet! But notice the same “blame the victim” mentality that so burns me. Old age has nothign to do with disease? Diseases (excuse me, “dis-eases”) are our own creation? Follow all these instructions, or you’ll stay “dis-eased”! And it’ll be your own fault!

Notice one other thing. What’s most important for staying free of “dis-ease” once you’ve finally purged yourself of lust, anger, worry, jealous, lust, and attachment? Regular feedback by the healee to the healer, of course! Like a chiropractor suggesting regular “adjustments” for years and years and years that stretch into the rest of your life, our cosmic healing healer wants to keep the marks coming back again and again and again and again.

Because that’s the way things work in woo-world.