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Yogi Jacket: How about some acupressure woo on a Friday?

How would you like a jacket with 7,000 miniature nontoxic plastic spikes lining it to stimulate those acupressure points? Have I got a jacket for you! Introducing…the Yogi Jacket! It’s woo-tactic!

Things have been too serious lately, what with learning about how prevalent belief in cancer quackery is, finding out how public health officials in California feel about bogus medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates, and the success of a program to train “integrative oncology” health professionals; so I was looking for a break. Then I saw this, the Yogi Jacket:

It turns out that the source for this jacket, which claims to provide acupressure all over your torso, is a Kickstarter campaign, The Yogi Jacket: Naturally relieve pain and reduce stress, with the claim that “Yogi Jacket’s 7,000+ acupressure spikes support you in reaching a deep state of relaxation to elevate your overall well-being.”

And here they are:

Yogi Jacket

Yogi Jacket spikes
Yogi Jacket spikes: Ouch!

Acupressure spikes? That sounds painful. Don’t worry, though, the makers of Yogi Jacket assures us that it’s the greatest thing since…well…acupuncture! They’re seeking $20,000 to get their product to market. Just check out this slick video that accompanies the Kickstarter appeal:

I love how it starts out by saying that over 70% of us experience stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression. (Only 70%?) I also love how it talks about “over 7,000 strategically placed nontoxic plastic spikes.” (What a relief that they’re nontoxic.) Then, of course, there’s the acupuncturist, a very crunchy-looking bespectacled woman, blathering about how this “stimulates” acupuncture points and “energy centers” in the body to provide a sense of happiness and comfort. Of course, when I looked at the jacket (photo below), it looked to me as though there were basically plastic spikes everywhere. So how would anyone know whether the spikes were stimulating acupuncture points versus non-acupuncture points, given that pretty much the whole back (at least) is covered. I assume that these spikes line the arms and front of the jacket as well.

Yogi Jacket
The Yogi Jacket: Such construction!

On the Yogi Jacket Kickstarter page, Hayley Gardner, the acupuncturist featured in the video, tells us:

Acupressure for the Yogi Jacket

The body runs on electricity? Not quite. The body runs on chemical reactions, some of which are electrochemical and produce voltage gradients across cell membranes that can be used for signaling (as in the nervous system). It doesn’t have wires running through it or electricity flowing through it, at least not in the way people commonly understand. As for acupuncture and acupressure, as I’ve discussed more times than I can remember, it’s theatrical placebo. It doesn’t matter if you stick the needles in. It doesn’t matter where you stick the needles. Neither acupuncture nor acupressure have any specific effects for anything.

So who created the Yogi Jacket? It’s a guy by the name of Tanveer Grewal:

A few years ago, I was in front of a computer for 10-12 hours a day. Then, in the fall of 2015, I was suffering from back pain and low energy. The long hours in front of a computer had taken a toll on my health. I tried dozens of natural products and therapies, but the clear winner was Acupressure therapy and meditation, which worked wonders to relieve my back pain and reduce stress.

Acupressure therapy can get really expensive from a licensed acupuncturist, the spike mats are too bulky to carry everywhere and you have to dedicate a separate time and space to get the desired benefits…not to mention that most of them lie somewhere in a corner, gathering dust.

To have something readily accessible on the go, I designed the Yogi Jacket in my own basement and started consistently incorporating it into my daily routine at home, work and everywhere I went. I experienced increased energy levels, more alertness, reduction in stress and back pain, improved quality of my sleep along with various other benefits.

Or maybe just sending some time away from the computer to think and meditate and having someone, in essence, gently touch his body account for his feeling a lot better and the resolution of his back pain. Included with Grewal’s account is a picture of a prototype in which he had glued—yes, glued—all those little plastic spikes, which came from a spike mat, into the back of a hoodie. A spike mat, for those of you unfamiliar with them, are mats with plastic circles from which project small plastic spikes; they’re frequently used for acupressure. There’s not a lot of evidence regarding spike mats, but one study did show that they don’t alleviate chronic pain or improve sleep, but might reduce the worst peaks of pain. Naturally, it was a small study without a control group. Again, what I don’t understand is how this could be acupressure, which is defined as using pressure on acupuncture points, when these little spikes are all over these mats (and the Yogi Jacket) and thus would be “stimulating” mostly non-acupuncture points, but then that’s just me, I guess. Of course, there is at least one randomized study, but it had no sham acupressure group and is therefore useless.

So what can the Yogi Jacket do, according to Grewal? Not surprisingly, the health claims are rather…diffuse, as this press release shows:

With the Yogi Jacket, self-healing is possible. Today the innovative acupressure jacket has launched on Kickstarter with a funding goal of $20,000.

Comprised of over 7,000 spikes, the Yogi Jacket provides the feel and benefits of a professional acupressure treatment for a fraction of the price. The jacket works by relieving back pain and promotes relaxation of tense muscles throughout the day, ultimately increasing blood circulation.

There’s even a nice little graphic to let you know how awesome the Yogi Jacket is:

Yogi Jacket
The Yogi Jacket: Look at all the amazing health benefits! It does everything!

I wonder how wearing a jacket with tiny plastic spikes boosts one’s creativity. Perhaps it hurts so much that it forces one to become more creative. However, I’d think that having all those little spikes might cause more, not less, stress. But who am I to say? I’m just a dumb cancer surgeon who questions the grandeur of vitalistic forms of “medicine” like acupuncture, acupressure, and products that claim to use acupuncture points.

Looking at this jacket, I had a number of questions? How do you keep the little spikes from catching on your clothes as you put the jacket on and take it off? Why 7,000 spikes. If you use the rule of nines, you can estimate that the percentage of your body surface area taken up by the arms and the torso is slightly less than 54%, and a typical human has a surface area of between 1.5 and 2 square meters, or 16.1-21.5 sq ft., meaning that a jacket covers roughly 8.7 to 11.6 sq. ft. With 7,000 minispikes, the Yogi Jacket thus has roughly 700 spikes per square foot or 5 spikes per square inch. (It’s actually slightly more than that, given that the rule of nines includes the hands, which are not covered by this jacket and the area of the hands should be subtracted. from the area covered. However, I’ve already gotten wonky enough here. I’m only interested in rough estimates; so this is good enough.) True, the spikes are not evenly distributed, given how they are placed on little plastic disks along the outside, but, still, that doesn’t leave a lot of space between the spikes, which would cover and “stimulate” basically the entire

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this product, once launched, took off and sold like hotcakes, particularly in the more woo-prone parts of the country, like Portland, Los Angeles, and similar areas. Truly, the Yogi Jacket is one of the most woo-tastic things I’ve seen in quite a while

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

67 replies on “Yogi Jacket: How about some acupressure woo on a Friday?”

Since the spikes hit all the meridians all over, it should cure more things like smoking, menopause, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, and most remarkably blood pressure in the brain. Its the total body experience.

If this succeeds the follow on product possibilities are endless:

Acupressure upholstery
Acupressure pillows and mattresses
Acupressure dust covers for perspex boxes
Acupressure undergarm…okay, let’s not go there

rs: Reading your comment, I went there.
I’m considering marketing the acupressure condom. It’s more stimulating than the ribbed kind, and it doesn’t really matter which side is out. It should be really effective for contraception.

Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow could combine the spikes with that jade egg. A potential cure for any and all gynecological problems from infertility to menopause.

” it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this product, once launched, took off and sold like hotcakes.”

If people with business sense thought that, the Yogi Jacket would have investment capital, and not be on Kickstarter with 31 pledges totaling $3,200 of a $20,000 goal. (Or, I could say, if it would sell, it would already be up onGoo.) My guess is that whatever $$ Tanveer Grewal or his friends and family put up to create the promo content on the Kickstarter page will disappear down the dunghole of broken get-rich-quick dreams. Of all the wacky wooey products Orac has featured on Fridays over the years, I’ve yet to see evidence of one that has actually made money, much less become a fad. I suppose there’s both caution and comfort in that. On one hand, the lure of woo profiteering remains very strong, testimony to con-artists seeing a weakness in the public’s gullibility about this stuff, OTOH, that gullibility isn’t so strong that they’ll fall for anything, especially pricey anythings.

This reminds me of Chi Pants, except it’s much MUCH more extreme. Chi Pants – which featured crystals sewn into the waistband – actually made it out to stores… for awhile. They were, IIRC, decent pants otherwise, and though overpriced (of course) no more so than some fashion merch.

One word: Goop. Goop has made a lot of money selling woo-tastic items like Jade Eggs. Sure, most woo products probably fail, but enough of them make their owners a lot of money to keep the flow coming.

I’m getting old. I wrote “Goo” when I meant “Goop”. Sure, some woo products are profitable, which leads would-be entrepreneurs to try their hands at bigger/better cons in that area – including lots of folks who are delusional about their abilities, so a LOT of these things fail, probably the majority. OK probably the VAST majority. That doesn’t mean that much by itself, e.g. you could assemble a whole website of scores of silly woo-product failures, and that wouldn’t mean consumer woo as is nothing to worry about.

What might be useful to know, though, is what separates commercial successes from failures on the woo front. A lot of that might just be the business skills and resources stuff that has nothing to do with the nature of the product itself. But there might be some discernible content differences. Just look at the two examples JP cited: these are basically standard products with woo claims added on. The magic bracelet still serves the same function as non-magic bracelets, and the chi-machine serves the same function as a regular vibrating chair. OTOH, the yogi jacket doesn’t look like a usable substitute for a regular jacket. I’d also like to know the price differences – how much extra they get for the magic bracelets over similar non-magic bracelets, how much extra they get for a chi machine versus a similar no-chi vibrating chair.

As for the Jade Eggs, that’s really hard to interpret. I’d guess they were never expected to be big sellers, but were included in the line to help define the brand and generate publicity, which they did. We don’t know how many they actually sold, and we certainly don’t know how many of the people who bought them took the claims dead seriously and literally. My guess, not many, because I think the vast majority of young women in the Goop demographic might want to say they bought a rock that’s supposed to do magic if they stick it into their vagina but don’t actually want to stick rocks into their vaginas. Which is to say, it’s not really shots-and-giggles irony, though maybe a tinge of that, but more like dress-up, fantasy, masquerade, play…

I’m getting old.

Join the fucking club. Oh, wait.

I wrote “Goo” when I meant “Goop”.

This is not noteworthy, it’s just the prolegomenon to more self-indulgence. You’re a literate version of Doucheniak. Get your own blog.

When I saw the phrase “Acupressure is based on the concept of life energy…” I imagined you saying “Vitalism!”

These things are modern hair shirts. Assuming Tanveer Grewal actually manages to manufacture them in quantity, in a few years we’ll see them on the Remainders rack at naughty adult stores, offered as “BDSM gear.”

I’m surprised they didn’t label ’em “Gluten Free!” and include an “app” along with.

I remember something called a “chi machine” that I played with when I was staying with friends up in Seattle once. It apparently did well enough to get made and actually bought by at least a few people.

I mean, for us it was just for kicks and giggles. It was basically like one of those “magic fingers” vibrating chairs. I think it was your feet that you put in it – this was at least a decade ago – and it shook. It did give kind of a “buzzy” feeling that was funny, but that’s it. No idea how it was supposed to effect chi. Maybe I’ll look it up, if anything is on the Internet about it.

It would be trivially easy to copy. I don’t think they could even patent it as it appears to be a mat with sleeves on it. Obviously wearing it would be all but impossible.

I’m not sure where they even get 20K from. They could buy a cheap jacket and mat from alibaba, send it to a factory, and get a bid and a couple of samples. If they’re planning on marketing it anywhere except Amazon/Ebay/Etsy/Walmart they need more than 20K to manufacture it for a distributor.

Sounds like a form of crunchy granola cilice to me. At the very least, it’s not unlike a bed of nails: by adding many of them, the pressure from any one is reduced. Of course, there would be agony if someone clapped you on the back.

Wear the jacket inside-out and the clapper will be the one in pain. Hmm. Maybe it has a future in self defense.

So probably not helpful for sunburn, I guess. Personally I think the plastic discs look cheap. I think he should go more artisanal with hand carved wooden discs or beaded chainmail for re-enactors.

I think the disks look like they came off the bottoms of modern golf shoes.

Imagine what would happen if you wore the jacket while wearing a knit shirt. You’d never get out again! Just 7000 snags.

You know, after this effort fails – and it probably will , its creators might try to channel their creativity towards lower priced smaller alternatives such as:
– headbands and “thinking caps”
– pain relief wraps, knee braces, tennis elbow sleeves to heal injuries
– waist cinchers and belts to stimulate weight loss
– reflexology socks/ shoe inserts’ gloves for EVERYTHING

Much cheaper to produce and distribute.

There’s money in magic. One of the idiots I survey once marketted various clothing items with curative magnets sewn in.

Of course, they could also make a discount version with strips of acu-points along the most powerful meridians or points . The jacket as shown would probably cost a lot. beyond most people’s means
But then there are people who spend 100 USD for 500 grams of dried fruits or vegetables every few weeks. so….

Given the claims made for the jacket, it’s clearly a medical device; albeit, one without the evidence required for approval by the FDA to allow its sale in the US.

Four or five years ago when I was at the coast with family, my brother bought some sort of magical bracelets that were supposed to prevent seasickness before he went on an ocean fishing trip. They were yellow and sort of a silicone type texture. Supposed to be acupressure, maybe?

I told him they were bullshit and couldn’t possibly work, and he was like “You don’t know everything! The human body is complex and mysterious.”

I will admit that I bought and used and decided I had some relief from some SeaBands while on a bus trip in Europe. They’re basically sweatbands with a plastic button that’s supposed to press into the tendons on your wrist. Some acupressure bla bla bla. I don’t believe in any of that for a second. But I do know that pressure is distracting, and at least for me and minor motion sickness, distraction + deciding that these would help did help me avoid feeling too sick.

Now, when we got to the windy mountain roads I was all about the Dramamine. Mind over matter is a lovely idea, but a body has to know their limits.

(Trying to buy SeaBands in France, while speaking essentially no French was a hilarious adventure in mime.)

So JP, if your brother decided that they worked, and also used all the other tricks to avoid sea sickness (looking at the horizon, staying on deck, being careful about what you eat) then maybe they helped a bit via placebo.

Or he wore some really ugly bracelets!

@Justatech:

Yah, I think those were actually the things my brother bought. The yellow rubbery bracelets I’m remembering were actually supposed anti-mosquito bracelets, I think.

I’ve had some placebo relief or something of the sort myself. Once when I was sick with a cough/chest cold, I bought some cough syrup and didn’t realize it was homeopathic until some days later. (The placement of these things!) It did seem to help some. Part of it might have just been the sheer “syrup” factor; it was sweet and viscous and I imagine it had quite a bit of sugar of some sort in it. Sort of like drinking something with honey, I guess.

Denice, as the official spokesmoose for Orac’s wilder minions I received a number of alternate suggestions for the Yogi jacket from some of my furry friends (mostly lab rats, mice, and one guinea pig): the Microneedle Vaccine Vest. The MVV would eliminate the need for injections https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5137519/) and apparently also relieve pain and stress simultaneously…

Moose

Maybe the people behind ThunderVest ™ for dogs will be interested

Of course, I’m joking: who would want to bother dogs with nonsense

Good point; most dogs I know put their allowance to good use on things like rawhide chews or frisbees, not jade eggs…

My dear departed woo-prone mother once gave me some those reflexology shoe inserts and even a pair of slippers. They were absolutely hell to wear, and I never used them after that one time I tried them on.

I anxiously await the arrival of the acupressure diaphragm and condom. Sure fire way to boost your sexless life and prevent unwanted pregnancies….

Screaming

deep breath

You would be amazed (and horrified) by the kind of “alternative” products people try to sell in the prophylactic space. Vegan condoms and lube? Sure, knock yourself out. The one that got me was someone trying to sell condoms with a colloidal silver lube. Yeah no.

Thankfully, condoms are regulated by the FDA as a medical device, so there’s less room for messing around.

Narad references condoms that have no latex allergens. It’s about time one of Orac’s minions jumped on MJD’s bandwagon. Although, I never thought Narad would be the first one. Thanks Narad!

I wonder what animal contributes to condoms and what is used. I think condoms are rubber, which is plant-based,

There’s also vinyl, but they’re hard to find because they don’t sell well because they’re more expensive and (apparently) don’t feel as nice.

There’s also vinyl, but they’re hard to find because they don’t sell well because they’re more expensive and (apparently) don’t feel as nice.

Something something Stormy Daniels/Trump something.

There is a character named Jakob Bargak who markets acupressure apps in the Windows Store. His various apps promise to relieve all sorts of things, most of them trivial or harmless, but some that could lead to serious harm or even death if anyone took them seriously.
Among the things he claims effectiveness for are asthma, depression, nosebleeds, insect bite, diabetic coma, “massive menstruation (women)”, and “extremely high blood pressure (hypertension)”. He also claims all kinds of effectiveness for Types I and II diabetes, such that “You do not need to spend time visiting the doctor.” Stopping addiction is just another one of his various claims (Less seriously, one of his apps is entitled “Get Pregnant with Acupressure.” It definitely sounds like less fun than getting pregnant the old-fashioned way.).
I have written to Microsoft several times that someone is going to get hurt or die trusting one of these apps, and that may leave them open to legal liability. So far, no responses, and no change in availability.

(Less seriously, one of his apps is entitled “Get Pregnant with Acupressure.” It definitely sounds like less fun than getting pregnant the old-fashioned way.)

Who wants to be pregnant with acupressure? The title reminds me of Demon Seed.

When my back is sore, I stick one of those little heat patches over a t-shirt and then put on a cozy wool sweater (sometimes even cashmere!), get comfortable on the couch and have a glass of wine. My stress and pain improve greatly. I get the patches free with my Medicare Advantage Plan and the cashmere sweaters are mostly gifts. Cheap fix for me. Now then, how can I market this and finally get rich?

You need to market this as a branded package with a special blend of cashmere, a branded heat patch, and a bottle of wine specially selected for its healing properties. Connect it with some particular kind(s) of woo, and get a former celebrity desperate for work of any kind to endorse it.

The overall workings of the Yogi Jacket indicates that the 7,000 spikes are intended for personal use only. The jacket does not appear to be reversible, therefore, others would not experience the novel benefits of the Yogi Jacket from a well placed hug or incidental contact.

MJD, are you just taking Orac’s word that there are 7,000 spikes in the jacket? I think the only responsible thing you can do is to get one of these jackets and count the spikes, making sure you don’t miss any. It’s a task I’m sure is well-suited to your particular talents. I’m sure we’re all going to be awaiting the result breathlessly.
Possible side benefit: If there are too few spikes, get your money back and sue for false advertising. You could probably do that if there are too many, too.

Hey, how many people have a museum and learning center named after them ?

see Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, Montclair State University

Totally OT, but since Orac and SR are fans of The Walking Dead and, y’know, medicine kind of gets mentioned around here, I discovered a new NPR program tonight while breaking my back in the illegal “cat rescue.” I’m hoping that somebody might find something of interest in the October 29 episode of Bullseye. It’s an interview with Steven Yeun followed by one with Sydnee and Justin McElroy, who do a podcast about medical history (and are promoting a new book).

Like those of us with dermal allergies. Plus the itchies during the time of alder pollen. I recently broke a rib due to coughing due to a chest cold just after alder season (a tree that deserves to burn!). When I went to the clinic I had to explain the scratches on my body were self inflicted while sleeping because it was alder allergy season.

I wonder if a shirt like that would help during the evil alder pollen season.

Also, is there a version for hemorrhoid itchies? Asking for a friend.

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