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Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pain Makes People Irrational

I've been repairing and altering people's shoes for thirty five years, and have seen every gimmick at least once. A few work, but most are just effective in separating customers from their cash and nothing else. Magnetic insoles are at the very top of the heap of quackery, and Nikken leads the perfidy parade. If you haven't ever run into a Nikken Wellness Product "consultant" let me tell you what you are missing. If you can imagine an Amway sales person on steroids and crystal meth with a pocket full of testimonials and anecdotes you are getting close. The concept that magnetic fields weaker than refrigerator magnets can somehow effect human physiology is not only proven bogus by peer reviewed research, but Nikken sales people remain deliberately ignorant of these findings in order to market these bits of plastic crap. Their markup is simply amazing.

While Nikken is Japanese in origin, they do not fall into the category of Traditional Asian Medicine. People's feet hurt. People must use their feet on a regular basis. The more people use their feet, the more thy hurt. People want to fix things that hurt. Nothing works fast or reliably. Enter the quacks. For quackery to "work" the product must be sold, and the investment must be substantial, for only then does the victim become a willing part of the scam.

Odd beliefs about medicine are nothing new. In fact Old, obscure and Oriental seem to equate to good and wise. Western, modern, scientific and researched seem to be bad. Medicine has been saving lives for a hundred years or so, before that, not so much. Germ theory seems to be the point of departure that Western medicine takes from other traditional medical practices. From there the gap quickly widened to the point where they can't see each other. The advantage traditional medicine has is that its practitioners will always promise a cure. The disadvantage Western practitioners have is that they sometimes have to tell people they can't be cured.

Living animals, mankind among them are enormously complicated chemical entities, fraught with evolutionary compromises and adaptations that work, but not quite as well as they could. Pain is an alarm that doesn't know when to shut up, sort of like a car alarm. Who pays attention to car alarms anymore? As we age, background pain becomes an everyday companion, and disposable income allocated to turn that superfluous alarm off increases. Enter the quacks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If magnets had any effect on the body then a simple MRI would tear the blood from your body and people actually would get cancer from living under power lines.