Here’s a delicious column from Now! Magazine’s Elizabeth Bromstein, detailing her trip to the Whole Life Expo in Toronto. She encounters booth after booth of pseudoscience vendors, but also comes away with some awareness of this dedicated, well-meaning (but oh so wrong) group:
The Doctor’s Chocolate (list price $49.95 for 65 pieces) is apparently an all-natural dark chocolate and raspberry truffle that not only relieves anxiety but reduces PMS symptoms and heightens mental clarity, partly because it contains the amino acid L-theanine.
The literature refers to its “unique raspberry chocolate delivery system.” I eat a sample piece but don’t seem to feel any less agitated and wonder if the unique raspberry chocolate delivery system is working properly.
At another booth I see the StressBlocker ($342). This machine, I’m told, runs at a frequency of 9.216 MHz, encouraging the body to operate at an ideal internal frequency level of 12 to 25 Hertz. It also supposedly heals cuts and lesions “10 times faster than normal.” I can’t begin to imagine why every hospital trauma unit in North America isn’t using a StressBlocker.
A little way on, I’m intrigued by the TurboSonic vibration therapy machine ($14,449), whose vibrations are claimed to restore sexual response, speed recovery from surgery trauma, increase bone density and reduce body fat and cellulite, among other fantastic things.
“But it just shakes you,” I say to the man at the booth.
“Well,” he says with a serious face, “it is a Class I medical device under the FDA.” Far be it from me to be suspicious of a Class I medical device, but Class I simply means that a device represents minimal potential for harm to the user. It doesn’t mean it actually works.
Most of the vendors she encounters, however, aren’t deceiving people with misleading terms, but rather, earnestly hoping their dubiously conceptualized, untested products work. They mean well, and we hope they find the stress reduction, energy, clearheadedness, and health that they’re looking for.
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