Tag: alternative medicine

A New, Effective Treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome: Orgasm

By Patrick Morgan | April 2, 2011 4:03 pm

Spasms. Burning sensations. Sleep deprivation. To those suffering with restless leg syndrome (RLS), these are nightly afflictions. New research suggests that orgasm—by any means possible—may be a good way to alleviate the condition.

RLS is a neurological disorder that afflicts upwards of 10% of people in the U.S. and Europe: As RLS-sufferers try to sleep, their legs experience burning, tickling, aching, and itching sensations; these uncomfortable feelings build up until the leg spasms out of control. This cycle repeats throughout the night, writes news.com.au Technology Editor Peter Farquhar, and “it’s not unusual for people who suffer RLS … to describe it as torturous.”

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Study Says: Laugh Your Way to a Pregnant Belly

By Patrick Morgan | January 14, 2011 12:39 pm

Whether you chortle, chuckle, or cackle, having a good laugh–as we’ve known for decades–reduces stress. And according to an Israeli study, it can also make you pregnant.

OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. But researchers who studied 219 women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) discovered that women were more likely to become pregnant if they were paid a visit by a professional “medical clown” after the procedure. The numbers speak for themselves: 36 percent of the clowned women became pregnant, whereas only 20 percent of the un-clowned women conceived.

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Power Balance: Our Product Is Backed by "No Credible Scientific Evidence"

By Jennifer Welsh | January 4, 2011 6:07 pm

In a completely shocking and unexpected turn of events, the company behind Power Balance wristbands has officially admitted that the product isn’t backed by any scientific studies–and that the company’s advertisements were misleading. And right after the holographic technology to improve “balance, strength and energy” was named CNBC’s Sports Product of 2010!

Did you catch that? That was sarcasm. And while we  here at DISCOVER may have our own opinions, the product was endorsed by SHAQ (whose name is also spelled in all caps). SHAQ, how could you lie to us after we supported you through the Kazaam! days?

Power Balance claims that the holograms (which are exactly like the ones in your credit cards) embedded in their wristbands or pendants have some sort of “energy flow” which can be manipulated to “resonate” with the body’s natural “energy flow.” In quotes in the Daily Mail, Power Balance co-founder Josh Rodarmel explains how they “work”:

“Everything in nature has a set frequency. The body has a frequency and things which cause negativity to the human body – like mobile phones and radio waves – break down its natural healing frequency. My brother and I worked out a way of putting good frequencies into our holograms so they balance out the body, making it stronger and more flexible. It works in different ways for different people. Athletes say they can last longer on the field, that they have better balance and that their muscles recover quicker. Non-athletes say it works for them, too, giving them that extra boost off the field, in many areas of life including the office and in the bedroom.”

We’ve caught that frequency before, Rodarmel–it’s the frequency of pseudoscientific hogwash. The company never provided any proof that the bands worked, or any logical reason why they should.

A very similar company’s product demonstration has also been debunked by the Australian skeptic Richard Saunders. See his video below:

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Which Celebrities Are Science-Illiterate Whack Jobs? Find Out Here

By Jennifer Welsh | December 29, 2010 2:31 pm

Every year, the Sense About Science group puts out a list of some of the most egregious blunders made in science and medicine during the past 12 months. But they’re not talking about surgeons’ errors or the research mistakes of lab workers; instead, SAS focuses on celebrities who adopt fad diets and bogus healing remedies, and then spread the nonsense around the world.

In 2010, many celebrities–including David Beckham, Robert De Niro, and Shaquille O’Neal–jumped on the “Power Balance” sports fad (don’t actually go to that website, it will make you stupider). This absurd system suggests that plastic bracelets and pendants with holograms will optimize the body’s natural energy flow because they’re “designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body.”

Sigh, I suppose we actually have to say this: There is no way a hologram could change your athletic ability. The website doesn’t even try to explain the company’s “science.” But just so we cheapies don’t all go around strapping our credit cards to ourselves before a long run, Michael Blastland responded to a claim from Shaq (who endorses the product) that the bracelets help him win basketball games. From the SAS report (pdf):

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Soccer Star Seeks Out Serbian Placenta Massage to Speed Healing

By Andrew Moseman | November 17, 2009 3:00 pm

van persie220It’s official, ladies and gentlemen: There’s nothing that athletes won’t try.

Here in the United States we’re inundated with stories of athletes doping with steroids and human growth hormone, as well as resorting to more… unusual forms of physical treatment, like when former Chicago Cubs outfielder Moises Alou once mentioned that he urinated on his hands to toughen them up. Europe, however, has some equally bizarre treatments and alternative medicine that have yet to enter the American sporting zeitgeist. Take Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie’s new hope of returning quickly from a recent injury: placenta massage.

The Dutch footballer tore ankle ligaments in a recent match against Italy. In hopes of returning in less than the standard six-week recovery period, Van Persie is off to Serbia for a procedure about which he knows almost no particulars. “She is vague about her methods but I know she massages you using fluid from a placenta,” he said. “I am going to try. It cannot hurt and, if it helps, it helps.”

Despite the lack of detail, Arsenal’s physicians consented to Van Persie receiving the placenta procedure. Why not? BBC News reports that there are health benefits associated with placenta, and besides, there’s no talking athletes out of something that has even the slimmest chances of improving recovery or performance:

England footballer Wayne Rooney used an oxygen tent prior to the 2006 World Cup to help him recover from a broken foot and six years ago runner Paula Radcliffe rubbed oil from the belly of an emu to ease injuries sustained in a collision with a cyclist.

No word yet, however, on whether Major League Baseball is considering a ban on placenta and emu oil.

Related Content:
Discoblog: The Science of March Madness: Experts Turn Their Skills to Brackets
Discoblog: Can Golfing Make You Deaf?
80beats: Gene Therapy That Bulks Up Muscles Raises Doping Concerns

Image: flickr/ Wonker

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