Thursday, February 28, 2008

Eternal Struggle Posts Series on pseudoscience, "energy medicine", and MFR

I gathered all the entries on MFR, pseudoscience and "energy medicine" together in this one link. I started out with the post, Hurray! New Flimflam Busters, which belongs in the Eternal Struggles series even though it isn't named as such. It introduces a blog called Science Based Medicine, "Exploring issues and controversies in the relationship between science and medicine", from which I have gleaned at least one quote; several times I've linked one of the authors, Harriet Hall's review of Oschman's "energy medicine" book on the Quackfiles site.

In Eternal Struggles I I introduce the reader to the branch of PT that promotes pseudoscience to explain and support a treatment technique, known as myofascial release, that its main proponent John F. Barnes lifted from osteopathy, claimed for himself, and has taught for decades.

Eternal Struggles I through IX, and then XI, all examine a long thread on a evidence-based PT forum which has to do with revealing the thinking of the people and teachers in the branch of PT in question. Excerpts taken from a post in which one of the main teachers of this dubious hypothesis, who teaches it at university level, are deconstructed by comparing and contrasting them to excerpts taken from Rory Coker's article, Distinguishing Science From Pseudoscience at the Quackwatch site.
Post X
is about a separate but related discussion also on the EIM group blog.

The list of entries in this series:
Eternal Struggles I
Eternal Struggles II
Eternal Struggles III
Eternal Struggles IV
Eternal Struggles V
Eternal Struggles VI
Eternal Struggles VII
Eternal Struggles VIII
Eternal Struggles IX
Eternal Struggles X
Eternal Struggles XI

July 18/'08
I'm back in this post to add a new link, which I think I'll call "Eternal Struggles - an even dozen."
It's a recent post by Jason Silvernail, highlighting some of the "sturm und drang" that makes the JFBMFR group seem more like an encounter group than a manual therapy group. I think Jason is right - the group is starting to sound like more of a cult than anything else. It is quite disturbing to read through, but informative.

August 16/08
I'm back in here to add a postscript. Two days ago John Barnes had a lawyer send around a letter naming five PTs who would be sued if they didn't remove their posts, which he had decided were defamatory, from the internet. The posts have been removed. So anyone who reads this series will find that the links are empty or near empty. Too bad - they were great threads that spelled things out pretty well.

This is a fine example of egomania IMO - if you have no science to back your claims you can always threaten to sue those who point that out. He has made a huge amount of money peddling his pseudoscientific wares to those who love a straight diet of dopamemes, and now he can use it to bludgeon other members of the profession into silence. Is this the American Way? Try to stifle free speech? I've never been so happy to be a Canadian PT as I am tonight (because we don't operate this way in Canada, not over stuff like this anyway..), and I've never felt more sympathy for those targeted. This does NOTHING for JFB's credibility - he won't discuss his.. um, "work" on a science-based level (mostly because it doesn't have any), and he won't engage with people in an ordinary collegial way - instead he stays silent then slaps down lawsuits through third parties. Is this not cowardly behaviour?

Update: August 27/08
Here is a link to Jason's latest post, Myofascial Release Posts Retracted

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