Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Eternal Stuggles X

This post is an easy one - I'm going to point the reader in the direction of Jason Silvernail, who has put up a second post on EIM, called Myofascial Release Madness #2: Energy Medicine.

An excerpt:
"A big part of the theoretical explanation for Myofascial Release involves the concept of Energy Medicine (EM). In addition to MFR, approaches as diverse as traditional acupuncture, reiki, acupressure, therapeutic touch, Qi Gung, and the vitalistic chiropractic subluxation theory (among others) also rely on aspects of EM... (Beyerstein paper, Distinguishing Science from Pseudoscience) ...There are many good reasons why any science-based clinician should reject the concepts of EM as an explanatory model. Put simply, EM is just another variant of the "vitalistic" philosophy which states that there is a flow of a kind of bioenergy in the human body, and that obstructions or poor flow of this energy is responsible for many diseases and conditions. The NIHs National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine page on EM is here.

Lately a book by author James Oschman on EM has created a stir for those who support energetic medicine concepts. Dr Harriet Hall MD has a great review of this book in Skeptic magazine (volume 11, no 3), which you can read online here at the "Confessions of a Quackbuster" blog.

What does this energy flow have to do with Myofascial Release (MFR)? Well, here is Mr. John F. Barnes himself describing it on his blog:

"However, what about the enormously powerful influence of the billions upon billions of micro-tubules of the fascial system that carry fluid, information and energy that act as tributaries into the major rivers? [by rivers he refers to qi acupuncture meridians here]

Myofascial restrictions block the flow of the meridians and the tributaries causing major problems such as pain, physiological dysfunction and disharmony.

Myofascial Release is important in that it can ease the crushing pressure caused by Myofascial restrictions, opening up the meridians and the tributaries (micro-tubules) for maximum flow of the bio-energy of the mind/body, which allows for a return of function and healing."

And here:

"This trapped potential energy can be freed by Myofascial Release converted into kinetic energy freeing the mind/body’s vibrational level to return to normal."

Unfortunately for those espousing EM, this supposed bioenergy has never been demonstrated to exist, as both Dr Hall's review and the NCCAM paper explain. There are rational explanations for the effects seen in the clinic for manual therapy. Energetic medicine and bioenergy fields are not one of them."

I couldn't agree more. Concepts such as EM are like waking dreams - they make no sense. They are conceptual hallucinations. They are not scientific. They are based on nothing at all. They do not further knowledge. Trials that are done to support them end up supporting nothing, because those who conduct them fail to apply Occam's Razor, which is an "admonition against unnecessary hypotheses." There is no need to create a mythical "second nervous system" to explain one's treatment effects. There already exists a perfectly good real one, comprised of several generations of ectodermal derivatives, already complex and mysterious enough to produce awe sufficient for everyone, if they bothered to read.

Maybe this is what I should do with my life, write a book about the nervous system for non-science-based human primate social groomers.

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