Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Short course in flying by arm flapping (power of flight not guaranteed)

Recently I was followed by someone on Twitter who I'm sure is a lovely person but who is offering courses in 'theta healing' (1, 2). I pondered on the nature of these things, in terms of their separateness from everything else. It is possible to 'learn' about theta healing and train someone else in it, and so on, and for this all to happen entirely in parallel (so it seems) to the rest of the world, without any worries about science or evidence ever encroaching onto it.

It's the same with homeopathy really, although recently there has been a bit more of a breakdown in the wall between science and homeopathy where the evidence is now having a real-world effect in reducing the impact of homeopathy on NHS spending for example. The ASA's CAP code compliance team even has pages on its website devoted to what homeopaths may or may not imply in their advertising (see Therapies: homeopathy and Medicines: homeopathic medicines).

With things like therapeutic touch or energy healing where the therapist doesn't have to touch the patient but 'directs their energy' towards them it seems to be an uphill struggle to convince adherents that nothing much is going on. The therapist feels that something has happened and the client feels better for it. In one ASA adjudication someone flogging Reiki even "acknowledged there was little or no published or peer-reviewed evidence but argued that anecdotal evidence, such as testimonials, could support efficacy claims.  The ASA rejected that argument and concluded that Reiki had not been shown to treat the listed conditions."

I thought I should get in on the act and have decided to open up to the public my very successful courses on how to fly by flapping your arms. Thanks to whining by skeptics I have had to amend my claims in light of recent CAP code rulings so I am unable to state that I can actually teach you to fly and can only state that I will teach you the best techniques for flapping your arms effectively.
"CAP has not seen robust evidence to suggest that arm flapping results in any significant uplift and practitioners should limit themselves to claims of availability of courses only."
In the course we will focus on upper arm strength and fluid movement. The course may help you with the following:
  • stronger arms
  • a sense of buoyancy and oneupmanship over gravity
  • better skin
  • weight loss
  • getting the best parking spaces
Testimonials from happy customers
"I found the course profoundly moving... mostly in the kinetic sense."

"I didn't actually manage to fly during the sessions but we heard that some of the people on the advanced course did manage it. That one costs £600, I'm saving up."

"The course was great - I learned so much and really enjoyed myself. And the plaster cast comes off next week so I'm keen to have another try."

For those who don't feel ready to commit to learning how to flap your arms properly there are also shorter courses in handwaving. More at the links below.

(1) Courses:
(2) about Theta healing:

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Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).