MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

As you know, my ambition is to cover all (or at least most) alternative methods on this blog _ by no means an easy task because there is a sheer endless list of treatments and a sizable one of diagnostic techniques. One intervention that we have not yet discussed is ZERO BALANCING.

What is it?

This website explains it fairly well:

Developed by Fritz Smith, MD in the early 1970s, Zero Balancing is a powerful body-mind therapy that uses skilled touch to address the relationship between energy and structures of the body. Following a protocol that typically lasts 30 to 45 minutes,  the practitioner uses finger pressure and gentle traction on areas of tension in the bones, joints and soft tissue to create fulcrums, or points of balance, around which the body can relax and reorganize. Zero Balancing focuses primarily on key joints of our skeleton that conduct and balance forces of gravity, posture and movement. By addressing the deepest and densest tissues of the body along with soft tissue and energy fields, Zero Balancing helps to clear blocks in the body’s energy flow, amplify vitality and contribute to better postural alignment. A Zero Balancing session leaves you with a wonderful feeling of inner harmony and organization.

Did I just say ‘fairly well’? I retract this statement. Zero Balancing turns out to be one of the more nebulous alternative treatments.

The therapy might be defined by lots of nonsensical terminology, but that does not necessarily mean it is rubbish. Judging from the claims made for Zero Balancing, it might even be a most useful therapy. Here are just some of the claims frequently made for zero balancing:

  • Increases feelings of health and well-being
  • Releases stress and improves the flow of energy in our bodies
  • Reduces pain and discomfort
  • Enhances stability, balance and freedom
  • Amplifies the sense of connection, peace and happiness
  • Releases mental, emotional and physical tension
  • Supports us through transitions and transformations
  • Improves quality of life and increases capacity for enjoyment

These claims are testable, and we must, of course, ask by what evidence they are being supported. I did a quick Medline-search to find out.

And the result?

Zero!

… now the rather odd name of the treatment begins to make sense: ZERO BALANCING, ZERO EVIDENCE.

22 Responses to Zero balancing … zero evidence

  • I hope that grandpa at least keeps his “finger pressure” above the waistline.

    • Looks like women don’t have to undress at least. I’m guessing that the demographic for this therapy is mostly women. As seems to be generally the case with CAM.

  • And ZERO SENSE!

    To his “credit” (pun intended), the MD, if indeed he is, invented a technique (spelled ‘scam’) which has rid him of the stress of real medicine, gives a steady and lucrative income, as well as placating the many loon bags who walk among us and appear rational.

  • Judging by the two people in the background of the photo with the woman lying on the table, it seems to be good for rather radical weight loss as well.

  • I wonder how practitioners of other forms of quackery (e.g. homeopaths) perceive alternative methods like “Zero Balancing”. Do they think that all CAM approaches are true and equally effective? If not, how do they decide which one is right and which one is wrong? The ideas behind most (if not all) alternative treatment options seem very far-fetched and sound scientific evidence for efficiency is absent.
    How can believers in alternative methods wager their own health (or e.g. the heath of their children) on one of the countless CAM “medicines” without being provided with good evidence?

    • I have often wondered about that too; as far as I can see, quacks of one discipline do not accept quacks from another, but they tolerate them and hardly ever would speak badly about them. there seems to be something like a fraternity of charlatans where everyone supports everyone without ever objecting to things they cannot possibly believe in.
      for instance, a classical homeopath must believe that a clinician using homotoxicology, is complete misguided – and vice versa. yet I have never heard one speak out against the other.

      • I believe even the limited mental-processing ability of quacks & non-logicians affords them an understanding of how dominos work. And of course the “enemy-of-my-enemy is my friend”…and them quacks ALL hate logic and real scientific inquiry.
        I remember being in Catholic school and listening to the nuns not so subtly condemning those Protestants to hell, or at least purgatory…..but no one took the wrath more than the “wretched atheist”.
        In the end Stupid is as stupid does.

    • The answer to Jashak’s question is contained in their bank balances.
      That’s all the evidence quacks need.

      ZB is ideal for patients with zero insight and ability to exercise critical thought.
      But ZB is a registered trademark – though how you can trademark zero/nothing/zilch is beyond me!

      And how you can balance zero/nothing/zilch is even further away from reality than I initially thought.

      Do not confuse Zero Balance with another trademarked technique which is an important tool for wellness screening:
      Zyto Balance (https://www.zyto.com/Products/Balance).

      • “The answer to Jashak’s question is contained in their bank balances.
        That’s all the evidence quacks need.”

        Dr. Rawlins, I refuse to believe that this is true. My questions refer to the CAM practitioners who do not lie to their patients on purpose (who are frauds). I have no doubt that many CAM practitioners truely believe that their “medicine” works and that the underlying theory is true. What is the basis for their confidence to be able to treat (in some cases serious) health problems with their specific CAM method? How can some CAM advocates dedicate their life to exactly this CAM method (let´s say homeopathy)?
        In my mind, this has more to do with belive than with any deliberate financial decision. I am continuously baffled that so many people do not need any objective reason or logic to firmly stick to their belief systems, even if it might harm themselves or other people.

        • Critical thinking is an aquired skill. It needs an amenable mind and practise. Most people would like the world not to be precisely the way it actually is. Most people would have made the world differently had they been God. CAM exists for intractable or self-limiting conditions. Far from getting to the root cause of illness, as many claim to do, CAMsters treat the physical symptoms and above all the mood of sufferers. Psychotherapies by another name is mostly what they are. Psychotherapies can’t cure intractable illnesses but they can offer false hope. CAM offers false hope when it claims to be able to cure cancer etc. This is where CAM gets really ugly. But mostly it’s ablout wishful thinking about stuff that we can’t actually do anything about.

          For practitioners in general, I believe a primary benefit is feeling good about helping others to feel good, or at least to feel better than they otherwise might feel. It’s a congenial way of making a living.

          Then there are the really bad guys who know full well it’s all baloney, and are happy to take the mugs for all they can get. That’s not most of CAM, it’s just the worst of CAM.

          Then there is the question of CAM research. This is a very serious question which too few people seem to take seriously. There is a veritable industry of true believers churning out alt-research. Junk research. And the really bad guys as well as the naive well-intentioned folk take full advantage of it.

        • Jashak, on what basis do you ‘have no doubt’ many camists truly believe that their ‘medicine’ works?
          Given there is no evidence it does, are these camists deluded fools?
          Or is it more likely that they are indeed knowing quacks?
          How can you tell?

          • Dr. Rawlins, I admit that I have no evidence for my opinion that many CAMists certainly believe in their trade. And I would not know how to test this hypothesis scientifically.
            However, I think that many CAMists are rather “good natured” fools than “evil” frauds. This seems to be in agreement with Prof. Ernst, who of course has far more experience with quacks than I do. As he indicated in his recent post about “fools vs. frauds”, many grey certainly scales seem to exist and the consequences of the deeds of the fools are arguably even more severe that the damage that frauds cause, because the former believe in what they do and can be very convincing.
            Maybe I am a deluded fool myself, but as a humanist, I prefer to think that people in the healthcare business in general are rather “good” and do not want to harm other people. But of cause, I am aware that many criminal frauds also do exist.

    • @Jashak

      You’ll find here a naturopath (Hal Huff) who tweeted (to Britt Hermes, no less): “I and many of my colleagues are not defenders of homeopathy or other fantastical concepts (emunctories).”

      A doubly interesting remark, since ’emunctory’ from the dictionary means ‘pertaining to the elimination of waste from the body’. But from this description, naturopaths normally regard emunctories as highly important to their ‘profession’. So Huff’s (accurate) characterization of homeopathy as a ‘fantastical concept’ suggests naturopaths are not homogeneous in their beliefs. Maybe Hal Huff should comment here under the moniker ‘critical_naturo’?

      Of course, it might be suggested that, since all forms of pseudo-medicine (medical treatments unsupported by evidence) seem to be BS, then pseudo-medicine might itself be reasonably characterized as a conceptual emunctory.

  • my ambition is to cover all (or at least most) alternative methods on this blog

    It is probably impossible. They mutate like mad, each one crazier than the last.

    This may be a link to a new one or I have just missed a post. I thought it interesting. Well, at first I thought the blogger was joking but Amazon has the book for sale. The credulity of some people is mind-boggling.
    https://ahcuah.wordpress.com/2018/04/01/homeopathic-earthing/

    BTW, would you like to participate in my GoFundMe campaign to develop my proto-type perpetual motion machine? A mere €100 would be of great help.

    • good idea – can I invest £ 10 000 ?

    • had a look at the link – it must be a hoax!

      • @EE

        I thought the same, but the book clearly exists on amazon.co.uk. But it appears in two second editions, published just 3 months apart in 2014. One is authored by Clinton Ober and Stephen T Sinatra, the other by Martin Zucker and Clinton Ober (huh?). The two books have the same cover. Weird! The first edition is dated 2010, authored by Clinton Ober alone and has no Amazon reviews. And there are four translations into languages other than English, (including three Spanish versions separately listed on Amazon).

        We might be looking at a serious hoax that outstrips the famous efforts of Alan Sokal. Or jkrideau might, as he says, have found one of the more remarkable mutations of crazy, health-based, pseudo-scientific nonsense. Either way, a peek at the Amazon reviews reveals in 3D and technicolor the problems this blog attempts to redress. When you read someone blaming their health problems on a newly installed ‘smart meter’ you almost lose the will to live.

        • I missed the multiple editions at Amazon, blast it.

          The original link goes to an advocate of going barefoot everywhere it can be done safely. A trifle eccentric but he’s not a nutter as far as I can see.

          He has had a least one other post mocking the Alt-crazies so, given the Amazon listings, I am willing to think he may be just passing on some real craziness as a joke.

          Given some of the other “miracle cures” we see, this is not all that weirder but it could be a wildly elaborate hoax.

          • It seems that you also missed the date of the article to which you linked.

          • @Pete

            Aha! Me too! 😀

            The original link is clearly a beautiful April Fool. Right up there with the dear old ‘homeopathic bomb’.

            But the Earthing book definitely seems to be the genuine item (despite the anomalies I picked up earlier). 578 reviews on Amazon can’t all be hoaxes. Clinton Ober seems to be the person behind the barefoot approach to prevention of chronic inflammation. You can see the man interviewed here. One thing still puzzles me. Ober has a US background, where ‘earthing’ is usually referred to as ‘grounding’, as Ober does in his interview. So why does he choose to use ‘earthing’ — the usual term in the UK — for his title. Shrewd marketing? After all, ‘Friends of the Ground’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

            For readers who want to spend waste money in an effort to attain ‘vibrant health’, surf to https://www.earthing.com/ where you’ll find lots of products to assist you.

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