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

pseudo-science

1 2 3 85

I reported about the activities of Eurocam before (see here) and I was distinctly underwhelmed with this quackery lobby group. Now they have published a press release about a ‘worldwide declaration’ in favor of integrated medicine. Here is my translation of the press release (I will comment on the actual declaration at a later stage):

With a declaration, Eurocam and the European Federation of Homeopathic Patient’s Association, among others, call for an open scientific discourse, more research funds, and more promotion of young researchers in the field of integrative medicine. The declaration is supported by the German Central Association of Homeopathic Physicians and the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI), among others. Integrative medicine combines conventional and complementary elements in health care for the benefit of patients. The goal is patient-centred and holistic health care. Already 130 organisations have committed themselves to these goals in the medical care of the population in the Declaration.

Integrative medicine integrates complementary and conventional methods

In addition, the Declaration advocates health care that takes the whole person into account in its psychological, mental, social and spiritual dimensions. Integrative medicine in the sense of the Declaration is patient-centred and supports the body’s own regulatory abilities. In addition, it is participatory and respects individual decisions with regard to medical care. It is committed to the evidence of medical procedures, which is based on experience, patient preferences and research findings. It incorporates cultural diversity and regional differences as well as the concepts of community health and planetary health. Integrative medicine uses natural and sustainable resources and integrates complementary and conventional medical procedures.

Integrative medicine: Opportunities especially for chronic diseases and side effects

The supporters of the Declaration see opportunities for integrative medicine above all in chronic and non-communicable diseases, as well as in the frequent side effects of conventional therapies and increasing antibiotic resistance. Conventional medicine is characterised by fragmentation and divisional thinking within medical care, as well as by the increasing specialisation of the health professions. The holistic view of the patient is thus left out. Against this backdrop, the Declaration advocates anchoring integrative medicine as a legal entitlement in health care and integrating it into national health care systems. International training standards should be adapted with integrative medicine in mind, and research projects should be promoted. At the same time, balanced and high-quality patient information is needed.

________________________________

This press release requires a few short comments, in my view:

  • “Integrative medicine combines conventional and complementary elements in health care for the benefit of patients.” Anyone who cares to research for longer than 10 minutes will find that very often the complementary elements are unproven and disproven treatments.
  • “The goal is patient-centred and holistic health care.” By integrating unproven and disproven treatments into routine care, medicine cannot become more patient-centred but must get less effective and more expensive.
  • “The Declaration advocates health care that takes the whole person into account in its psychological, mental, social and spiritual dimensions.” Any good healthcare aims at doing this.
  • “Individual decisions with regard to medical care” are respected in all forms of healthcare.
  • “Side effects of conventional therapies and increasing antibiotic resistance” are regrettable phenomena and much research is going on to minimize them. So-called alternative medicine (SCAM) has not yet been shown to offer a single solution to these problems.
  • “The holistic view of the patient is left out” in conventional medicine. One of the most popular fallacies with SCAM advocates is the strawman fallacy.

I find the text almost comical. It reveals thought processes that lack even the most fundamental rules of logic. One really does get the impression that it had been written by people who are deplorably naive, misinformed, and quite frankly stupid.

 

When I first heard about it, I thought it was a hoax – nobody can be that daft, I felt. Then I did a bit of research and found that I had been wrong: some people evidently can be that daft and are trying to promote a new SCAM.

Yes, I am speaking of SPERM SMOOTHIES.

And it’s not even a new thing. One sperm smoothie fan boasted 2 years ago: “My immune system is far stronger than it’s ever been. I no longer catch colds or the flu — even when my children get sick from school! I have such high energy levels, feel positive and enthusiastic and have focus and clarity throughout my day whilst most parents feel tired, crave junk food and struggle with forgetfulness.”

In 2021, THE SUN reported this :

Tracy Kiss, 33, from Buckinghamshire, previously told how she put a spoonful of her best friend’s donated semen into her drink every morning in a bid to boost her immunity.

The personal trainer, who is mum to Millie and Gabrille,  has previously advocated using sperm as a facial ointment.

She spoke as celebrity facialist Chelsee Lewis claimed it actually worked to reduce wrinkles.

On her bizarre beverage concoction, Tracy said: “I’d been feeling run down and had no energy, but now I’m full of beans and my mood has improved.

“It can taste really good – depending on what my friend has been eating. My other mates think I’m strange, but I don’t give a toss.”

Tracy, who is a vegan, roped her single pal into giving her his semen. She previously told how he pops round with a fresh tub three times a week.

“I know he’s healthy, doesn’t smoke, drink or do drugs and I made him have an STI check,” she said.

“When I first approached him, he was concerned I’d use it to impregnate myself.

“But once I’d convinced him it was for my beauty regime he agreed – after all, he has a regular supply at hand!”

Tracy, a qualified nutritional adviser and personal trainer, told how she kept it in her fridge.

She mixes the semen with fruit, seeds, coconut or almond milk – but is also happy to drink it on its own.

“Every batch tastes different, depending on what he’s been eating,” she said.

“If he’s been drinking alcohol or eaten something particularly pungent like asparagus, I ask him to give me a heads up so I know not to drink it neat.

“Things like pineapple and peppermint make it taste better, but I’ll happily take it straight off a spoon usually.”

Tracy has filmed a YouTube video where she talks through her unusual remedy and explains what it tastes like.

“We look at its smoothness and texture, discuss its benefits and then I show people who I use a teaspoon to eat the sperm,” she said.

“Sperm is an awesome product and we should stop being so ridiculous about it – the health benefits have been well researched and more women and men should take advantage of it particularly as its made by our own bodies and doesn’t contain e-numbers and chemicals.”

________________________________

The question I ask myself is this: are sperm smoothies really a new SCAM or are they just a way for some strange people to get their 5 minutes of fame? I sincerely hope it is the latter.

All healthcare professionals have an ethical obligation to be truthful and act in the best interest of the patient by adhering to the best available evidence. Providing false or misleading information to patients or consumers is thus a breach of medical ethics. In Canada, the authorities have started taking action against nurses that violate these ethical principles.

Now it has been reported that a former registered nurse in West Kelowna has been suspended for four weeks after giving a vulnerable client anti-vaccine information and recommending “alternative pseudoscience” treatments.

According to the terms of a consent agreement posted on the B.C. College of Nurses and Midwives site, Carole Garfield was under investigation for actions that happened in September 2021. The college claims that Garfield contacted the client when she was off duty, using her personal mobile phone and email to give information against the COVID-19 vaccine and recommending so-called alternative medicine (SCAM). The exact nature of the “pseudoscience modalities” Garfield recommended to the client was not listed in the college’s notice.

Garfield’s nursing licence was cancelled back in April, according to the college’s registry. It’s unclear how exactly the four-week suspension will be applied. In addition to her month-long suspension and a public reprimand, Garfield is not allowed to be the sole nurse on duty for six months. She will also be given education about ethics, boundaries, and client confidentiality, as well as the province’s professional nursing standards. “The inquiry committee is satisfied that the terms will protect the public,” read a statement from the college.

In my view, it is high time for professional bodies to act against healthcare professionals who issue misleading information to their patients. In the realm of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM), issuing false or misleading information is extremely common and causes untold harm. Such harm would be largely preventable if the professional bodies in charge would start acting responsibly in the best interest of patients. It is high time that they follow the Canadian example!

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to defending science and critical thinking. CFI’s vision is a world in which evidence, science, and compassion—rather than superstition, pseudoscience, or prejudice—guide public policy.

It has been reported that the CFI, through its Office of Consumer Protection from Pseudoscience, warned Amazon.com that the marketing and sale of unapproved homeopathic drugs betrays consumers’ trust and runs afoul of federal law. In a letter sent to the world’s largest online retailer, attorneys for CFI charged that Amazon has legal and moral obligations to end its trade in the prohibited items and urged the company to immediately cease the sale of unapproved drugs marketed as medicine for babies, infants, and children.

In Amazon’s Health Care Products department, a search for “homeopathic” returns more than 10,000 product results–each claiming to treat a host of health issues, ranging from “nerve pain” and “fever” to “surgical wounds” and “fibroids and ovarian cysts.” Marketed with names such as “Boiron RhinAllergy Kids” and “Hyland’s 4Kids Pain Relief,” many items are explicitly sold as medicine for children. However, not one homeopathic drug has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as required by the federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.

“Amazon built its business and public reputation on assurances it prioritizes consumer trust above all else,” says CFI Vice President and General Counsel Nick Little. “It’s impossible to be ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company’ while aggressively promoting thousands of snake oil products to parents. If Amazon truly wants to put its customers first, the company should be protecting them from sellers of sham treatments and faux medicine, not profiting from it.”

The FDA recently issued a warning letter to Amazon over the platform’s prohibited sale of mole and skin tag removal products that lack FDA approval. CFI makes clear that the same prohibitions apply to homeopathic drugs sold on Amazon.com. The letter also highlights deceptive marketing practices used to sell the products, noting that the industry’s own figures found 85 percent of those who purchased a brand of homeopathic product were not aware the item was actually homeopathic.

“Amazon recently announced partnerships to help crack-down on phony wrestling memorabilia,” Little notes. “We think protecting children against harmful homeopathic drugs is a bit more deserving of the company’s attention and hope Amazon accepts our offer to help identify these particularly problematic products for removal.”

You can read CFI’s letter to Amazon here.

Why are we here?

Who am I?

What is my life’s purpose?

These are BIG questions indeed.

And here are the answers:

The spiritually transformative work of Life Between Lives (LBL) hypnotherapy began with one man’s dedication and curiosity to search for answers to the great questions about life and beyond. Today, the Michael Newton Institute (MNI), founded by Dr. Michael Newton, and our global network of over 200 LBL Facilitators hold his vision for humanity and carry on his passion for researching the Afterlife and bringing the evolving modality of LBL hypnotherapy to humanity.

Our Vision

For humanity to live the unconditional love and wisdom of Spiritual Consciousness.

Our Mission

To raise personal and collective consciousness, by bringing the healing and wisdom of Life Between Lives to individuals around the globe, reawakening their immortal identity and integrating Spiritual Consciousness.

Who We Are

The Michael Newton Institute is a not-for-profit organization, bringing together a worldwide collective of trained Facilitators to offer Life Between Lives hypnotherapy, as pioneered by Dr. Michael Newton.Dr Michael Newton. We are committed to providing opportunities globally for people to experience their soul state and a reconnection to the wisdom of the After-life / Inter-life.

What We Offer the World

We advocate for the Spiritual Realm, sharing the wisdom received by individuals around the globe through the exploration of their existence between lives by offering:

  • Life Between Lives Sessions – Access to LBL sessions for individuals all around the world through our network of members.
  • LBL Facilitator Network – Our MNI members are a diverse group of over 200 individuals who offer LBL to clients all around the world in 40 countries and over 25 languages within their own practices.
  • LBL Training – Empowering new generations to learn LBL and continue this important work for their own clients. We create and nurture a community of Life Between Lives Facilitators to connect, learn and grow, so they may support their clients.
  • Stories of the Afterlife – Our quarterly journal shares the latest LBL cases and information about LBL (public subscriptions welcome).
  • Publications – Continued publication of Dr Michael Newtons and the Institutes own books ensure the wisdom of LBL work is accessible to all people. Over 1 million people have enjoyed these books and learnt from others, Life Between Lives spiritually transformative experience, applying the wisdom to bring new insight, awareness and healing to their own lives.
  • Research – We continue to explore the afterlife and conduct studies into the therapeutic benefits of LBL.
  • Facebook Community – Our thriving social media discussion group has over 8,000 members who discuss the work of Dr Michael Newton, MNI and LBL every day.

You can read about Dr. Newton and the development of the Michael Newton Institute over the last 20 years at History of MNI. The Michael Newton Institute is overseen by a Board of Directors and Volunteer Teams.

Our LBL Facilitator Community

MNI is an organisation of like-minded, yet diverse individuals who are called to help others expand their awareness of their immortal identity furthering Dr Michael Newton’s legacy. Individuals in our LBL facilitator member community can be found in 40 countries around the world.

We understand more than anyone that our higher guidance draws us together for a common purpose. Many feel the call to join the Michael Newton Institute, often inspired by reading our publications, or through a life changing experience in their own Life Between Lives session. MNI is always seeking to grow the community, if you feel drawn you may consider LBL training.

After completing LBL training and certification requirements, certified LBL facilitators join our global membership community offering LBL to their own clients in their independent practices. LBL work can be a spiritually transformative experience for many clients and MNI LBL Facilitators consider the offering of LBL work to others an honour.

Values and Ethics

As LBL Facilitators, and Members of the Michael Newton Institute (MNI) we are:

  • Dedicated and passionate about reawakening humanity’s connection to the unconditional love and wisdom of Spiritual Consciousness for healing and personal growth.
  • Trusting in the innate wisdom within everyone and All That Is.
  • Compassionate to those we serve and each other, seeking to transcend the human condition.

We are a Spiritual based organization. The Michael Newton Institute is committed to maintaining the highest standard of human and spiritual Values and Ethics in delivering our Mission for humanity. Our LBL Facilitators and those in many volunteers in roles throughout our organization commit to following the MNI Code of Ethics in their own practices, or working on behalf of MNI. Our Alliance Hypnotherapy and Alliance Past Life Regression Program partners also commit to these ethical standards, to support our Vision and Mission.

_____________________________

So:

Why are we here?

Who am I?

What is my life’s purpose?

I found one therapist offering these services, and it was her website that provided some plausible answers:

We are here to be exploited by charlatans.

We are considered to be gullible morons.

Our purpose in life is to support quacks.

The costs for the sessions range from 90 to 795 Euros!

The last few days, I spent much of my time answering questions from journalists on the subject of Charles lll. [interestingly, almost exclusively journalists NOT writing for UK newspapers]. Unsurprisingly, they all wanted to know about the way Charles managed to close down my research department at Exeter University some 10 years ago.

The story is old and I am a bit tired of repeating it. So, nowadays I often refer people to Wikipedia where a short paragraph sums it up:

Ernst was accused by Prince Charles’ private secretary of having breached a confidentiality agreement regarding the 2005 Smallwood report. After being subjected to a “very unpleasant” investigation by the University of Exeter, the university “accepted his innocence but continued, in his view, to treat him as ‘persona non grata’. All fundraising for his unit ceased, forcing him to use up its core funding and allow its 15 staff to drift away.”[15] He retired in 2011, two years ahead of his official retirement.[10][25] In July 2011, a Reuters article described his “long-running dispute with the Prince about the merits of alternative therapies” and stated that he “accused Britain’s heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and other backers of alternative therapies on Monday of being ‘snake-oil salesmen’ who promote products with no scientific basis”, and that the dispute “had cost him his job – a claim Prince Charles’s office denied”.[14][26] Ernst is a republican, and has supported Republic, an organisation which campaigns for the abolition of the British monarchy.[27]

Re-reading it yesterday, I noticed that the text is not entirely correct (a full account can be found here). Let me explain:

  • There never was a formal confidentiality agreement with signature etc. But I did feel bound to keep the contents of the Smallwood report confidential.
  • The investigation by my University was not just ‘very unpleasant’, it was also far too long. It lasted 13 months! I had to take lawyers against my own University!
  • In addition, it was unnecessary, not least because a University should simply establish the facts and, if reasonable, defend its professor from outside attacks. The facts could have been established over a cup of tea with the Vice Chancellor in less than half an hour.
  • When my department had been destroyed in the process, I retired voluntarily and was subsequently re-employed for half a year to help find a successor. In retrospect, I see this move as a smart ploy by the University to keep me sweet and prevent me from going to the press.
  • A successor was never hired; one good candidate was found but he was told that he had to find 100% of the funds to do the job. Nobody of high repute would have found this acceptable, and thus the only good candidate was not even tempted to accept the position.
  • The snake oil salesman story is an entirely separate issue (see here) that happened years later.
  • It is true that Charles’s office denied that Charles knew about his 1st private secretary writing to my Vice Chancellor asking him to investigate my alleged breach of confidence. However, as Sir Michael Peat started his letter with the words “I AM WRITING … AS THE PRINCE OF WALES’ PRIVATE SECRETARY…, I find this exceedingly hard to believe.
  • Even though Charles did a sterling job in trying, I did not become a republican. I do have considerable doubts that Charles will be a good King (his reign might even be the end of the monarchy), and I did help the republican cause on several occasions but I never formally joined any such group (in general, I am not a joiner of parties, clubs or interest groups).

To one of the journalists who recently interviewed me, I explained that I do not in the slightest feel sore, bitter, or angry on a personal level. Going into early retirement suited me perfectly fine, and thanks to that decision I enjoy life to the full. The significance of this story lies elsewhere: Charles’ intervention managed to permanently close the then worldwide-only department that systematically and critically investigated so-called alternative medicine. If you know another, please let me know.

It is not often that I publish a paper with a philosopher in a leading journal of philosophy. In fact, it is the first time, and I am rather proud of it – so much so that I must show my readers (the article is freely available via the link below and I encourage everyone to read the full text) the abstract of our article entitled WHY HOMOEOPATHY IS PSEUDOSCIENCE (Synthese (2022) 200:394):

Homoeopathy is commonly recognised as pseudoscience. However, there is, to date, no systematic discussion that seeks to establish this view. In this paper, we try to fill this gap. We explain the nature of homoeopathy, discuss the notion of pseudoscience, and provide illustrative examples from the literature indicating why homoeopathy fits the
bill. Our argument contains a conceptual and an empirical part.

In the conceptual part, we introduce the premise that a doctrine qualifies as a pseudoscience if, firstly, its proponents claim scientific standing for it and, secondly, if they produce bullshit to defend it, such that, unlike science, it cannot be viewed as the most reliable knowledge on its topic. In the empirical part, we provide evidence that homoeopathy fulfils both criteria. The first is quickly established since homoeopaths often explicitly claim scientificity.

To establish the second, we dive into the pseudo-academic literature on homoeopathy to provide evidence of bullshit in the arguments of homoeopaths. Specifically, we show that they make bizarre ontological claims incompatible with natural science, illegitimately shift the burden of proof to sceptics, and mischaracterise, cherry-pick, and misreport the evidence. Furthermore, we demonstrate that they reject essential parts of established scientific methodology and use epistemically unfair strategies to immunise their doctrine against recalcitrant evidence.

And here is our conclusion:

At the beginning of the paper, we noted that homoeopathy is commonly named one of the prototypical pseudosciences. However, there has been, to date, no comprehensive discussion as to what makes it a pseudoscience. Moreover, the problem is not trivial since the most well-known and influential demarcation criteria, such as Popper’s falsifiability criterion and Kuhn’s problem-solving criterion, cannot account for it, as we have shown. We have tried to fill this research gap using a novel bullshitology-based approach to the demarcation problem. Following this approach, we have argued that homoeopathy should be regarded as pseudoscience because its proponents claim scientific standing for it and produce argumentative bullshit to defend it, thus violating important epistemic standards central to science.

As numerous of my posts have demonstrated, chiropractic manipulations can cause severe adverse effects, including deaths. Several hundred have been documented in the medical literature. When discussing this fact with chiropractors, we either see denial or we hear the argument that such events are but extreme rarities. To the latter, I usually respond that, in the absence of a monitoring system, nobody can tell how often serious adverse events happen. The resply often is this:

You are mistaken because the Royal College of Chiropractors’ UK-based Chiropractic Patient Incident Reporting and Learning System (CPiRLS) monitors such events adequately. 

I have heard this so often that it is time, I feel, to have a look at CPiRLS. Here is what it says on the website:

CPiRLS is a secure website which allows chiropractors to view, submit and comment on patient safety incidents.

Access to CPiRLS

CPiRLS is currently open to all UK-based chiropractors, all ECU members and members of the Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australasia. To access the secure area of the CPiRLS website, please click the icon below and insert the relevant CPiRLS username and password when prompted.

In the UK, these can normally be found on your Royal College of Chiropractors’ membership card unless the details are changed mid-year. Alternatively, email admin@rcc-uk.org from your usual email address and we will forward the details.

Alternatively, in the UK and overseas, secure access details can be obtained from your professional association.

National associations and organisations wishing to use CPiRLS, or obtain trial access to the full site for evaluation purposes, should contact The Royal College of Chiropractors at chiefexec@rcc-uk.org

Please click the icon below to visit the CPiRLS site.

Yes, you understood correctly. The public cannot access CPiRLS! When I click on the icon, I get this:

Welcome to CPiRLS

CPiRLS, The Chiropractic Patient Incident Reporting and Learning System – is an online reporting and learning forum that enables chiropractors to share and comment on patient safety incidents.

The essential details of submitted reports are published on this website for all chiropractors to view and add comments. A CPiRLS team identifies trends among submitted reports in order to provide feedback for the profession. Sharing information in this way helps to ensure the whole profession learns from the collective experience in the interests of patients.

All chiropractors are encouraged to adopt incident reporting as part of a blame-free culture of safety, and a routine risk management tool.

CPiRLS is secure and anonymous. There is no known way that anyone reporting can be identified, nor do those running the system seek to identify you. For this security to be effective, you require a password to participate.

Please note that reporting to CPiRLS is NOT a substitute for the reporting of patient safety incidents to your professional association and/or indemnity insurers.

So, how useful is CPiRLS?

Can we get any information from CPiRLS about the incidence of adverse effects?

No!

Do we know how many strokes or deaths have been reported?

No!

Can chiropractors get reliable information from CPiRLS about the incidence of adverse effects?

No, because reporting is not mandatory and the number of reports cannot relate to incidence.

Are chiropractors likely to report adverse effects?

No, because they have no incentive and might even feel that it would give their profession a bad name.

Is CPiRLS transparent?

No!

Is CPiRLS akin to postmarketing surveillance as it exists in conventional medicine?

No!

How useful is CPiRLS?

I think I let my readers answer this question.

 

Earlier this year, I started the ‘WORST PAPER OF 2022 COMPETITION’. As a competition without a prize is no fun, I am offering the winner (that is the lead author of the winning paper) one of my books that best fits his/her subject. I am sure this will overjoy him or her.

And how do we identify the winner? I will continue blogging about nominated papers (I hope to identify about 10 in total), and towards the end of the year, I let my readers decide democratically.

In this spirit of democratic voting, let me suggest to you ENTRY No 8 (it is so impressive that I must show you the unadulterated abstract):

Introduction

Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) seriously affects the quality of life of women. However, most women do not have access to effective treatment.

Aim

This study aimed to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of the use of acupuncture in FSD treatment based on existing clear acupuncture protocol and experience-supported face-to-face therapy.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was performed on 24 patients with FSD who received acupuncture from October 2018 to February 2022. The Chinese version of the female sexual function index , subjective sensation, sexual desire, sexual arousal, vaginal lubrication, orgasm, sexual satisfaction, and dyspareunia scores were compared before and after the treatment in all 24 patients.

Main Outcome Measure

A specific female sexual function index questionnaire was used to assess changes in female sexual function before and after the acupuncture treatment.

Results

In this study, the overall treatment improvement rate of FSD was 100%. The Chinese version of the female sexual function index total score, sexual desire score, sexual arousal score, vaginal lubrication score, orgasm score, sexual satisfaction score, and dyspareunia score during intercourse were significantly different before and after the treatment (P < .05). Consequently, participants reported high levels of satisfaction with acupuncture. This study indicates that acupuncture could be a new and effective technique for treating FSD. The main advantages of this study are its design and efficacy in treating FSD. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of FSD using the female sexual function index scale from 6 dimensions. The second advantage is that the method used (ie, the nonpharmacological method) is simple, readily available, highly safe with few side effects, and relatively inexpensive with high patient satisfaction. However, limitations include small sample size and lack of further detailed grouping, pre and post control study of patients, blank control group, and pre and post control study of sex hormones.

Conclusion

Acupuncture can effectively treat FSD from all dimensions with high safety, good satisfaction, and definite curative effect, and thus, it is worthy of promotion and application.

My conclusion is very different: acupuncture can effectively kill any ability for critical thinking.

I hardly need to list the flaws of this paper – they are all too obvious, e.g.:

  • there is no control group; the results might therefore be due to a host of factors that are unrelated to acupuncture,
  • the trial was too small to allow far-reaching conclusions,
  • the study does not tell us anything about the safety of acupuncture.

The authors call their investigation a ‘pilot study’. Does that excuse the flimsiness of their effort? No! A pilot study cannot draw conclusions such as the above.

What’s the harm? you might ask; nobody will ever read such rubbish and nobody will have the bizarre idea to use acupuncture for treating FSD. I’m afraid you would be wrong to argue in this way. The paper already got picked up by THE DAILY MAIL in an article entitled “Flailing libido? Acupuncture could help boost sex drive, scientists say” which was as devoid of critical thinking as the original study. Thus we can expect that hundreds of desperate women are already getting needled and ripped off as we speak. And in any case, offensively poor science is always harmful; it undermines public trust in research (and it renders acupuncture research the laughing stock of serious scientists).

 

Guest post by Ken McLeod

On 07 June 2022, we published an article warning readers of the planned visit to the UK of health crank Barbara O’Neill, ‘A residential health programme that poses “a risk to the health and safety of members of the public.” ‘ We referred to the Prohibition Order that the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission has imposed on her:

‘The Commission is satisfied that Mrs O’Neill poses a risk to the health and safety of members of the public and therefore makes the following prohibition order:

Mrs O’Neill is permanently prohibited from providing any health services, as defined in s4 Of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity.’

We showed that O’Neill remains undaunted by such mere technicalities and continues to spruik her nostrums and misinformation, such as that planned for Manna House, Stoke-on-Trent.

One reader did a little bit of digging into O’Neill’s lectures and found something that should alarm anyone; her advocacy of asbestosform Yoni Stones for ‘Balancing Your Hormones.’

So what are ‘Yoni Stones?’ and ‘Why should we be worried?’ we hear you ask. Good questions, so here we go.

0. BACKGROUND:

According to promoters in alternative health industries, ‘Yoni stones,’ also known as ‘Yoni Eggs’ are ‘semi – precious stones carved into the shape of eggs that can be inserted into a woman’s womb space for vaginal wall tightening and energetic cleansing. Yoni Eggs have been used for many decades by the most in-tuned women who know that keeping good vaginal wellness is keeping universal wellness. The more in-tuned a woman is in her femininity the better all her relations will be.’ 1

1. PROMOTION AND SALE:

The following are examples of the promotion and sale of Yoni stones and showing how wrong and dangerous they are.

1.1 ‘La Loba’

A Google search found hundreds of retailers selling them, such as ‘La Loba’ 2 whose website does do not give an address, but are located on the Gold Coast Australia. La Loba sells nephrite jade eggs like this:

La Loba claim that ‘GIA certified means that it’s certified by the Gemological institute of America to be that specific stone. So you know it’s a real stone that is high quality.’ La Loba makes several claims of therapeutic benefit, like:

‘Yoni Eggs Physical Benefits Pelvic Floor Health Assists with incontinence Increases lubrication Builds sensitivity Helps improve Libido Can be used to prepare for childbirth and to heal post childbirth Helps to prevent and improve prolapse Balances hormones by increasing blood flow to the Yoni Increases orgasmic pleasure for yourself and your partner Spiritual Benefits Healing properties of the chosen crystal are absorbed Builds connection with your Yoni Helps one work through any trauma/stagnant energy held… ‘

 

Despite the claims of therapeutic benefits, ‘La Loba’ did not display any regulatory approval from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration or US Federal Drug Administration, so we can take it as read that Yoni Stones have not been assessed for safety.

1.2 Barbara O’Neill

The most prominent promoter of Yoni Stones is Barbara O’Neill, of Misty Mountain Lifestyle Retreat, of Bellbrook, New South Wales.

The internet, especially YouTube, is alive with hundreds of her videos promoting all sorts of quackery, but today we can limit ourselves to the dozens of videos in which she promotes Yoni Stones, such as the video of Barbara O’Neill conducting a lecture at Living Springs Alabama, USA. This video 5 ‘Balancing Your Hormones’ has been viewed 43,636 times since it was first published on 3 May 2022.

From the video:

In that video, Barbara O’Neill makes claims that are of concern. From the transcript,6 at 00:44:31, she recommends ‘Yoni Stones,’ and at 00:44:44 ‘… ideally, they’re made out of nephrite.’ (See the above screencap of her whiteboard presentation, bottom left-hand corner.) In the transcript she advises that women should insert them daily for several hours at a time over several months, even years. O’Neill describes Yoni Stones at 00:44:35 in the transcript: “The Chinese dynasty developed Yoni stones to help the young concubines be sexually toned for the emperor. But they’re very popular today, and ideally, they’re made out of nephrite. Jade nephrite. Jade is like a green marble. The nephrite jade is heavy and as you’ll see why that’s important in a minute. But it’s also a smooth marble, so there are no crevices.”

There are several falsehoods in this:

1.2.1 There were many dynasties in Imperial China, but none of them were named ‘The Chinese Dynasty.’

1.2.2 No Imperial Chinese dynasty developed Yoni Stones. It’s marketing hype designed to dupe the gullible. Obstetrician -Gynaecologist Dr Jennifer Gunter 7 and archaeologist Professor Sarah Parcak 8 researched that claim by conducting a search of the online databases of four major Chinese art and archaeology collections in the United States. They identified more than 5000 jade objects viewable in online databases. They found that no vaginal jade eggs were identified, and concluded that:

“No evidence was found to support the claim that vaginal jade eggs were used for any indication in ancient Chinese culture.” 9

1.2.3 As for O’Neill’s claim that there are no crevices and are therefore safe, O’Neill says in the transcript at 00:45:13 ‘….There are two holes in the bottom (of the Yoni Stone) so that a woman can insert dental floss for easy extraction….’ So crevices are out but holes are OK?

The Cleveland Health Clinic published an article 10 on July 30, 2021, by Obstetrician – Gynaecologist Dr Suchetha Kshettry, MD, ‘Think Twice Before Putting a Yoni Egg in Your Vagina. She says that ‘Gemstones like jade and onyx are semi-porous, which means there’s space for bacteria to take up residence within them. Semi-porous materials are difficult to fully clean, too, meaning that bacteria may stick around and fester.’ She listed the following hazards:

Ø Persistent bacterial infections;

Ø Irritation, scratches, tears;

Ø Damage to pelvic floor muscles; Ø toxic shock syndrome that can lead to serious health issues and even death.

Dr Kshettry makes it clear that there is no benefit.

That is supported by Obstetrician -Gynaecologist Dr Jennifer Gunter, who has written that Yoni stones do not balance hormones and have all the risks that Dr Kshettry listed above. 11

Further, California officials prosecuted Gwyneth Paltrow and her company Goop for making the same claims as O’Neill. In an out-of-court settlement, Paltrow’s company agreed to pay $US145,000 ($202,000) in civil penalties. 12

1.2.4. More concerning, nephrite jade is notorious as a dangerous asbestiform prismatic tremolite, a mineral composed of microcrystalline tremolite asbestos. Nephrite is a variety of the calcium, magnesium, and iron-rich amphibole minerals tremolite or actinolite, aggregates of which also make up one form of asbestos. The chemical formula for nephrite is Ca2(Mg, Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2. It is one of two different mineral species called jade. In layman’s terms it is ‘asbestos’ and we would think that it is therefore carcinogenic. Strangely enough, while there is plenty of research on the consequences of inhaling asbestos, there seems to be little or no research on the consequences of inserting it into vaginas.

That may be because scientists thought that it was not a productive area of research because they thought nobody would be stupid enough to do that. (How wrong they were.) Nevertheless, in the absence of definitive research showing that inserting asbestos into vaginas is perfectly safe, promoting that is incredibly irresponsible.

All we could find on the subject was the limited research which examined the dangers to people shaping nephrite jade asbestos:

1.2.4.1. Yang HY, Shie RH, Chen PC. Carving of non-asbestiform tremolite and the risk of lung cancer: a follow-up mortality study in a historical nephrite processing cohort. Occup Environ Med. 2013 Dec;70(12):852-7. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2013-101404. Epub 2013 Sep 18. PMID: 24142973; PMCID: PMC3841744. 13

1.2.4.1.1. The researchers found that nephrite processing led to a significantly increased risk of lung cancer.

1.2.4.2. Bailey et al, ‘The Asbestiform and Prismatic Mineral Growth Habit and Their Relationship to Cancer Studies – A Pictorial Presentation.’ 14

If anyone can find research on the effects of inserting asbestos-form Yoni Stones into vaginas, please let us know in the comments.

2. CONCLUSIONS:

2.1 As if the risks of persistent bacterial infections, irritation, scratches, tears, damage to pelvic floor muscles, toxic shock syndrome, serious health issues and death were not bad enough, Barbara O’Neill’s and other health gurus’ and retailers’ recommendations to insert asbestos stones into vaginas for extended lengths of time is reckless and dangerous. And there is no therapeutic benefit in the use of Yoni Stones.

But that’s Standard Operating Procedure in Alt-Med, so that’s all right then.

So what would health regulators make of this? Should they issue a Public Warning to all users, processors, manufacturers, importers and retailers? Watch this space.

1 https://www.yonieggs.com/

2 https://laloba.com.au/collections/yoni-eggs

3 https://laloba.com.au/collections/yoni-eggs/products/nephrite-jade-eggs?_pos=1&_sid=ab4fad37e&_ss=r

4 https://laloba.com.au/blogs/resources

5https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7uATPC-7CY. A backup copy is available on request.

6 Transcript is available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/gwdncg5iwx3a31g/Balancing%20Your%20Hormones%20-%20Barbara%20O%27Neill-%203%20May%202022.mp4-transcript%20%281%29.docx?dl=0

7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jen_Gunter

8 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Parcak

9 “Vaginal Jade Eggs: Ancient Chinese Practice or Modern Marketing Myth?” Gunter, Jennifer MD*; Parcak, Sarah PhD, Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: 1/2 2019 – Volume 25 – Issue 1 – p 1-2, published in Urogynecology – Official Journal of the American Urogynecologic Society. https://journals.lww.com/fpmrs/Abstract/2019/01000/Vaginal_Jade_Eggs__Ancient_Chinese_Practice_or.1.aspx

10 https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-yoni-eggs-safe/

11 https://drjengunter.com/2017/01/17/dear-gwyneth-paltrow-im-a-gyn-and-your-vaginal-jade-eggs-are-a-bad-idea/

12 https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/goop-settles-lawsuit-over-purported-benefits-of-jade-eggs-20180906-p5021h.html

13 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3841744/

14 Published 2006. Available on request.

1 2 3 85
Subscribe to new posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Recent Comments

Note that comments can be edited for up to five minutes after they are first submitted but you must tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

The most recent comments from all posts can be seen here.

Archives
Categories