‘Bio’ – from biology
‘kin’ – from kinetics
‘ergy’ – not from energy as in physics but vital force as in chi and TCM
Together, these three terms give BIOKINERGY
Biokinergy is hardly well-known in most countries. Yet, in France, it’s all the rage. It is a manual therapy that allegedly restores the mobility of the patient’s body and increases the elasticity of its tissues while supporting the circulatory and nervous systems as well as our biological and psycho-emotional balance. It is said to incorporate concepts from osteopathy, fascia techniques, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Am I the only one who finds this more than a bit vague and full of platitudes?
So, what is biokinergy really?
Apparently, it is based on 4 main principles:
Biokinergy takes into account the release of blockages and the rebalancing of the mobility of the different structures and tissue layers (bones, viscera, muscles, subcutaneous tissues, skin), through innovative neuro-informational processes
Richly innervated, the fascias envelop, partition, and connect all our structures without discontinuity from head to toe and, as Dr. Guimberteau’s work has shown, from the skin to the depths of the bone. Their tensions are at the origin of pain, visceral dysfunctions, and disturbances of vascular and nervous exchanges which alter the functional balance of the organism. The fascia techniques developed at CERB aim, through specific treatment of the different strata of fascia, to cure all these disturbances
The energetic action aims to regulate the metabolic and biochemical activity and the exchange of information that is constantly taking place between the different tissues of the body by circulatory, nervous, and electromagnetic means and by means of the meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
As a place of affects, representations, emotions, and a tool for relationships, the body expresses our emotional damage through its tissue tensions and dysfunctions. By using the body as a mediation, Biokinergie develops a psycho-corporal approach with a therapeutic, prophylactic, and preventive aim. By going back to the origin of the stress, inscribed in the tissues, it allows patients to free themselves from their conscious and unconscious blockages in order to find a physical, emotional, and mental balance.
Biokinergy was developed by Michel LIDOREAU, a physiotherapist and osteopath, who studied shiatsu and Chinese massage. At the beginning of the 1980s, he claims to have discovered specific tissue tensions in our body, associated with both joint blockages and energetic imbalances. This led to the invention of biokinergy.
Personally, I am still puzzled and unclear about what all this is supposed to mean. Perhaps we get a bit further if we ask what the therapy is used for.
The aim of biokinergy, I learn from this seemingly competent source, is not to treat only the symptoms but to takle their causes. The body is a whole, and its imbalances can be expressed symptomatologically very far from their origin. It is important to understand that pathology is not a coincidence, but results from the accumulation of a multitude of imbalances that must be treated together if we want to be effective quickly and in the long term.
The body has an amazing memory capacity. It keeps track of all our traumas (falls, repetitive gestures, false movements, emotional shocks, fatigue, stress) in the form of tensions, blockages, and energetic [biological, metabolic] imbalances. Initially, the body compensates and adapts, but gradually these disorders add up. They then end up hampering the functioning of the joints, disturbing the activity of the organs and compressing the blood vessels and nerves. The conduction of blood and nerve impulses is no longer done correctly, which favors the installation of biological disorders, the inflammation of tissues, and the appearance of pain (tendonitis, arthritis, gastritis, colitis, etc.). This can gradually lead to tissue degeneration.
The aim of a Biokinergy treatment is therefore to restore the body’s optimal functioning by restoring the function of all systems (locomotor, visceral, vascular, nervous, hormonal, etc.); this is done by releasing areas of tension and blockages, to restore flexibility to the tissues and free up, among others, the vascular and nervous axes.
Blast! I am getting more and more lost here. This just does not make much sense. Perhaps it is best to ask what actually happens during a therapy session. Again, the seemingly competent source offers some information:
A Biokinergy session lasts about 1 hour. After a precise interrogation, it consists in “reading” the body to find the tissue windings in order to reharmonize them. Bearing in mind that the human organism forms a whole, the biokinergist applies, from coil to coil, the corrections adapted to the disorders encountered. The techniques are gentle.
Well, this isn’t all that clear either.
Let’s take another approach: is there any evidence that biokinergy works? My Medline search gives a very clear answer: “Your search for biokinergy retrieved no results.”
So, now we know!
Biokinergy serves only one proven purpose: it improves the bank balance of the therapist.
I have been informed by the publisher, that my book has been published yesterday. This is about two months earlier than it was announced on Amazon. It is in German – yes, I have started writing in German again. But not to worry, I translated the preface for you:
Anyone who falls ill in Germany and therefore needs professional assistance has the choice, either to consult a doctor or a non-medical practitioner (Heilpraktiker).
– The doctor has studied and is licensed to practice medicine; the Heilpraktiker is state-recognized and has passed an official medical examination.
– The doctor is usually in a hurry, while the Heilpraktiker takes his time and empathizes with his patient.
– The doctor usually prescribes a drug burdened with side effects, while the Heilpraktiker prefers the gentle methods of alternative medicine.
So who should the sick person turn to? Heilpraktiker or doctor? Many people are confused by the existence of these parallel medical worlds. Quite a few finally decide in favor of the supposedly natural, empathetic, time-tested medicine of the Heilpraktiker. The state recognition gives them the necessary confidence to be in good hands there. The far-reaching freedoms the Heilpraktiker has by law, as well as the coverage of costs by many health insurances, are conducive to further strengthening this trust. “We Heilpraktiker are recognized and respected in politics and society,” writes Elvira Bierbach self-confidently, the publisher of a standard textbook for Heilpraktiker.
The first consultation of our model patient with the Heilpraktiker of his choice is promising. The Heilpraktiker responds to the patient with understanding, usually takes a whole hour for the initial consultation, gives explanations that seem plausible, is determined to get to the root of the problem, promises to stimulate the patient’s self-healing powers naturally, and invokes a colossal body of experience. It almost seems as if our patient’s decision to consult a Heilpraktiker was correct.
However, I have quite significant reservations about this. Heilpraktiker are perhaps recognized in politics and society, but from a medical, scientific, or ethical perspective, they are highly problematic. In this book, I will show in detail and with facts why.
The claim of government recognition undoubtedly gives the appearance that Heilpraktiker are adequately trained and medically competent. In reality, there is no regulated training, and the competence is not high. The official medical examination, which all Heilpraktiker must pass is nothing more than a test to ensure that there is no danger to the general public. The ideas of many Heilpraktiker regarding the function of the human body are often in stark contradiction with the known facts. The majority of Heilpraktiker-typical diagnostics is pure nonsense. The conditions that they diagnose are often based on little more than naive wishful thinking. The treatments that Heilpraktiker use are either disproven or not proven to be effective.
There is no question in my mind that Heilpraktiker are a danger to anyone who is seriously ill. And even if Heilpraktiker do not cause obvious harm, they almost never offer what is optimally possible. In my opinion, patients have the right to receive the most effective treatment for their condition. Consumers should not be misled about health-related issues. Only those who are well-informed will make the right decisions about their health.
My book provides this information in plain language and without mincing words. It is intended to save you from a dangerous misconception of the Heilpraktiker profession. Medical parallel worlds with the radically divergent quality standard – doctor/Heilpraktiker – are not in the interest of the patient and are simply unacceptable for an enlightened society.
I had come across them so often that I had almost stopped noticing them: the ‘little extras‘ that make ineffective so-called alternative medicines (SCAMs) seem effective. Then, recently, during an interview about detox diets, the interviewer responded to my explanation of the ineffectiveness of these treatments by saying: “but these diets include stopping the consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, and other harmful stuff; therefore they must be good.” This seemingly convincing argument reminded me of a phenomenon – I call it here the ‘little extra‘ – that applies to so many (if not most) SCAMs.
Let me schematically summarise it as follows:
- A practitioner applies an ineffective SCAM to a patient.
- Because it is ineffective, it has little effect other than a small placebo response.
- The ineffective SCAM comes with a ‘little extra‘ which is unrelated to the SCAM.
- The ‘little extra‘ is effective.
- The end result is that the ineffective SCAM appears to be effective.
The above example makes it quite clear: the detox diet is utter nonsense but, as it goes hand in hand with effective lifestyle changes, it appears to be effective. A classic case. But SCAM offers no end of similar examples:
- Acupuncture is useless but it involves touch, time, attention, and empathy all of which are effective in making a patient feel better.
- Chiropractic is useless but it involves touch, time, attention, and empathy all of which are effective in making a patient feel better.
- Homeopathy is useless but it involves a long, empathic consultation and attention which are effective in making a patient feel better.
- Osteopathy is useless but it involves touch, time, attention, and empathy all of which are effective in making a patient feel better.
- Reflexology is useless but it involves touch, time, attention, and empathy all of which are effective in making a patient feel better.
Do I need to continue?
The ‘little extras‘ are often forgotten or subsumed under the heading ‘placebo’. Yet, they are not part of the placebo effect. Strictly speaking, they are concomitant treatments comparable to a pain patient using SCAM and also taking a few paracetamols. In the end, she forgets about the painkillers and thinks that her SCAM worked wonders.
Even ardent SCAM proponents have long realized this phenomenon. Here, for example, is a paper entitled ‘Acupuncture as a complex intervention: a holistic model’ by ex-colleagues of mine at Exeter looking at it but coming up with a very different perspective:
Objectives: Our understanding of acupuncture and Chinese medicine is limited by a lack of inquiry into the dynamics of the process. We used a longitudinal research design to investigate how the experience, and the effects, of a course of acupuncture evolved over time.
Design and outcome measures: This was a longitudinal qualitative study, using a constant comparative method, informed by grounded theory. Each person was interviewed three times over 6 months. Semistructured interviews explored people’s experiences of illness and treatment. Across-case and within-case analysis resulted in themes and individual vignettes.
Subjects and settings: Eight (8) professional acupuncturists in seven different settings informed their patients about the study. We interviewed a consecutive sample of 23 people with chronic illness, who were having acupuncture for the first time.
Results: People described their experience of acupuncture in terms of the acupuncturist’s diagnostic and needling skills; the therapeutic relationship; and a new understanding of the body and self as a whole being. All three of these components were imbued with holistic ideology. Treatment effects were perceived as changes in symptoms, changes in energy, and changes in personal and social identity. The vignettes showed the complexity and the individuality of the experience of acupuncture treatment. The process and outcome components were distinct but not divisible, because they were linked by complex connections. The paper depicts these results as a diagrammatic model that illustrates the components and their interconnections and the cyclical reinforcement, both positive and negative, that can occur over time.
Conclusions: The holistic model of acupuncture treatment, in which “the whole being greater than the sum of the parts,” has implications for service provision and for research trial design. Research trials that evaluate the needling technique, isolated from other aspects of process, will interfere with treatment outcomes. The model requires testing in different service and research settings.
I think the perspective of viewing SCAMs as complex interventions is needlessly confusing and deeply unhelpful. The truth is that there is no treatment that is not complex. Take a surgical treatment, for instance, it involves dozens of ‘little extras‘ that are known to be effective. Should we, therefore, try to use this fact for justifying useless surgical interventions? Or take a simple prescription of medication from a doctor. It involves time, empathy, attention, explanations, etc. all of which will affect the patient’s symptoms. Should we thus use this to justify a useless drug? Certainly not!
And for the same reason, it is nonsense to use the ‘little extras‘ that come with all the numerous ineffective SCAMs as a smokescreen that makes them look effective.
Aromatherapy is popular yet it has a problem: there is no indication for it. Yes, it can make you feel better but this is hardly a true medical indication. I know of many things that make me feel better, and I would not call them a THERAPY! But perhaps this new study from Iran offers a solution for the dilemna:
Sleep plays an essential role in infant development. This randomized clinical trial investigated the effect of aromatherapy with rose water on the deep sleep status of premature infants admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
The study was conducted on 64 infants hospitalized in NICUs. In the intervention group, two drops of rose water were poured on gas and placed next to the babies’ heads. The control group was treated in the same way except that distilled water was employed. The ALS scale was used to assess the sleep status.
Of the 66 infants in this study, 30 were female and 36 were male. The average gestational age of the infants was 32.5 ± 1.99 weeks. The results showed that the amount of deep sleep (type A and B) in the intervention group was significantly higher than the control group during and after the intervention (p=0.001).
The authors concluded that, considering the positive impact of rose water in improve of sleep quality in premature babies; it can be used to improve sleeping condition of infants in hospitals, along with main treatment.
The study has many flaws and it is badly written. Yet, I find it interesting. If its results can be confirmed with a more rigorous trial, aromatherapy might finally find a true medical purpose.
It has been reported that Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow now has taken to promoting the weirdest wellness thing she’s ever done: rectal ozone therapy. ‘I have used ozone therapy, rectally. Can I say that?’ she told Dear Media podcast The Art of Being Well. ‘It’s pretty weird. It’s pretty weird, yeah. But it’s been very helpful.’
The benefits of rectal ozone therapy are said to be reduced pain/inflammation, increased energy, improved metabolism/circulation, stimulated immune system, detoxification, anti-aging, and fighting bacterial/viral infections.
But who am I to criticize an authority like Gwyneth?
Therefore, I better look up the evidence! And if you had speculated that there is none, you would have been mistaken. Here are some of the more recent clinical studies listed in Medline:
Objective: Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder with a very complex symptomatology. Although generalized severe pain is considered to be the cardinal symptom of the disease, many other associated symptoms, especially non-restorative sleep, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depressive symptoms also play a relevant role in the degree of disability characteristic of the disease. Ozone therapy, which is used to treat a wide range of diseases and seems to be particularly useful in the treatment of many chronic diseases, is thought to act by exerting a mild, transient, and controlled oxidative stress that promotes an up-regulation of the antioxidant system and a modulation of the immune system. According to these mechanisms of action, it was hypothesized that ozone therapy could be useful in fibromyalgia management, where the employed therapies are very often ineffective.
Patients and methods: Sixty-five patients with fibromyalgia, according to the definition of the American College of Rheumatology (Arthritis Rheum 1990; 33: 160-172), were treated at the MEDE Clinic (Sacile, Pordenone, Italy) from February 2016 to October 2018. Females were 55 and males were 10; age ranged from 30 to 72 years, and the time from fibromyalgia diagnosis ranged from 0.5 to 33 years. Treatment was made by autohemotransfusion in 55 patients and by ozone rectal insufflations in 10 patients, according to SIOOT (Scientific Society of Oxygen Ozone Therapy) protocols, twice a week for one month and then twice a month as maintenance therapy.
Results: We found a significative improvement (>50% of symptoms) in 45 patients (70%). No patient reported important side effects. In conclusion, at our knowledge, this is the largest study of patients with fibromyalgia treated with ozone therapy reported in the literature and it demonstrates that the ozone therapy is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia patients without significant side effects.
Conclusions: At the moment, ozone therapy seems a treatment that, also because without any side effect, is possible to be proposed to patients with fibromyalgia that are not obtaining adequate results from other available treatments and it can be considered as complementary/integrative medicine.
Introduction: The Corona virus disease 19 (COVID-19) has accounted for multiple deaths and economic woes.While the entire medical fraternity and scientists are putting their best feet forward to find a solution to contain this deadly pandemic, there is a growing interest in integrating other known alternative therapies in to standard care. This study is aimed at evaluating the safety and efficacy of ozone therapy (OT), as an adjuvant to the standard of care (SOC).
Methods: In the current randomized control trial, 60 patients with mild to moderate score NEWS score were included in two parallel groups (n = 30/group). The interventional group (OZ) received ozonized rectal insufflation and minor auto haemotherapy, daily along with SOC, while the control group (ST) received SOC alone. The main outcome measures included changes in clinical features, oxygenation index (SpO2), NEWS score, Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction(RT-PCR), inflammatory markers, requirement of advanced care, and metabolic profiles.
Results: The OZ group has shown clinically significant improvement in the mean values of all the parameters tested compared to ST Group. However, statistical significance were only observed in RT-PCR negative reaction (P = 0.01), changes in clinical symptoms (P < 0.05) and requirement for Intensive care (P < 0.05). No adverse events were reported in OZ group, as against 2 deaths reported in ST group.
Conclusion: OT when integrated with SOC can improve the clinical status and rapidly reduce the viral load compared to SOC alone, which facilitate early recovery and check the need for advanced care and mortality as demonstrated in this study.
Introduction: IgA deficiency is a primary immunodeficiency predominantly due to an antibody defect, for which there is no replacement therapy. Treatment consists of prevention and treatment of infections and other associated conditions. Given the immunomodulatory and regulatory properties of the redox balance of ozone therapy in infectious and inflammatory conditions, evaluation of its effect on IgA deficiency is of interest.
Objective: Assess the benefits and possible adverse effects of ozone treatment in patients with IgA deficiency.
Methods: A monocentric randomized controlled phase 2 clinical trial (RPCEC 00000236) was carried out, after approval by the Institutional Ethics Committee of the Roberto Rodríguez Fernández Provincial General Teaching Hospital in Morón, Ciego de Ávila Province, Cuba. Included were 40 patients aged 5-50 years, distributed in 2 groups of 20, after agreeing to participate and signing informed consent. The experimental group received 2 cycles of ozone by rectal insufflation for 20 days (5 times a week for 4 weeks each cycle) with a 3-month interval between cycles, for a total of 40 doses, with age-adjusted dose ranges. The control group was treated with leukocyte transfer factor (Hebertrans), 1 U per m2 of body surface area subcutaneously, once weekly for 12 weeks. Frequency of appearance and severity of clinical symptoms and signs of associated diseases, serum immunoglobulin concentrations and balance of pro-oxidant and antioxidant biomarkers were recorded at treatment initiation and one month after treatment completion. Therapeutic response was defined as complete, partial, stable disease or progressive disease. Descriptive statistics and significance were calculated to compare groups and assess effect size.
Results: One month after treatment completion, 70% of patients in the experimental group experienced significant increases in IgG(p = 0.000) and IgM (p = 0.033). The experimental group also displayed decreased pro-oxidation biomarkers, glutathione modulation and increased antioxidant enzymes, with reduced oxidative stress; none of these occurred in the control group. Complete therapeutic response was achieved in 85% of patients in the experimental group and only 45% in the control group. Mild, transient adverse events were reported in both groups.
Conclusions: Ozone therapy by rectal insufflation is a suitable therapeutic option for treating IgA deficiency because it produces antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects and is feasible, safe and minimally invasive.
Background: Ozone therapy may stimulate antioxidant systems and protect against free radicals. It has not been used formerly in patients with pulmonary emphysema.
Aim: To assess the effects of rectal ozone therapy in patients with pulmonary emphysema.
Material and methods: Sixty four patients with pulmonary emphysema, aged between 40 and 69 years, were randomly assigned to receive rectal ozone in 20 daily sessions, rectal medicinal oxygen or no treatment. Treatments were repeated three months later in the first two groups. At baseline and at the end of the study, spirometry and a clinical assessment were performed.
Results: fifty patients completed the protocol, 20 receiving ozone therapy, 20 receiving rectal oxygen and 10 not receiving any therapy. At baseline, patients on ozone therapy had significantly lower values of forced expiratory volume in the first second (fEV1) and fEV1/forced vital capacity. At the end of the treatment period, these parameters were similar in the three treatment groups, therefore they only improved significantly in the group on ozone therapy. No differences were observed in other spirometric parameters.
Conclusions: Rectal ozone therapy may be useful in patients with pulmonary emphysema.
Background: Pain secondary to chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can limit the administration of chemotherapy, cancer-treatment outcomes, and the quality of life of patients. Oxidative stress and inflammation are some of the key mechanisms involved in CIPN. Successful treatments for CIPN are limited. This report shows our preliminary experience using ozone treatment as a modulator of oxidative stress in chronic pain secondary to CIPN. Methods: Ozone treatment, by rectal insufflation, was administered in seven patients suffering from pain secondary to grade II or III CIPN. Pain was assessed by the visual analog scale (VAS). Results: All patients, except one, showed clinically relevant pain improvement. Median pain score according to the VAS was 7 (range: 5-8) before ozone treatment, 4 (range: 2-6) at the end of ozone treatment (p = 0.004), 5.5 (range: 1.8-6.3) 3 months after the end of ozone treatment (p = 0.008), and 6 (range: 2.6-6.6) 6 months after the end of ozone treatment (p = 0.008). The toxicity grade, according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE v.5.0), improved in half of the patients. Conclusion: This report shows that most patients obtained clinically relevant and long-lasting improvement in chronic pain secondary to CIPN after treatment with ozone. These observed effects merit further research and support our ongoing randomized clinical trial.
Background: Medical ozone is more bactericidal, fungicidal, and virucidal than any other natural substance. Some studies proved that ozone infused into donated blood samples can kill viruses 100% of the time. Ozone, because of its special biologic properties, has theoretical and practical attributes to make it a potent hepatitis C virus (HCV) inactivator, which suggests an important role in the therapy for hepatitis C.
Aim: The study aim is to evaluate the role of ozone therapy in decreasing HCV ribonucleic acid (HCV RNA) load and its effect on the liver enzymes among patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Methods: This study included 52 patients with chronic hepatitis C (positive polymerase chain reaction [PCR] for HCV RNA and raised serum alanine transaminase [ALT] for more than 6 months). All patients were subjected to meticulous history taking and clinical examination. Complete blood count, liver function tests, and abdominal ultrasonography were requested for all patients. The ozone group included 40 patients who received major autohemotherapy, minor autohemotherapy, and rectal ozone insufflation. The other 12 patients (conventional group) received silymarin and/or multivitamins.
Results: There were significant improvements of most of the presenting symptoms of the patients in the ozone group in comparison to the conventional group. ALT and aspartate transaminase (AST) levels normalized in 57.5% and 60% in the ozone group, respectively, in comparison to 16.7% and 8% in the conventional group, respectively. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for HCV RNA was negative among 25% and 44.4% after 30 and 60 sessions of ozone therapy, respectively, in comparison to 8% among the conventional group.
Conclusions: Ozone therapy significantly improves the clinical symptoms associated with chronic hepatitis C and is associated with normalized ALT and AST levels among a significant number of patients. Ozone therapy is associated with disappearance of HCV RNA from the serum (-ve PCR for HCV RNA) in 25%-45% of patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Oxidative stress is suggested to have an important role in the development of complications in diabetes. Because ozone therapy can activate the antioxidant system, influencing the level of glycemia and some markers of endothelial cell damage, the aim of this study was to investigate the therapeutic efficacy of ozone in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes and diabetic feet and to compare ozone with antibiotic therapy. A randomized controlled clinical trial was performed with 101 patients divided into two groups: one (n = 52) treated with ozone (local and rectal insufflation of the gas) and the other (n = 49) treated with topical and systemic antibiotics. The efficacy of the treatments was evaluated by comparing the glycemic index, the area and perimeter of the lesions and biochemical markers of oxidative stress and endothelial damage in both groups after 20 days of treatment. Ozone treatment improved glycemic control, prevented oxidative stress, normalized levels of organic peroxides, and activated superoxide dismutase. The pharmacodynamic effect of ozone in the treatment of patients with neuroinfectious diabetic foot can be ascribed to the possibility of it being a superoxide scavenger. Superoxide is considered a link between the four metabolic routes associated with diabetes pathology and its complications. Furthermore, the healing of the lesions improved, resulting in fewer amputations than in control group. There were no side effects. These results show that medical ozone treatment could be an alternative therapy in the treatment of diabetes and its complications.
What does that tell us?
That rectal ozone therapy is a panacea?
No, I don’t think so.
In my view, it tells us that strange journals publish a lot of dodgy research from strange research groups that use dodgy methodologies to confirm their odd belief that bogus treatments work for everything.
I wonder which orifice Gwyneth will employ next to get the attention of the public.
It has been reported that King Charles refused to pay Prince Andrew’s £ 32,000-a-year bill for his personal healing guru. The Duke of York has allegedly submitted the claim to the Privy Purse as a royal expense having sought the help of a yoga teacher.
However, the claim has reportedly been denied by the King, who is said to have told Andrew the bill will need to be covered using his own money. It comes after sources claimed Andrew has been using the Indian yogi for a number of years for chanting, massages, and holistic therapy in the privacy of his mansion. The healer has reportedly enjoyed month-long stays at a time at the £30 million Royal Lodge in Windsor.
Previously, the Queen seems to have passed the claims. But now Charles is in control. A source said: “While the Queen was always happy to indulge her son over the years, Charles is far less inclined to fund such indulgences, particularly in an era of a cost-of-living crisis. “Families are struggling and would rightly baulk at the idea of tens of thousands paid to an Indian guru to provide holistic treatment to a non-working royal living in his grace and favour mansion. This time the King saw the bill for the healer submitted by Andrew to the Privy Purse and thought his brother was having a laugh.”
How is he going to cope without his guru?
Will he be able to recover from the mysterious condition that prevents him to sweat?
Will his ego take another blow?
How will he be able to afford even the most basic holistic wellness?
How can Charles – who knows only too well about its benefits – be so cruel to his own brother?
Should I start a collection so that Andrew can pay for his most basic needs?
Yes, these are the nagging questions and deep concerns that keep me awake at night!
I have just been asked if, by any chance, the yoga teacher is a 16-year-old female. I have to admit that I cannot answer this question.
Norbert Hofer is the former leader of the Austrian right-wing FPÖ party who almost became Austria’s President. Currently, he is the 3rd member of the National Council. Hofer is a man full of surprises; he stated, for instance, that the Quran was more dangerous than COVID-19 during a speech held at a 2020 campaign event. As a result, he was sued for hate-speech.
Hofer’s latest coup is not political but commercial: Hofer is launching his own dietary supplement on the market. It is called “Formula Fortuna” and contains:
- L-tryptophan; a Cochrane review concluded that “a large number of studies appear to address the research questions, but few are of sufficient quality to be reliable. Available evidence does suggest these substances are better than placebo at alleviating depression. Further studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of 5‐HTP and tryptophan before their widespread use can be recommended. The possible association between these substances and the potentially fatal Eosinophilia‐Myalgia Syndrome has not been elucidated. Because alternative antidepressants exist which have been proven to be effective and safe the clinical usefulness of 5‐HTP and tryptophan is limited at present.”
- Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, a common delivery system.
- Rhodiola rosea extracts; human studies evaluating R. rosea did not have sufficient quality to determine whether it has properties affecting fatigue or any other condition.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to manufacturers of R. rosea dietary supplement products unapproved as new drugs, adulterated, misbranded and in federal violation for not having proof of safety or efficacy for the advertised conditions of alleviating Raynaud syndrome, altitude sickness, depression or cancer.
- Ginseng root extract. Although ginseng has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, modern research is inconclusive about its biological effects. Preliminary clinical research indicates possible effects on memory, fatigue, menopause symptoms, and insulin response in people with mild diabetes. Out of 44 studies examined between 2005–2015, 29 showed positive, limited evidence, and 15 showed no effects. As of 2021, there is insufficient evidence to indicate that ginseng has any health effects. A 2021 review indicated that ginseng had “only trivial effects on erectile function or satisfaction with intercourse compared to placebo”. The constituents include steroid saponins known as ginsenosides, but the effects of these ginseng compounds have not been studied with high-quality clinical research as of 2021, and therefore remain unknown. As of 2019, the United States FDA and Federal Trade Commission have issued numerous warning letters to manufacturers of ginseng dietary supplements for making false claims of health or anti-disease benefits, stating that the “products are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the referenced uses” and are illegal as unauthorized “new drugs” under federal law. Concerns exist when ginseng is used chronically, potentially causing side effects such as headaches, insomnia, and digestive problems. Ginseng may have adverse effects when used with the blood thinner warfarin. Ginseng also has adverse drug reactions with phenelzine, and a potential interaction has been reported with imatinib, resulting in hepatotoxicity, and with lamotrigine. Other side effects may include anxiety, insomnia, fluctuations in blood pressure, breast pain, vaginal bleeding, nausea, or diarrhea.
- Zinc gluconate which has been used in lozenges for treating the common cold. However, controlled trials with lozenges which include zinc acetate have found it has the greatest effect on the duration of coldsInstances of anosmia (loss of smell) have been reported with intranasal use of some products containing zinc gluconate. In September 2003, Zicam faced lawsuits from users who claimed that the product, a nasal gel containing zinc gluconate and several inactive ingredients, negatively affected their sense of smell and sometimes taste. Some plaintiffs alleged experiencing a strong and very painful burning sensation when they used the product. Matrixx Initiatives, Inc., the maker of Zicam, responded that only a small number of people had experienced problems and that anosmia can be caused by the common cold itself. In January 2006, 340 lawsuits were settled for $12 million.
- Pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6) is usually well tolerated, though overdose toxicity is possible. Occasionally side effects include headache, numbness, and sleepiness. Pyridoxine overdose can cause a peripheral sensory neuropathy characterized by poor coordination, numbness, and decreased sensation to touch, temperature, and vibration.
‘Formula Fortuna’ allegedly is for lifting your mood. If I, however, tell you that you need to pay one Euro per day for the supplement, your mood might even change in the opposite direction.
I think I might design a dietary supplement against stupidity. It will not carry any of the risks of Hofer’s new invention but, I am afraid, it might be just as ineffective as Hofer’s ‘Formual Fortuna’.
Kourtney Kardashian believes that vaginal health is an important but not sufficiently talked about part of women’s well-being. So, why not make a bit of money on the subject? A recent article explains in more detail:
The reality TV star recently launched a vitamin sweet called Lemme Purr to boost the health of your vagina. On her Instagram channel, she says these gummies use pineapple, vitamin C, and probiotics to target vaginal health and pH levels that “support freshness and taste”.
Kourtney continues with the selling words “Give your vagina the sweet treat it deserves (and turn it into a sweet treat)”. One of the claims she makes is that the vitamin sweet supports a healthy vaginal microflora. As a researcher specialising in the role of vaginal microflora for women’s health, I was curious and wanted to find out which active ingredients this claim is based on.
Lemme Purr contains pineapple extract (probably for its taste), vitamin C (not really needed if you have a balanced diet), and a clinically tested probiotic (Bacillus coagulans). According to the product description, the probiotic has been shown in clinical studies to support vaginal health, freshness, and odour. This surprised me – I should know about these studies and effects as this is my primary research field.
A healthy vaginal microflora is composed of lactobacilli that keep the pH low and protect us from infections. My colleagues and I never identified Bacillus coagulans as being important for the health of vaginas, even though we have analysed thousands of samples during recent years. From other research groups and our own results, we know that Lactobacillus crispatus is the species that is associated with vaginal health and female fertility.
As I may have missed something important, I immediately checked what has been published on that probiotic in scientific journals. I found one systematic review and meta-analysis (a type of analysis where many individual studies are taken together) that mentions Bacillus coagulans. Apparently, it may improve stool frequency and symptoms of constipation, although the authors conclude that more research is needed.
On the topic of women’s vaginal health, I could only find a single study. There, 70 women with vaginal discomfort reported symptom relief after direct vaginal administration of the probiotic. There is nothing published on the oral administration of the probiotic that could support the claims made by Kourtney.
I was not entirely sure where women are supposed to put Kourtney’s gummies. So, I watched a video where Kourtney applies one of these items herself. I am very pleased to report that, in the video, she put one in her mouth!
After this relief, I ran a few Medline searches to get an impression of what the evidence tells us. In contrast to the author of the above article, I found plenty of literature on the subject and quite a few clinical trials. So, maybe Kourtney is on to something?
Somehow, I doubt it. I did not find a study with her product. Call me a skeptic, but I do get the feeling after looking at Kourtney’s website that she is much more interested in money than vaginal health.
Wellness seems to be everywhere these days – I mean of course the term, not the state or condition. On Medline, we find in excess of 500 000 articles on wellness, just for the year 2022! Wellness is en vogue, sexy, politically correct, etc. It looks good to talk and write about it. Most importantly it is good business. A report by the Global Wellness Institute stated that in 2020 the wellness industry was valued at $4.5 trillion and continues to grow at a frightening rate.
Having studied some of the recent literature on the subject, I get the impression that, for many, wellness is foremost an excuse for waffling utter nonsense. Let me, therefore, today ask just 5 simple questions about wellness that are likely to reduce the wellness of the ‘wellness brigade’:
1.What is wellness?
It is quite evidently a sector that is unable to define itself. Here are just a few of the definitions that have been suggested. Wellness is:
- the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health
- the result of personal initiative, seeking a more optimal, holistic and balanced state of health and well-being across multiple dimensions
- an active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life
- the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal
- a state beyond absence of illness but rather aims to optimize well-being
- the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes
- an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence
- the optimal state of health of individuals and groups
A 2018 review revealed that there is a lack of a uniform definition of wellness and showed that there is insufficient evidence to support the clinical utility of a single particular wellness instrument.
2. How do we measure wellness?
The short answer to this question is: nobody is quite sure. There simply is no generally accepted, well-validated measure. A few domains come to mind:
- physical functioning,
- somatic symptoms, e.g. pain,
- psychological symptoms,
- social functioning,
- needs and satisfaction.
But there is no simple means to quantify wellness. If you think that I am exaggerating, consider this recent review: 79 mental wellness instruments were identified. Most studies did not provide a definition for mental wellness. We identified thirteen mental wellness concepts from 97 studies, namely: life satisfaction, mental wellbeing [general], resilience, self-efficacy, self- esteem, connectedness, coping, self-control, mindfulness/spiritual, hope, sense of coherence, happiness, and life purpose.
3. What affects wellness?
The short answer is: potentially everything. My very own wellness, for instance, deteriorates sharply, if I have to read yet another nonsensical article about it.
4. Which interventions improve wellness?
As we have seen in my previous post, this is where so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) comes in. Since there is no measure to quantify wellness, we just have to take the word of SCAM proponents for it: SCAM improves wellness!!!
Which specific SCAM?
Can I see the evidence?
Sorry, no questions allowed!
And if you dare to insist on evidence, the ‘wellness brigade’ would just give you a pitiful smile and say: wellness has to be experienced, not measured.
5. Are there risks?
Yes, of course! Here are just some of them:
- The treatments advocated for wellness almost invariably cost money.
- The treatments advocated for wellness almost invariably cause direct and indirect harm, as discussed in many of my previous posts.
- Wellness treatments tend to give the impression that one can buy wellness like an expensive piece of clothing without putting in any real effort oneself.
Considering all this, I’d like to offer my very own definition of the sector:
Wellness is a fashionable paradise for charlatans in which they are protected from scientific scrutiny and feel at liberty to bullshit to their hearts’ content.