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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Nutripuncture: The Ultimate in Pseudoscience

I thought it was satire. I assumed it was from The Onion or some other site using scientific-sounding words to mock the nimrods who post their total lack of understanding of nutrition.

I mean, look at this. Who could believe it's to be taken seriously?

When Anna walked into the university auditorium at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), she was limping in obvious pain, barely able to put weight on her left knee. "It's nothing but bone on bone; I need a knee replacement," she said.

But after a few brief moments of Nutripuncture delivered by French scientist and medical doctor Patrick Veret, Anna walked around in a circle, upright and spry, as if no surgery was needed. "I'm stunned. What just happened?" she asked.

The California Institute of Integral Studies? That's a made-up name, right?

Wrong. It's real, although reality is a loose concept from here on in. And Nutripuncture is "real" as well, even though it sounds like what it is, a ridiculous mishmosh of nutrition and acupuncture.

The nonsense stunning my system began when I read a press release titled Nutritional Acupuncture Restores Health in Stunning Demo.

Read this.
Dr. Veret is an expert in the science of Nutripuncture, a medical breakthrough developed in France based upon the original findings of scientist George Lakhovsky who worked with oscillating polymetallic circuits. Veret and his colleague Cristina Coumo, an Italian practitioner and movement therapist, offered two days of demonstrations before CIIS faculty and staff.

Oscillating polymetallic circuits? Remember that game of choosing one word from column A, one from column B, and one from column C and making them into an impressive-sounding but meaningless phrase? That's the kindest description I can give of oscillating polymetallic circuits. Nothing like that exists in science. It doesn't even exist in pseudoscience. A Google search for "Oscillating polymetallic circuits" returns only one hit: the press release.

It gets loonier the farther you read. Try this section:
according to Veret, Nutripuncture operates on additional dimensions, including psychological, spiritual, emotional, physical and an energetic plane that can only be described as pre-manifested or the process of incarnating into human flesh.

The more Veret tried to explain how Nutripuncture works, (in French with Cuomo's translations) the more the assembled parties wanted to see another demonstration. Soon people were asking for "whatever Anna got" No matter what physical complaint was presented to Veret, he began the same way. He asked the person "What is your name?" over and over. As the person responded, Veret listened carefully for the way the person embodied his or her identity, and from there, uncovered which lines of vital force in the body were laboring under miscommunication or sustained trauma or any number of breakdowns in energy flow. He then tested the muscle strength (applied kinesiology) while having the client chew a sequence of tiny mineral supplements—little chalky pills that contain trace amounts of substances such as calcium, zinc, and potassium, flavored with a little stevia and bound with "neutralized" lactose.

Ah, yes. "Neutralized" lactose. No wonder Anna's knee miraculously cured. If he used non-neutralized lactose, she might have exploded. Into rainbows and puppies.

You know that this is quackery, pure and simple. Nobody, not the deepest-dyed woo-woo among you, can take instant cures based on "oscillating polymetallic circuits" seriously.

But what about Patricia Biesen's Your dairy-free first aid kit from *shudder* Would you understand as quickly that it is just as meaningless?
Sometimes even with the best of intentions, you may have an “oops” moment. “Oh no there was sour cream in that?” Next, you wind up not feeling so good. Here comes your first aid kit to the rescue, what every lactose intolerant foodie should have on hand for “emergencies”: ...

Digestive or Swedish bitters. Can be taken as a liquid medicinal or capsule form. Swedish bitters are a traditional herbal tonic, composed of 11 herbs: aloe, myrrh, saffron, senna leaves, camphor, rhubarb roots, zedvoary roots, manna, theriac venezian, carline thistle roots and angelica roots in a base of water and alcohol.

Biesen also confused lactose intolerance with cow's milk protein allergies. And she shills for other "alternative" products like Natren’s Mega Dophilus, Unikey’s high potency Magnesium, and Neti pots, none of which will do the slightest bit of good for any LI individual who has ingested milk. None.

There are degrees of pseudoscience, but that's like saying that zero comes in flavors. Skip the woo-woo. Science ain't perfect but the alternative is just plain nuts.

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Doctor's Picks said...

Your copy is fun to read -- similar to other quick-witted bloggers who enjoy dishing out ridicule and heavy-handed opinion.

But it doesn't represent a scientific viewpoint. It's true -- this demo of nutripuncture was baffling, inexplicable, and had no apparent grounding in rational, materialist science.

However, true science investigates without bias or pre-set notions about what is possible. The first time Western scientists encountered acupuncture, they condemned it as a sham. Now that NIH has blessed it with some well-done studies, a central aspect of Traditional Chinese MEdicine is redeemed. How nice for several billion Chinese and the rest of us.

I don't ever expect you to be open to exploring something that you see as having no possible merit. But I'd like to share with your readers that most medical progress is accomplished by the continued investigation of insights that remain marginalized and "condemned" for a decade or two, before our scientific measurements and tools advance to the point of more accurately testing emerging hypotheses.

Semmelweis probably hoped that things progressed a little quicker.
Dying in an asylum, locked up for suggesting that doctors wash their hands before treating patients, was just one more example among hundreds of the short-sighted trap of a materialist mindset, condemning what it dare not investigate.

Be well. Your skepticism is appreciated.

Meg Jordan, PhD, RN
Medical Anthropologist
Dept. Chair, Professor, Integrative Health Studies
California Institute of Integral Studies
(yes, it's an accredited university)

Steve Carper said...

Dr. Jordan. I use the honorific because your several degrees appear to come from conventional universities. I like it better than your registered trademark of "Global Medicine Hunter."

I wonder, though. Did any of the professors who led your courses and your theses and your dissertation accept as science the unexplained manipulations of a patient on a stage? One who presented no history, had no records, no diagnosis, no results of MRIs or other examinations? And one who apparently was not checked by any outside authority after the treatment? A treatment that in the officially proffered version compares with point by point exactness to faith healing?

And what would your dissertation advisor say if you were to use the term "oscillating polymetallic circuits"? Could you explain to us exactly what those are, or how they were applied to Anna, or why no one else in the universe uses this terminology?

I love investigation. I am eager to read about yours. I am sure you will publish the results of Anna's miraculous cure in a peer-reviewed medical journal. Or is that too rational a step?

BTW, the "They laughed at Einstein" defense was laughed out of existence many years ago. I'm quite disappointed that you would stoop to it.

Steve Carper
Global Quackery Hunter

Unknown said...

Dear Mr. Carper,

I am really surprised on how much energy you spent looking for articles about Nutripuncture and writing so biased about something you do not really even know about.
But that is true, you are a hunter !!! Indeed I guess that your only real experience with Nutripuncture is what you read about it from Dr. Jordan and the web.

This makes me doubt about the veracity of your comments and why you are so against something that you do not even have experiment. The point is that when you read about the technique and the different testimonies, I do not see how you can achieve such a conclusion and be so close-minded.

The fact is except the article of Stephen Barrett, M.D. who wrote about the technique at its beginning in the US (and who by the way never studied or attended any class of Nutripuncture although invited several times), all the other articles you put in your post are telling another story about Nutripuncture.

Moreover let me inform you that Nutripuncture was the honor guest in October 2008 at the World Health Organization conference about Alternative medicines in Roma, Italy.

Therefore I would like to have your opinion on how such a ridiculous technique with no science behind could be invited in such a position? I am really interested about reading more about that.
When you search about Nutripuncture on the internet you can mainly see two things: that many Natural Doctors incorporated this technique to their practices and that many users of Nutripuncture think it is a great tool and they had great results with it. But maybe these two categories of people do not have your intellectual consideration?

The conclusion is that except Dr. Barret (at least MD) and you everybody else thinks Nutripuncture is great and from my personal experience I do too. Its development in the US is not compromised by some frustrated “pseudodoctors” like you. Indeed

Mr. Carper you talk about health, science, but what are your qualifications to pretend such knowledge? Let me remind you that the founder of Nutripuncture is a medical doctor and I guess he has a better understanding on how the human body works.

This is the main problem of people like you who are not enough smart to be a MD but read a lot about the subject to act like one on internet and with friends and family ; same people that when they do not understand something, they are just able to criticize it.

If you want to start to do your job of journalism correctly I invite you to attend a class of Nutripuncture and contact me for more information about it.

GM Lausseure

Anonymous said...

I realized this article is old, but I'm here to call these two previous posters out. Often times people are given a free pass when posing as an expert in their fields. Both the NIH and the WHO reports are controversial and heavily criticized, citing bias. In neither situation were negative reports nor critics nor skeptics of acupuncture included in the panels or the reports.

Unknown said...

Interesting. Now once again I have read a raft of negative comments sans one that began with " I carried out research and testing on the product and found it to be etc etc "
I never condemn or praise a product or system till I have had it on my bench in my lab and thoroughly tested it and then tested it on people suffering from the conditions that marketers claim their product or system will cure or help and that folks is the way to do it. Take your foot out of your mouths get yer white coat on and run some genuine tests then publish your findings. Random negative comments are not acceptable to the thinking public. Once I have carried out my tests on this product Nutripuncture I will post the findings. It is a shame for them that they chose to use the word puncture because puncture implies penetration of the skin which is impossible when swallowing a pill and NO I do not sell the product and as yet I haven’t seen it but I have samples on the way

Anonymous said...

I wasted $600 on this rubbish. It did absolutely nothing! I'm on a mission to tell people that nutripuncture is a load of codswallop.

CeLaVie4u said...

My husband and I wasted good money on this rubbish. We took it religiously for a few months. It doesn't work. Save your money for something that makes you retail therapy, it works better.

Unknown said... for all resources, testimonials etc..

see what people really say about Nutripuncture: