Sunday, February 28, 2010

Phitenizing your qi

A friend had to procure some fun run application forms over at R.O.X. in Bonifacio High Street, Global City. I tagged along and on our way out she stopped over at the display stand of Phiten products. First time to hear of Phiten and wasn't in the least bit interested in what they're offering. But a few seconds later a salesperson approached us and began explaining what Phiten was all about. Turns out they're necklaces which have titanium in them. What's so special about these thousand-buck necklaces is that the titanium alters the bio-electricity of our bodies and by wearing these necklaces the titanium is able to do something to this bioelectrical field of sorts and make us healthier.

Bio-electricity? Whoa! That must be a new scientific discovery, one that won or will win the Nobel Prize in Medicine. The moment the sales rep uttered "bio-electricity" I began chuckling. As he went through his spiel, I kept blurting, "Really?!" Fortunately for the guy my friend restrained me from grilling him.

A search turns up the following official explanation for what Phiten necklaces are:
Anyone can benefit from wearing our products to help aid in counteracting the stress and fatigue of everyday life.... Phiten products work with your body’s energy system, helping to regulate and balance the flow of energy throughout your body. Proper energy balance helps to alleviate discomfort, speed recovery, and counteract fatigue. Athletes find that they tire less easily and recover faster from intense physical activity. Further benefits of Phiten’s exclusive technology are more relaxed muscles leading to less stress and a greater range of motion that can be of great benefit to an athlete or anyone in any walk of life.

Regulate and balance the flow of energy in our bodies? If I didn't know better I'd say this line was lifted straight from Oriental medicine quackery, particularly acupuncture where qi is said to be an energy flowing through our bodies and must be in balance and must not be block, else disease sets in.

Phiten New Zealand has more details:
Phiten has developed the Phild processing technique, invented by a Japanese chiropractor and now a time honoured secret. The Phild processing technique aligns the bio-electricity within titanium, so that when in close proximity to the body, it assists in regulating bio-electric currents.

A chiropractor! Oh my. Chiropractic is a discredited profession that believes in what it calls subluxations--"misalignment[s] of the spine that allegedly interferes with nerve signals from the brain." Chiropractors claim that various diseases can be cured by realigning the spine. There is, of course, no evidence for this.

"The Phild processing technique aligns the bio-electricity within titanium...." Are they saying that the bioelectricity from our bodies is taken up by titanium and aligned within the metal or that titanium has some innate bio-electricity that the Phild process aligns? Whatever the case may be, it just gets curioser and curioser as we go deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole.

More from Phiten New Zealand:
The natural state of the body’s bioelectrical currents can be disrupted by everyday factors such as electrical equipment, cellular phones, stress, fatigue and injury. These interruptions cause bio-electricity within cells to become unstable and bio-electrical messages throughout the body to become confused. Phiten’s titanium combats the negative effects of instability by normalising the bio-electricity within each cell.

So low frequency 60-Hz electricity as well as high frequency microwaves from our cell phones can disrupt the bioelectrical currents of our bodies, which can cause bioelectrical messages to become garbled. Not to worry though. By simply wearing a Phiten the bioelectricity in each and every one of the phitzillion cells in our body gets normalized. Oh thank you, Phiten! You are our savior!

Folks, if we ask Phiten to produce evidence and measurements for this purported new found phenomenon they call bio-electricity, they won't be able to. (Or, in desperation when confronted, they might say it's another name for the electricity produced by our neurological system.) And they won't be able to produce any objective evidence whatsoever that their products can "align" or "balance" or "normalise" or phitenebulize or ... the bio-electricity in our cells. All this terminology and language is gobbledygook. The phenomenon and the mechanisms are all made up. Phiten is doing nothing but pulling the wool over our eyes.

Jeff Wagg, in his take-down of Phiten, tells us what all this is:
Star Trek fans will recognize this for exactly what it is: technobabble. Throw out some sciency sounding words, and people with a weak science education will be impressed.

Indeed. The ignorants among us will just nod our heads and the gullibles will fall for the Pied Piper and buy Phiten. And that's the point: To gyp people into turning over their money. Phiten is selling sh*t and apparently a few intellectually-challenged, unskeptical, uncritical athletes--see photos of Justin Morneau, Kara Goucher, Joba Chamberlain, Jennie Finch, Josh Beckett splashed on Phiten's site--have happily lapped it up. Yum! We love crap! Have some too.

And ROX? It could be another intellectually-challenged, unskeptical, uncritical client. Or it may actually be in the know as to how bogus Phiten necklaces are but can't help joining the Phiten bandwagon and come away with some of the duffel bags.