Why so green and lonely? Everything's going to be alright, just you wait and see.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Qigong 101

To look back on the centuries that people have relied on faith healing is a bitter-sweet reminder of how gullible we're all capable of being under the wrong circumstances, and I do mean all of us. I've got a post on faith healing in the works (Miracle Spring Water ring a bell?). Anyway, Mad Mike over at Majikthise has received word that a close relative of faith healing, therapeutic Qigong, has been taught to children as though it were science in some schools (although presumably very few). A concerned parent writes:
One of my daughter's classmates fell unconscious while she was performing these exercises. Then the Qigong instructor ran to the victim and began moving his hands over her body, telling the students that he was healing her by moving his hands over her which was manipulating body energy or "Chi."
What's most frustrating about these practices to me isn't just the obvious stuff (dangerous to delay real treatment, blah blah blah) but that the practitioners somehow fail to see the value in forming a proper (falsifiable) hypothesis and testing it. You know, double blind tests and all that good stuff that we've developed so as not to make fools of ourselves time and time again. How, in this day and age, can people grow up in such a way that they fail to see value in the scientific approach?

The Power of Balance is based in Toronto, and here's what they claim:
With speialized [sic] training, [Qigong] can be used to heal others, somewhat like an energetic, no-needle form of acupuncture.
Yep, that sure sounds a lot like what the Qigong instructor at that elementary school was trying to do earlier, although I don't think it makes sense to apply acupuncture to a child that just fainted, even avec-needle acupuncture. If that was my kid I'd completely spaz. You can see Mike's post right here which includes a petition to keep Qigong out of schools (sortof like ID).

Update: This entry at the JREF Archives mentions a 2005 Journal of the American Medical Association study that suggests that acupuncture might be just placebo. Their summary:
New German research on the use of acupuncture for headache patients concluded that the placement of the needles on the body was of no importance whatsoever. One Klaus Linde at the University of Technology in Munich conducted the experiment. The old Chinese notion of "meridians" and energy-lines and spots in the body, are again falsified by medical experiment.
Sounds to me like bunk on par with reflexology and all the other pseudosciences.


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