I was a bit curious about this ‘Energy Medicine’ that the Friends of Science in Medicine said was being taught at Australian universities. So I tried the same trick as last time with homeopathy – Googled “energy medicine” site:.edu.au. Since then I’ve had this hanging around, but it’s too good not to post.
So RMIT has a Master of Wellness, which is mildly amusing and a bit depressing that you can get a MASTERS studying subjects like yoga COTH2162, CAM COTH2148 and Mindbody Wellness BESC1482:
A 2010 report estimates the global wellness industry to be worth more than $1.9 Trillion with beauty worth $679b, Fitness $390b, Nutrition $276b, Preventive Health $243b, Complementary Medicine $113b, Wellness Tourism $106b, Spa $60b, Medical Tourism $50b and Workplace Wellness $30b.
Work opportunities include the spa and wellness industry, the complementary healthcare sector, conventional healthcare and community health settings, the corporate sector and private practice as a wellness consultant.
Now we get to the good bit – Energy Medicine (MEDS2139). The RMIT School of Health Sciences takes the pseudoscience prize for the week, for teaching a course containing the ultimate canard (a canard is the SI unit for quackery). That’s right – RMIT has a health course that includes the word ‘quantum’ (and a bonus point for ‘holistic’).
Wow. At a university. Just wow. It’s really like a Hollywood script – you know the bit in the sci fi movie where they need to explain how the spaceship works and so they babble a whole pile of sciencey terms – “we’ve got to realign the subspace thrusters or else the alpha radiation from the quantum feedback is going to blow us to smithereens”. Or the forensics TV show equivalent – “I’ve extracted the organic gases from the dog poo at the murder scene and have used the mass spectrometer measure their bandwidth and determine whether the gut bacteria inside the rat the dog ate had been feeding onTotallius ridiculosi beetles, which is an endangered beetle only found in 2 square metres of a swamp upstate”.
They’d be better off saying that Energy Medicine, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, is like a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff. [Thanks imdb.]
And I’m guessing how the university justifies it is this:
So they’re giving these students a solid enough grounding in real physics, chemistry, human physiology or scientific method to be able to critique the contents of this course? Refute the egregious invocation of quantum mechanics? Funnily enough, I didn’t notice any science subjects as a prerequisite.
When I Googled it the search also came up with plenty of videos from the course co-ordinator Mark Abadi. If anyone with time and a lot more patience than me really wants to torture themselves with some skeptical analysis, then there are lots of videos he’s posted on YouTube. I only opened one, clicked at a random spot and came up with him acting out a neuron firing and (very rough transcription):
what they found was that people could not sleep after having a phone conversation. So insomniacs, I know there are a few in the audience, don’t have a phone conversation before you go to bed. Don’t sleep next to your mobile phone because the waves, the electromagnetic pulse waves, from your mobile phone for a fact increase alpha waves in your brain which are not conducive to sleep. OK? Little simple there.
piezoelectric EM waves travel through the body. Information waves from the brain moves through living crystal matrix (collagen fibres). Million trillion cells are almost instantly and intrinsically linked. Ampère’s law important to know.
I can’t listen to any more pseudoscience!
Here are some skeptical articles on Energy Medicine on the Guardian, Skeptic’s Dictionary and an in-depth review. Here’s another .edu.au website talking about teaching energy medicine. And what on earth was Aunty thinking when they uncritically ran this Energy Medicine story – this is what happens when universities endorse this wibbly wobbly stuff.
Now I’m off to watch some less ridiculous and more enjoyable NCIS.
In other news this week:
Listen to Friends of Science in Medicine co-founder Prof Rob Morrison (known to many once upon a time as the scientist from The Curiosity Show) talking about FSM and its goals on the Token Skeptic podcast.
Homeopathy @ Southern Cross University
Southern Cross University have updated the website for their clinic that I wrote about previously. The naturopathy page I linked to is gone and has been re-written here (but you can see it how it was at the Webarchive). They’ve added a Thomas Edison quote, dropped in the word ‘professional’, removed the section on homeopathy and added a disclaimer:
A naturopath will advise on any condition that is not life-threatening, that is one that does not constitute a medical emergency.
That really doesn’t counteract the fact that the homeopathy page is still up, and they’re still saying homeopathy can treat potentially deadly conditions like asthma and if your symptoms get worse after homeopathic treatment that’s a sign the remedy is working.
The VC of SCU has come out and defended the university’s teaching of homeopathy – if you want to read a good critique of his comments go here.
Herbalists & naturopaths – an anti-vaxxer oops.
I noticed some of the National Herbalists Association of Australia members noticing me on their media & public relations discussion board, was mildly amused and mentioned it at the end of my previous post. To cut a long story short, it lead me what a ‘University trained naturopath’ wrote on a The Conversation article:
“FSM and some of the people here would do very well to spend 5 minutes over at greenmedinfo.org [she later corrects it to .com] – a repository of evidence based research through which the potential or actual therapeutic value of vitamins, minerals, herbs and foods can be determined. They also provide an alternative toxicology database which enables users to access information on the harmful properties of drugs, chemicals, vaccines, etc., which is not readily available elsewhere. “
Only problem is I checked on The Conversation and another sympathetic commenter is a little embarrassed that she posted that link – the supposedly “evidence based” resource about the harms of vaccination also contains anti-vaxxer info. The site needs to come with a public health warning.