The Tree of Life
I’ve been considering what to write about this experiment for some time now, I guess I need to start with a few disclaimers:
1) This is my honest opinion, based on the knowledge I have of psychology, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Macro Body Language (aka “tells”), Homeopathy, Cold Reading and Philosophy.
2) I approached this experiment with an open mind, as I believe there are things in the world we don’t fully understand or control.
3) I have no medical training, or qualifications… unless you count a lapsed emergency first aider at work certificate!
So, what is “The Tree of Life“? (seems only fair to link to them)
Well, it’s basically an alternative therapist in Southampton who sends electric currents through acupuncture points in your body to determine what treatments you need to make you feel 100%.
I know a few people who have been and swear by it’s benefits to make you feel alive and well, I’d not been feeling quite myself and agreed to go as an experiment.
How does it “work”? (note use of the quote marks…)
You grasp one node in your hand, they touch you with the other at various acu-puncture points on the hands and feet to determine what treatment you need, you pays your money and take home some drops to be taken in a litre of water each day to cure these things… repeat until all layers of your onion (I got a bit lost in this explanation) are healed. (Parasites/infections/imbalances etc)
How does it work? (note lack of quote marks!)
Clever use of psychology to re-inforce what the treament will do, they take details about your medical condition using tickboxes – but – don’t read it till after they’ve zapped you with the prodding wand thing.
Question from believers: How do they manage to find out the same symptoms as I wrote down then?
I have 2 theories here, the truth may lie in some combination of them…
1) Lie Detectors measure subtle changes in electrical conductivity of the body through stress… so as she goes around saying “now I’m testing your neck area…” if you had a condition there, you’d now be thinking about it, so your conductivity would alter the reading.
2) Cold Reading/Macro Body Language, think how “psychics” work on vague statements and focus in until you’re conviced they are psychic – once I considered this (half way through) I adopted a poker face… mysteriously the readings got less accurate…
After they’ve tested you and found what treatments will balance out these problems, they prescribe a number of drops to be taken in water. I’m pretty sure these are just water or some harmless herb… the actual benefit comes in 2 ways:
1) You’re drinking 1 litre of pure water everyday, thereby probably drinking properly where most of us do not.
2) The placebo effect of taking drops every day in that water.
so in summary…
well, I’ll be honest, I think it’s completely and utterly useless.
I will add though that I DID feel better after taking the drops for a couple of weeks, however I think this was partly due to the re-hydrating effects of monitoring my water intake everyday combined with the small part of me that wanted to believe in miracle cures… but mainly that I had decided to sort a lot of things out in my life about this time; I finally got back into the real world of work, I stopped going out so much and was eating well.
Futher to this, I’d like to add that the practitioner was very skilled in using NLP and psychology techniques to re-inforce all the science she claimed to be using.
If I threw a crazy idea at you straight away you wouldn’t believe it, right? (well some of you may… but that’s a whole other story!)
Now if I introduced some of a crazy idea, then gave you an anecdote that you could relate to that bridges the gap… and then told you the idea, you’d be more likely to believe me.
An example of me doing this recently:
a) The Idea straight off:
Scientists have proven Alien life existed on mars. – rubbish you’d say?
b) The Idea, using grounding and re-inforcement techniques:
You heard about that meteor which contained microbe’s from Mars? (pause to make sure the target has heard of this factual news story) You know, proving that simple-celled alien life does exist (stretch the idea a bit further)… well they’ve found more evidence of simple life-forms on the recent mars rover expedition.
Not my best example but you hopefully get an idea of what I’m on about!
Final food for though, James Randi (click for earlier post), still hasn’t paid out on its 1 million dollar challenge for someone who proves homeopathy works…