There seems to be some template ‘health’ journalists (particularly those at the Metro) use to write about alternative
1. Profess scepticism about the latest woo
2. Give it a try anyway
3. Woo practitioner performs some jiggery-pokery and claims to have found a problem previously un-noticed by the journalist.
4. Wooster claims to have cured the ‘problem’.
5. Another, self-limiting, problem clears up shortly afterwards
6. Journalist is converted to belief and writes a gushing piece of advertorial for the new woo.
Certainly the offering from Helen Croydon on “divine straightening” in the 26 September issue of the Metro ticks all these boxes. I am afraid I cannot link to it as it does not appear on their website so I have included a scan of the article just to prove I am not making this rubbish up.
The woosters, Alexander & Carolin Toskar, claim that we store memories in our spines, bad emotions create shocks which are absorbed into the spine and that their treatment re-aligns the spine and restores good health. Absolutely no evidence for this is offered and Croydon swallows it uncritically.
She lies down and Alexander Toskar pulls her legs (literally) then announces that one is 2cm shorter than the other due to a twisted spine. Actually, the apparant difference in length will be due to a slight rotation of the pelvis caused by the leg-pulling. If one leg is pulled down by just 1cm, the rotation of the pelvis will raise the other by a similar amount and account for the seeming 2cm difference in length. The rotation will not be much. If we assume 30cm between hip joints and that the point of rotation is midway between them, then the angle of rotation is the inverse sine of 1/15 or a little under 4 degrees.
Croydon does not think of this. Nor does it occur to her that she would notice every time she took a step if her legs were different in length. She lies back and Toskar does his thing. When she sits up at the end of it, surprise surprise, her legs are the same length. It does not occur to her that the movement would have caused her pelvis to revert to its normal position. It could even have happened while she was relaxing during the ‘treatment’.
She mentions occasional eczema she gets on her eyelids. Toskar does his thing again and next morning the red eczema traces have gone. The fact that she describes it as “occasional” and as “traces” suggests to me that it is a problem that comes and goes and was on its way out when she had the ‘treatment’. In other words it would have got better if she had gone to the pub.She wouldn’t have spent £80 either.
She is now a believer and writes a shameless piece of pimpage for the technique.