Pet woo

images-4.jpegOkay, so generally I’m going to deal with things that affect humans. The usual woo topics of medicine and religion. But I also love animals, and have always had pets so I thought I would include a post about this lady, as she’s a ‘local’ woo-monger (is that a new word?) and there are some parallels with recent news stories about acupuncture.

I don’t really have a problem with people treating their mild self-limiting symptoms with various useless alternative therapies with their own cash (It’s not ok for the NHS to offer unproven CAM under the guise of ‘choice-based treatment’), besides of course the insult to rational thought and scientific thinking. However, pets are pretty much defenceless against the woo-inclinations of their owners. They rely on us for food, shelter and proper preventative and ongoing medical care.

Catherine O’Driscoll practices something called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).What is this, you ask? Apparently,

EFT is similar to acupuncture, but instead of using needles, you stimulate energy points on your body by tapping them with your fingertips. The process is easy to memorise and you can do it anywhere. EFT is based on time-honoured Eastern discoveries that have been around for over 5,000 years and, more recently, Albert Einstein, who told us back in the 1920’s that everything (including our bodies) is composed of energy. These ideas have been largely ignored by Western healing practices and that is why EFT often works where nothing else will.

Ho hum. Yet another ‘Eastern tradition=good medicine’ canard.

“Emotional Freedom Technique works on the energy body, and is used to release emotions and thoughts which cause problems in our lives, and which can lead to ill health. EFT is great for behavioural problems in animals, too. It has been shown to work powerfully for both humans and animals.”

It might claim to be based on 5000 year-old ideas, but according to this article, “Emotional freedom techniques (EFT), or tapping, was developed in the US in the 1990s.” It relies on the same ‘meridian systems’ that acupuncture is said to stimulate. (If you want to know more about meridians, go here, but don’t say I didn’t warn you). However, looking at the ‘evidence’ we see only evidence for the placebo effect. See here. Additionally, there is no evidence that meridians actually exist. For example, when you compare ‘proper’ acupuncture with sticking needles in randomly, there is no significant difference in perceived outcome. The recent actual paper is behind a paywall (I will blog about this issue later) but has been extensively discussed in the blogosphere (for example see here, here and here).

EFT is a technique invented by a guy called Gary Craig, and is a derivative of TFT (Thought Field Therapy) invented by Roger Callahan. Apparently, EFT can cure asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, and neuropathy, among other more psychological conditions such as phobias, PTSD and anorexia. Impressive stuff indeed. One Eric Robins, MD states that “Some day the medical profession will wake up and realize that unresolved emotional issues are the main cause of 85% of all illnesses. When they do, EFT will be one of their primary healing tools …. as it is for me.” It’s news to me that diabetes was caused by unresolved emotional issues.

But anyway, back to pets. The amazing curative powers of EFT on diabetes in humans will have to wait for another post.
To learn how to do EFT from Ms. O’Driscoll, will only cost you £170 for a two day workshop, or £50 for an hour over the phone. Bargain! Now, I don’t know what form of EFT Ms. O’Driscoll practices, but
whilst I was writing this post I wondered if all the animal meridians had been mapped, and I came across this site by a Silvia Hartmann. Apparently you DON’T tap on your animal, you TAP ON YOURSELF, and through some previously undiscovered and undefined law of physics, you can cure your pet! You don’t even have to be in the same room. Wow. Does this mean I could control any animal I like, just by tapping myself in strange places? This thinking puts EFT firmly into the realms of the paranormal.

Anyway, whilst this is big-time woo, I guess this kind of thing is generally harmless, as it’s generally useless. I can’t help wondering if actually spending time with and having contact with your pet will do just as good a job at correcting any antisocial behaviour. Maybe I’m being just a little snarky, but I had the impression that most of the behavioural problems in pets this technique purports to treat are actually better corrected by educating and training the owner, not the pet.

The next post is going to deal with something a little more…erm, less harmless, which is expounded on by Catherine O’Driscoll on her website Canine Health Concern, (check it out, you’ll be amazed at the badscience contained therein).

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5 Comments on “Pet woo”

  1. Shinga Says:

    What – no explanation of this by referring to the mysteries of quantum entanglement? I thought that was more or less de rigeur.

    May I say that I was startled to learn from the link that dogs, cats and horses don’t have vocal chords; I could have sworn that they make noises using an air stream mechanism that passes through a larynx that contains vocal chords – so, I’m grateful to her for clearing up that misconception. I must start writing letters to vets who pretend that they remove vocal chords as a de-barking procedure.

    But then, I was startled to learn that people sell <a href=”http://holfordwatch.info/2007/10/03/christopher-scarfe-former-partner-in-institute-for-optimum-nutrition-is-nasty-about-cute-little-cats/Omega 3 supplements for pets and offer medications to cleanse them of systemic candida…

  2. valueaddedwater Says:

    This is a case for the Animal Welfare Charities. I read the bit on Vaccination and was horrified. Have these charlitans ever seen a small animal with Distemper or Cat-flu.

    I’d lock them up with a rabid rottweiller

  3. Dr* T Says:

    Great stuff, Ambri!

    Surely if it works for animals it can work for humans? I’d happily tap myself gently on the nipple if it meant that all the hoodies in the street suddenly found their sense of worth and place in this world, and wandered off to set up soup kitchens and bring-and-buy sales.

    Does it make the dogs go woo-f woo-f?

    Sorry 🙂

  4. nekomatic Says:

    I think your point about training the owner, not the pet, is relevant – it’s presumably nice and relaxing to have to sit down and concentrate on tapping bits of yourself for a few minutes (and I don’t think the potential therapeutic value of that should be ignored), so if your pet’s “behavioural problem” is actually due to you being uptight about what your pet does, a bit of relaxation may lead to you being a bit more, well, relaxed about it.

    As is often pointed out over on the badscience site, we shouldn’t knock the power of placebo. The problem is how to manage the doublethink of knowing that the claimed basis of a treatment is bogus, but having to believe in it in order for it to work 😀

  5. maureen Says:

    I am interested in finding out Catherine’s email address, as the one I contacted before no longer exists. I am a cousin in Vancouver, and was sorry to hear she was in Coquitlam in March, as we have never yet met. Does anyone have a current emai?

    Thanks,

    Maureen


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