Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Acupuncture is Bullshit

It might seem strange that a masseuse to say this, but acupuncture is bullshit. It is often assumed that a massuese will be "into" alternative medicine, but I'm not.

I finally got around to checking out Chinese acupuncture. It's supposed to work on everything from sciatica to migraines to quitting smoking, so I tried it - more than once. I should have known better, because Penn and Teller had already said that acupuncture is bullshit, and they're just not known for being wrong.

I went ahead and explored it anyway just out of curiosity and because my back was killing me.

I'm not saying that acupuncture doesn't work. It does, temporarily, alleviate pain, but not for the reasons the acupuncturist will give you. Perhaps a long time ago,when people didn't know about neurology, the concepts of meridians and Qui lines made sense. Now, they are more of a metaphor than anything else, but acupuncture isn't sold that way. It's sold the same way as it was back then, as a magical cure-all.

Whenever the brain perceives pain, it will cause the body to produce endorphins, which block the same neural receptors as opium and have the same effect as...well...a small amount of opium. If you experience multiple sudden, sharp pains (such as one might feel when needles are inserted into one's earlobes, fingertips and toes and then manipulated), your brain is going to fight the pain by releasing its own natural painkiller, and it's powerful. That analgesic effect will last for a few hours, during which time you might find yourself "nodding off". You could take an opiate and get the same result, without having any needles inserted in you, but the doctors won't give you opiates. That's because opiates are dangerous. Whenever you start blocking "opium" receptors on any kind of regular basis, you could wind up addicted to whatever is blocking them. That's why I don't do any work that causes pain. You guys can't afford to be driving on a natural down.

But what about Qui? Dont' we have to make sure that our Qui is flowing properly along the meridians?

Qui and meridians don't exist. Qui doesn't exist, and "meridians" are lines drawn on an anatomical chart to show where to stick the needles so you don't cause nerve damage or puncture anything important in there, like a kidney.

There was a study done on this. It determined that it didn't matter where the needles were placed. Randomly-placed needles, correctly-placed needles, "fake" needles that didn't penetrate the skin...same effect, so that sort of blew the whole "Qui lines" thing out of the water.

An acupuncturist might tell you any number of things. Like "psychics", they read you. They already know you're desperate, because you're willing to have needles inserted into your body to alleviate whatever condition you have. They already know that you're probably frustrated with Western medicine. You fill out a questionnaire before the session, you answer questions, your body language reveals things. By the time you get on the table, you're an open book. They know what you want to hear. You might be told that your stress and emotional issues are causing your symptoms. Everyone has stress and emotional issues. It will be implied that you have some sort of serious medical issue, perhaps a few vague hints about one organ or another, but the acupuncturist will be careful not to come right out and say "your kidney function is impaired". Instead, you will be told that one organ or another is "blocking" your Qui and you need to come in for more treatments because your vague and serious issues cannot be resolved in a short time. You will be told that eventually your vague and serious issues will be resolved and you won't need any more treatments. The prospect of a "cure" can have a powerful effect on those who are dealing with chronic pain or injuries that are keeping them from working.

I could tell you guys that I am offering "Chinese massage" or "acupressure" and talk about "energy" and "trigger points" and push on you with my thumbs and various object hard enough to cause specific pains, and of course it would make you feel good, but not for long. I could get people coming in every couple of weeks. People would believe that they are getting better and they would tell their friends that what I do works.

"I don't know why it works, I don't care why it works. All I know is it works".

That's sad. It causes people to have faith in something that will not resolve their issues, and it costs a person time and money that could have been put to better use dealing with actual doctors.

That's why acupuncture is bullshit. Not because it doesn't work. It does...sort of. It just doesn't work long-term, and there's too much mystical hocus-pocus. If they would just admit that the treatment has a temporary analgesic effect, and that the placebo effect also plays a large part in it, that would be fine. There would still be people willing to pay for that, but not as many.

Nicole Kelly
Comox Valley Massage
Sensuous Erotic Massage in Comox BC
Comox - Vancouver Island - British Columbia (BC)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thor 3D and Other Delights

What a great weekend! Had some company from out of town, and we had more fun in two days than I could have by myself in a month. For the first time, nobody smoked. The non-smoker didn't, of course. I didn't, which was awesome, and neither did one other person who quit a couple of months ago. That was a pretty significant change, because in the past, whenever we were around each other, one of us would light up and that would get the other one doing it. It's pretty nice when you can support each other instead of crashing the quit together.

I think the highlight was seeing Thor 3D. Highly recommended and it got good reviews - here is one of them (opens in new window). Check it out!  Click image above for show times (if "Thor" is gone, the link will just go to whatever is currently playing).

We did a lot of shopping (too much, maybe) and I replaced the Sony stereo guessed it...another Sony stereo. The exact same kind, in fact LOL. Let the music return! If you don't like mine, feel free to bring in your would be nice to have some variety.

Also found some beautiful Billabong gear for summer and will no doubt be finding more over the next few weeks. Back to the beach. If you know me, you know how much time I spend there. Speaking of which, we found some portable changing rooms that you can set up on the beach so you don't have to do the towel thing when you're changing into or out of a wetsuit. Very cool! All this time we never knew those things existed. Never seen one. Wierd, considering.

Picked up a new book too: "Confession of a Buddhist Atheist" by Stephen Batchelor. Very interesting but no time to read it. Will have to keep it for the bath.

My training has moved into a new phase and things are going to get a little intense. That's good news for you because it means that I probably won't put up much of a fuss about letting you massage me LOL I will be available from 12 noon 'til 8 p.m. every day for the foreseeable future.

Anyhow, all in all it was a great weekend and I miss my friends already *cries*. Seems like it's going to be forever 'til we're in Tofino together (I am arguing for a resort with a hot tub but they want to camp). I'm gonna pack it in early and get some sleep. If you'd like to set something up, you can reach me starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Monday).

Goodnight, Comox Valley friends! Go see Thor!

Oh wait! Almost forgot I promised to post this. Peter DeVries and Noah Cohen in Tofino. Enjoy!

Nicole Kelly
Comox Valley Massage
Sensuous Erotic Massage in Comox BC
Comox - Vancouver Island - British Columbia (BC)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sony Hacked Again...and Again...and Possibly Again

There might be another attack on Sony Online Entertainment this weekend (story here - opens in new window)

Whether it happens or not, once was enough. Twice was ridiculous. It's almost at the point where it doesn't matter if it happens again...someone is obviously making a statement (maybe something to do with GeoHot, maybe just a new group making its bones).

I bought an XBox 360 months ago and haven't touched my PS3 since. I just like the XBox better. Turns out that was a good thing.

Yesterday, my Sony CD player stopped playing CDs. My other Sony electronics are just fine, especially the TV. The TV is awesome.

Will I stop buying Sony products forever? Nope. I still like Sony. Shit happens. I am not, however, going to do anything that involves Sony Online...the security is obviously too lax. What amazes me about this is the number of people who used their regular credit cards for online entertainment. Prepaid cards, folks...hell of a lot safer for online stuff. This isn't about victim-blaming, yes, in an ideal world we would all have a reasonble expectation of using our credit cards and not being robbed and it's not fair that we can't expect that. This is the real world, though, not the ideal world. Put a couple hundred bucks on a prepaid card, and if anyone bangs it, that's all they get. Better than having someone max out your good one.

Where to get one? Well, the monthly fees are around twenty bucks, but cheque-cashing places are a good place to get cards that can be used online. The Visa and Mastercard gift cards you get at convenience stores are meant to be used in stores, they aren't good for much online.

Speaking of prepaid stuff, prepaid cell phones are nice too, especially if you tend to lose things. Losing $100 worth of minutes hurts a lot less than someone running up an astronomical bill on a cell phone you left in a store somewhere. Grab one at the grocery store, activate it online, you're good to go.