Vibration Therapy & Pseudoscience
Vibration Therapy & Pseudoscience
A 100 Year Old Vibration Chair in the Science Museum
In a Saturday afternoon, around the end of 2019, my wife called me with an exciting voice "Come here quick! There is a vibration chair in the science museum! Quick!" She was with the kids in the Science Museum of Minnesota.
I rushed to the museum, so excited! Isn't it cool that the SCIEEENCE museum is also promoting idea of vibration therapy. That is a legit support for my business, definitely something I will put into my vibrationcare blog...
I only laughed at what I saw when I got to the museum.
A new exhibition section just opened in the museum to display pseudoscience medical devices. Vibration chair was one of the display items. Kids played on it for fun.
This sends a negative message to people about vibration therapy that I have been passionately promoting :-(
The vibration chair was invented in Michigan in 1895 by the famous medical doctor, nutritionist, health activist, eugenicist Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Its purpose was supposedly "to improve general health, and to treat constipation in particular".
Besides the vibration chair, there were several other types of vibration fitness devices in the exhibition.
Other display items in this exhibition section, as I could remember and later on searched out their names, include phrenology psychography, electropathy, McGregor Rejuvenator, etc. Some items came with many buttons, switches, and meters, so pseudo-scientifically fancy...
Is Vibration Therapy Pseudoscience?
Well the Science Museum of Minnesota did not actually label vibration therapy as a pseudoscience. The statement was "There isn't sufficient scientific evidence to support whole body vibration as a treatment for constipation", which is a right statement. However, the museum implied a negative attitude about using vibration for health improvement.
The exhibition was kind of contradictory in another section which is about electricity stimulation. Its literature, on one hand, denies that TENS machines would "do any good to the body"; on the other hand, it states that pacemaker, which uses electricity stimulation, is "scientifically proven to safely and effectively regulate heartbeat".
Some marketers tend to promote their products "pseudoscientifically", They abuse fancy terminologies to spell out a seemingly reasoning which has no actual logical consequence. They like to use quantitative statements without the support of quantitative studies. An ads like "5 minutes exercise on the vibration machine equal 30 minutes of regular exercise" is a an example you often see. They know people love quantitative statements.
Pseudoscience ads are misleading, but they often work well for their purpose. They are designed to hit the soft spots of their audience. Some audience tend to believe pseudoscience more than the real science. Who doesn't like a medicine that cures 97.453234% of diseases of all kinds.
A Unique Medical Intervention
Regardless how vibration therapy is perceived. The simple truth is that vibration is a kind of mechanical stimulation to human body. It is can be used as a unique medical intervention.
Scientific reseach on vibration therapy have been gaining momemtum in recent years. More and more scientists and medical professionals are interested in exploring vibration therapy and learning its mechanism and applications.
Now there are millions of people using all kinds of vibration machines. The evidences of their effectiveness are solid.
Oh I have not answered the question: is vibration therapy pseudoscience?
Vibration stimulation itself is a scientific exist. It does influence our body. Vibration therapy is to apply such a stimulation as a treatment intervention to make certain biophysical changes.
The pseudoscience is just about the approach that some marketers promote their services and products related to vibration therapy. It is not about the therapy itself.
Therefore, for this question, my answer is that it is not a well defined question.
Vibration therapy is a real science. However, some people use pseudoscience to explain it, because they know their audience like to hear pseudoscience. Again, who doesn't like a medicine that cures 97.45765% of diseases of all kinds.
Out of over 10,000 units of vibration plates I sold, I have about 8% return rate. Return is free and I pay for the return shipping.
Therefore, I conclulde that about 92% customers consider using my vibration plates are somewhat beneficial.
THIS, is an example of a valid quantitate statement.a valid quantitative statement
- Jay Tang
Interpreting life science from an engineering perspective.