Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Bracelet, My Savior

All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
                                                    - "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name," Edward Perronet (1780)
Magnetic therapy products are apparently running afoul of disgruntled consumers who have proven willing to sue for various misrepresentations and malfeasances on the part of companies which flog the benefits of magnetism. For example, Lobatoz v. Dream Products Inc., a class action suit in California "alleges deceptive marketing of the defendant's 'Magnetic Slimming Panties.' Plaintiff alleges under California consumer protection laws that the undergarments are falsely advertised as having healing properties and health benefits as a result of magnets contained in the undergarments."

In this case it isn't clear that the advertising makes any claims about magnetism that could be connected to the underwear. The ad merely says that, "For centuries people have believed in magnetic therapy to help improve circulation and relieve aches and pains," which may be true or false, depending on when you think the Age of Aquarius really began. Following that, it merely  says that, "These amazing garments are by far the fastest, easiest way yet to appear instantly slimmer." Neither of these sentences makes any claim connected to any claim made by the other sentence - the most any reasonable soul could safely deduce is that the "imported Nylon/Spandex" probably has slimming properties. Anyone who draws any inference from two sentences related only by proximity is just asking for trouble. 

Nevertheless, magnetism is out of the bag here, and whenever any causal connection is remote to all but the most heated imagination, someone will assume one. The Golden Vortex  (I couldn't begin to explain how this works, having read the explanation on the website) is apparently a magnetic ankh, which its inventor speculates was a healing instrument among the Egyptians made (magnets being uppermost in her mind) by forcing three magnets together, thus:

"A wand of sorts"

"My magnet discoveries forces [sic] me to believe it was a wand of sorts that magnetically interacted with the sympathetic nervous system to help keep the body and mind balanced and healthy," writes the ankh entrepreneur, who proceeds by documenting the powers procreative, digestive, excretive and secretive, locomotive and cognitive, in cultures which profess to use magnets in some form or other. One satisfied customer testifies that a multitude of gastrointestinal difficulties ("acid reflux, burping, burning from haiatial [sic] hernia") were conquered: "I suspect your device may be, truly, a lifesaver," he chirps. "I noticed that when wearing it all today, no symptoms, zilch. Despite having coffee, a full dinner at a buffet, the symptoms did not reemerge until around 9 pm, two hours after removing it. I have noticed this over the past week. From now on, I’m wearing it, constantly.” Truly, it's better to spend untold amounts of money on magnets that will allow you to ignore your gastric weaknesses long enough to drink coffee and eat all the fried food you can at cheap buffets.

 "I could eat a full-grown oryx, long as I got my Golden Vortex . . . " 

The received wisdom on these measures seems to be that, "These devices are generally considered safe in themselves, though there can be significant financial and opportunity costs to magnet therapy, especially when treatment or diagnosis are avoided or delayed." Which is a nice way of saying, fine if it makes you feel better, but you're only lining some charlatan's pocket. 

With one exception. Take an ordinary magnet, place it in a gnomic configuration such as a circle or an ellipse, add by some feat of necromancy the Healing Power of Jesus, and by Gum (if I might mince an oath)  you might be on to something. Jesus is a pretty handy all-around package, an all-in-one prophylactic and analgesic. No need to ask yourself "who shall wear the starry crown" when for a scant $9.95 anyone can buy a little foretype of that celestial accessory for the wrist.

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