My Dad has been in a lot of pain with his joints lately. If you’ve ever had chronic joint pain, you know that the suffering can be quite intense. Out of curiosity, my Dad began googling for advice on his particular condition, which inevitably directed him to the web site of a self-proclaimed “guru”.
This “guru” claims to be a normal guy who wants to help people learn the techniques that healed him from chronic pain. So, my Dad decided to investigate further and see what this “guru” had to offer. Hmm… well, for some reason his “free” e-book turned into a $27 book, a $37 video package and/or a $19 per month membership. It turns out that e-book is only free if you buy the video package, which means that it’s technically not free.
So where’s the evidence? Well, this “guru” has “case study” videos on his marketing page that show people giving testimonial about their joint pain improvements. That’s an interesting use of terms, because “case study” usually means an in-depth scientific examination of one individual over a long period of time. And yet, many of these “case studies” depict one individual that the “guru” met for the first time, and it seems that few of these testimonials were seen or tested again. It’s important to remember that the plural of anecdotes is not data.
Another troubling fact is that this amateur “guru” (who does not hold any type of medical degree from what I can ascertain) is holding virtual “clinics” for his customers. That seems odd to me that a man with no formal expertise on anatomy or physiology is asking people to visit his “clinic.” He also has weekly YouTube videos where he answers questions that he has received from potential customers. It’s odd because he assumes a mantle of expertise in these videos, but ultimately fails in every way to inspire confidence in his knowledge. He stammers, he swallows nervously, he gazes into the camera with a frightened deer-in-headlights stare: it boggles my mind that people take this man seriously. In his FAQ, one of the questions asks him whether he has a degree in medicine. He replies, “The proof is in the pudding” – I know what works as well as what does not…”. Yeah, sure, I’m going to take your word for it, Mr. “Guru.”
My Dad asked me to check this dude out. The first thing I did was to search for him on Facebook. Bingo. I found him, and his settings weren’t private. And what do you know… he is into some woo woo. One of his favorite things is homeopathy, that archaic unscientific modality of pseudo-natural healing. One of his favorite books is “The Secret”, which is based on the lazy concept that wishes will bring you riches. Oh, and don’t forget that two of his favorite movies are Zeitgeist, a 9/11 conspiracy film, and “What the Bleep Do We Know?“, a film about the mysteries and magical impossibilities of quantum physics. His web page includes mentions of herbs, chiropractic, healing touch, and reiki, among other dubious modalities.
It turns out that this “guru” lives in my Dad’s hometown, and in a flash of genius, my old man flexed his skeptic muscles by visiting the address listed on the web site. And what did he find? A small house swallowed by weeds.
My Dad inquired about the home office’s state of disrepair.
His yard looks overgrown to you, but he is trying to live green and in the back it is a vegetable garden and not grass.
At this point, I should be clear that my Dad has decided not to buy products from the joint pain “guru”. The circumstantial evidence seems pretty clear that this “guru” is worth every moment of doubt I’ve spent on him.
I’d rather not write this “guru’s” real moniker just to drag the man down (he seems innocent). The purpose of this article is to share a story about how my father and I worked together to investigate a claim. If we cared enough to pursue it further (we don’t), we would ask a physical therapist to assess the “guru’s” health claims scientifically. For now, I think we’re content enough with what we’ve researched on our own.