If it wouldn’t be a phrase from Bill Maher, I’d use “New Rules.” Because at times I am simply amazed about people who spend money on people claiming to be experts, or on products that already conveniently state “Claims not substantiated by the FDA.” Hence, today I am going to put a list together of phrases and statements that should make you stop in your tracks and at least research before you spend your hard earned cash!
Lastly, research your emotions!!! If anyone or anything is created to “cure” an emotional need, i.e. belonging, feeling insecure, feeling unsuccessful, lonely, sad, incomplete or otherwise vulnerable, be double aware. There are true experts that can help with that. We call them psychiatrists/psychologists and they can even give meds, if necessary. No one can “cure” or get rid of these issues, unless you are willing to work on them with someone! No one can “heal” or “cure” you in days, ever! Deep rooted issues take time and hard work!
Have you not noticed that experts always have the goal to change the world and help people, while charging hundreds or thousands of dollars?
Don’t claim you want to help people, while making your help only available to a few selected, gullible and privileged individuals! And truly, if there is a need for a label, there is usually the need to feed the ego. A label should be earned. If I am a doctor, I’ve studied for a long time and either went through med school, or earned a PhD, which is pretty difficult in most cases. I know there is a time and place when labels are important or even necessary; like at work! But do you hear the Dalai Lama call himself a holy man? Isn’t the very ability to be humble and admitting of his flaws, struggles and failures that make him just that? How about people like Mother Theresa, Gandhi or those who work in non-profit organizations; those who work with orphans, natural disaster survivors, etc.? Anyone who charges an arm and a leg is usually more interested in their own success and quite often a quack.
My point is that I am so weary of self-proclaimed experts, psychics, spiritual advisors and other “super humans” who use their “powers” to make a profit, by charging insane amounts of money for nothing, really. And no, I am not talking about paying $50 for a psychic reading that I chose to pay for, simply because! I’m talking about those who charge hundreds or thousands of dollars to “unleash your whatever power,” and help you overcome issues you’ve had for most of your life!
The sad part is that I do believe that there is such a thing as being psychic. I have witnessed and experienced situations that I have no scientific explanation for. I have experienced things that I’d call a miracle, but may have come from “just” my brain. And yes, I do believe that the brain is capable of remarkable things. Our brain IS a miracle. Finally, I really DO want to help people, and the only time I charge for it, is when I am at work and stop fraudsters! The other times, you get my “abilities,” especially my opinions or advice, for absolutely free; case in point, my blog!
Having said all that… The most important “check” for me is having atheists, agnostics, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and pagans as friends. Their views have left me curious and more open to any possibility, no matter how foreign it may sound. It has kept me in the middle; neither unwilling to ignore science and blindly believe, nor cynical and unwilling to believe in anything I cannot see or scientifically prove. I am OK with potentially being wrong. But I’d be sad if I’d be no longer capable of believing in mysterious things and unexplained phenomenons. Phew…
So, after all this rambling, I, as well as my fiercely atheistic friend, Kyle, came up with a list of things, i.e. “new rules” one should adhere to when buying or paying for unsubstantiated products and services. So, here is what Kyle had to say:
“I think I might write a browser enhancement that detects scams. That way when you browse to a chiropractor, church, or any of the other well documented scams, you’ll see the history and the evidence against what you’re looking at. The next step is to warn when red flag words are used to describe something. For example if you browse to with words like “not evaluated by the FDA” or “ancient secret” or “they don’t want you to know”, a big “likely scam” warning will appear.”
Here are the rules we added together (again, please read above, I am not trying to ridicule personal beliefs!)
- Anything that “Has been around thousands/hundreds of years.”
- “Our ancestors knew the healing power of…”
- “Invented by a school teacher”
- “Made available for the first time to the general public”
- “Developed by scientists in (<–insert European country here)”
- “Helps the immune system” (unless it’s on a vaccine)
- When one prints “Not evaluated by the FDA” they are making a medical claim which has likely already been proven false and simply don’t want to get sued.
- Psychics or anything else displaying in small print “For entertainment purposes only”
- “But wait there is more…”/”Act now for a discounted price”/Buy for less, before prices have to be raised”
- “For the bargain price of…”/This …usually sells for double/substantially more”
- “Celebrity secret”
- I had a 70 year old “healing touch practitioner” tell me last month that she worked with a client whose “migraines were so severe I had to approach from across the room from her for a full half an hour” (Kyle)
- Anything with the words toxins or detox. Anything that treats multiple unrelated illnesses. Everything in this commercial.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePQWdeuoR1g
- Any bracelet that claims to do anything other than dangle on your wrist. Anything with ions, holograms, or magnets.
- Anything that makes you lose weight without diet or exercise. Anything that gets rid of gray hair or dissolves fat.
- Anything that uses energy as a noun. It’s work potential, it’s not a thing.
- Anything that asks “Can you feel it,” “Do you hear/see it.”
- “Guaranteed results, or money back” while displaying in small print what rules to follow to get the guaranteed results or the money back
- Coming from “scientists in Switzerland/France.”
- “Has helped/worked on millions of people all over the world”/”successful for more than 10 years.” but when you do the research has only been around for 0-2 years.