Skepticism

Tell me doctor, where are we going this time?

Some chiropractors claim the ability to manipulate your skeletal system in such a way as to give you relief from aches and pains. Some claim the ability to use that same manipulation to cure afflictions like deafness and disease. And one chiropractor, James Burda, claims to the ability to cure you by traveling back in time. You have to admit: he holds a special niche in the industry.

The Ohio State Chiropractic Board says that unlike their members who claim to be able to detect and correct certain (made-up) “subluxations” in patients, Burda is mentally ill. Mentally ill like a fox.

Burda calls his special ability “Bahlaqeem,” saying on his web site

It is a made-up word and, to my knowledge, has no known meaning except for this intended purpose. It does, however, have a soothing vibrational influence and contains the very special number of nine letters

Here are some other soothing words with nine letters that were sadly already taken:

  • nonsensesÂ
  • hazelnuts
  • repulsive
  • cornbread
  • lowliness
  • flapjacks
  • vermicide
  • aardvarks
  • jackasses
  • pierogies
  • ringworms
  • slimeball

According to the AP article:

The treatment is not telepathic because the patient does not have to believe in what he’s doing, Burda said. He has treated hundreds of patients and reports nine out of 10 patients are satisfied, he said.

Nine out of ten is a damn good record. Since the patient doesn’t have to believe in what he’s doing, I’d like to sign up for the free first “visit,” which is done over the Internet or phone. The problem is that I’m too healthy right now. Anybody else want to volunteer? If you have arthritis, back pain, numbness and tingling, or other pain throughout your body, let me know. I see a good article for Skepchick coming of this, and who knows? Maybe if it works, we can help the good “doctor” apply for James Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge.

Oh! I thought of another soothing nine-letter word with a tremendous amount of power: Skepchick. Coincidence? Doubtful.

And yeah, I totally quoted Huey Lewis and the News. Deal with it.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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4 Comments

  1. Interesting. I once had a Chiropractor who didn't seem to match any of the quacks I hear about online these days. He believed that no manipulation required more than 1kg of pressure per square inch, and he only ever treated back and joint pain.

    In fact, there was a time in college when my mandibular joint was somehow "off track." This fellow fixed it, and then advised me to see an orthodontist to make sure I was okay, and to treat the underlying problem!

    But these whack-jobs that claim to cure everything from stage four cancer to impotence need to be locked up, safely away from the public.

  2. you totally rock girl! I can't believe the quality of your writing!

    This was just too funny, yet got the point across. And you work a full time job? I think you must be neglecting Larry's cats.

  3. I've only gone to the chiropractor for back aches, which seems kindof logical to me. I never ran into one who seemed like a real quack (claiming to be able to cure cancer, or even the flu for that matter). I'm sure they exist, but maybe I just sniffed out the ones who were less flaky.

    However, the last time I had a back ache about 4 years ago, I went to my doctor instead. He sent me to a physical therapist. When I went to the chiro, they always had me come in 15, 20, 25+ times for adjustments. The physical therapist had me come in about 4 times, taught me exercises to strenghten my back, and finally taught me how to fix it myself when it went out. I haven't needed any medical care for the problem since.

    Draw your own conclusions. I know there are many different kinds of back problems and not all can be fixed with simple exercises, but that was my experience.

  4. Rebecca, you should visit the website, particularly the part describing 'Bahlaqeem'. He has the typical 'outs' of all the quacks; for instance, under "Personal Note from the Creator of Bahlaqeem", he states that "there are two reasons why this treatment may not work and they are 1) you really do not want to get better and / or 2) the pain or other symptom is there so that you can learn a lesson, which comes from the highest of sources."

    So there you have it—you don't get better then you are to blame or some higher power is. It's good to know that if you're in pain and he can't cure you, you don't actually want to get better. It's even nicer to know that some malicious power might be causing you pain on purpose.

    Unfortunately I have to stop now as I've just laughed myself into a stomach ache and need to convince the highest sources that I've learned my lesson.

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