The receptionist used tweezers to tug out a few hairs from the back of my head and told me it would take just 20 minutes for the machine to analyse my epigenetics. So futuristic, I thought.
When the guy I was seeing for my appointment came out, however, things changed. It’s no secret that I’m a conventional kinda gal. My yoga company was called Rebel Yogi precisely because I avoided “woo woo” and focused on evidence-based practice.
For ease, let’s call this guy Bruce (not his actual name, and I’ll change a few other details out of courtesy). Bruce came through a door barefoot, with a large chakra necklace. Alarm bells began to ring. The immediate impression of his office was of utter chaos, with papers and books covering the floor, his desk, a side table, and the sofa – which I assumed I was supposed to sit on.
Knowing the test results would take another 20 minutes, most of the way through my 35-minute appointment, I thought the first half would be spent asking about my symptoms and background. Instead, Bruce talked at me. I heard about his reckless youth, his many children, his veganism, his path to holistic wellbeing.
When the test results came through, Bruce’s chaotic delivery ramped up. Ever quicker, he veered from the radiation coming off lamp posts, to reincarnation hypnosis (he had gone back over 63 lifetimes), to water’s memory.
Seated on a low sofa, being talked at by a man on a much higher chair, felt extremely uncomfortable. As he went on, I surreptitiously checked my watch. I was going to be late for pick-up if he didn’t wrap this up soon. He continued, jabbing his finger at various books and images of blood cells, too fast for me to take in, let alone examine critically. “I know this woman well,” he’d say, pointing at the author’s name. “She’s got four degrees.”
The thing about most healthcare professionals is that they don’t spend most of their appointment justifying why you should listen to them and their friends. Perhaps he could see the scepticism in my eyes. It was getting harder to mask as the session went on.
Frequently he would make assertions, and then ask me to apply his logic to another problem, as though proving his point. “Your blood is thick”, he might say. “That makes it sluggish. Now, how do you think that’s going to make you feel?”
“Sluggish?” I ask, hoping to give him the right answer so I can leave sooner. Alas.
“You have some bitterness in you that is making you ill. So what’s going to happen if you eat lemon? That’s right, you’ll be even more ill.”
A propos of I’m-not-sure-what, he showed me a book by another friend of his. It was about the intelligence and memory of water. The author told his name to a pot of water, and then froze it. The frozen water showed his initials. A dog had a drink from a bowl. He froze it and out came a fuzzy image of a dog. At least, I was told it was a dog. It looked like Jesus in a piece of burnt toast to me. I’d lost track of why he was telling me about this by that point. I just wanted to escape and get home to my family.
I still had some hope in the test results. And sure enough, most of the results were exactly what I expected. One section was about nutritional deficiencies, another about dealing with unresolved emotions. Both things I could do something about, I thought. The other two blamed my issues on radiation such as the TV, remote controls, and WiFi.
He gave me a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as ME or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.
Finally, it was time for the solutions. Out came myriad supplements, with vague prices bandied about. “$130-150, depending on which one.” Then, the clincher, a 30-day money back guarantee. I’m in.
But these alone wouldn’t be enough. I should also book in a session for him to tell me about my aura. (Thanks, but I’m pretty sure you’re just going to tell me it’s “bitter”). A session with their resident hypnotist. Therapy for resilience. A session with their in-house osteopath. Ozone therapy – half price! A scan of my blood cells (“Live Blood Analysis”) to show just how sluggish they are.
Feeling quite desperate to leave by this point, I handed over my card to pay for the supplements (a heart-stopping $578.65) and all but ran out the door.
In this series of articles – The Wellbeing Quest – I’m charting my efforts trying to beat my fatigue and other health issues. It’s great to have you on the journey with me.
Next time: Fact checking the science – did I just get scammed?