Imagine if there was a non-invasive, chemical-free cure to cancer, a permanent antidote to addiction and a way to instantly diagnose and treat allergies, dermatitis and mental health problems. Um, well, apparently, there is. It's called Bioresonance, and depending on who you ask, it's either the saviour of all mankind, or dangerous quackery that preys on the weak and vulnerable and prolongs them seeking adequate treatment for serious illness.
This Chinese wellness trend will undo all the damage you did to your body in December
Bioresonance is a treatment that involves sticking electrodes onto the skin, which use electromagnetic waves to create a resonance able to detect unhealthy frequencies of the cells within our bodies, for example viruses and cancer cells. The device is then able to match the frequency and 'cancel out' the abnormality. The machine's electromagnetic waves are also believed to cure addictions like smoking cigarettes, apparently by cancelling out nicotine molecules in the body.
You might think that something as revolutionary would be a recent invention, but on the contrary, bioresonance is more than 40 years old. It was all started by Franz Morell in 1977, a doctor who alongside his penchant for inventions, had links to Scientology. It seems no coincidence, therefore, that Morell's bioresonance machine bares a startling resemblance to the E-Meters used during Scientology's core practice of "auditing".
Anyway, back to curing cancer. Or, you know, not. "Bioresonance is one of the purest forms of quackery that I have come across," says Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor at the University of Exeter. "The assumptions that underpin bioresonance fly in the face of science and have no validity whatsoever."
Here's everything you need to know about coping with IBS from a nutritionist who learnt to manage hers
While there are seemingly reputable scientific studies that conclude that there are, in fact, various benefits to bioresonance, including one that shows how the treatment contributes to an impressive smoking cessation rate, Professor Ernst questions the results. "On closer inspection, the trial has numerous flaws, has never been independently replicated and was published in a journal of dubious quality," he says.
But of course, science is only one side of the argument. Proponents of alternative medicine and wellness treatments claim that not everything can be measured clinically, and science doesn't have all the answers after all. You only have to take to online forums to read the thousands of testimonials written by people who believe bioresonance has helped them. "The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not evidence," says Professor Ernst on his website.
The potential risks of people entrusting their health to an unfounded treatment are obvious. For starters, they may believe they're receiving adequate treatment and prolong seeking proper medical advice. In cases of growing tumours, such a delay could be fatal. That's not to mention the ethical implications of a trusted professional offering false hope to vulnerable people at a steep price.
"There's a serious risk to your wallet," agrees health and beauty journalist Nadine Baggott. She's not wrong; a bioresonance machine can set you back thousands of pounds, while individual treatments can be as much as £200 per session.
"Even in the realms of complimentary or alternative medicine the claims made for bioresonance are ridiculous. It's complete and utter bullsh*t," adds Nadine.