Monday, April 30, 2012

Bates Method

The bates method is an alternative theory with it's purpose aimed at improving the eyesight. William Horatio Bates (1860-1931) an eye-care physician attributed nearly all sight problems to habitual strain of the eyes. He felt that glasses were harmful and never necessary claiming that using certain techniques can help people relax such “strain” and thus improving their eyesight. The question at issue though is what these techniques are and do they actually work?

In his writings, Bates discussed several techniques which he claimed helped patients to improve their sight. "The ways in which people strain to see are infinite, and the methods used to relieve the strain must be almost equally varied". Bates emphasized that no single approach would work for everyone. His techniques were all designed to help disassociate this "strain" from seeing and thereby achieve "central fixation", or seeing what is in the central point of vision without staring. He asserted that "all errors of refraction and all functional disturbances of the eye disappear when it sees by central fixation" and that other conditions were often relieved as well.
Some techniques include:
 -Palming (covering the closed eyes with the palms of the hands, without putting pressure on the eyeballs to help bring about relaxation)
-Visualization (the metal imaging of the color black; that the darker it appeared in the mind, and the smaller the area of black which could be imagined, the more relaxed one was at the moment)
-Movement (moving the eyes back and forth to get an illusion of objects "swinging" in the opposite direction. He believed that the smaller the area over which the "swing" was experienced, the greater was the benefit to sight)
-Sunning (exposing only the white part of the eyeball to direct sunlight, and only for seconds at a time, after allowing the sun to shine on closed eyelids for a longer period)
The purported benefits of Bates' techniques are generally anecdotal, and their supposed effectiveness in improving eyesight has not been substantiated by medical research. Several of Bates' techniques, including "sunning", "swinging", and "palming", were combined with healthy changes to diet and exercise in a 1983 randomized controlled trial of myopic children in India. After 6 months, the experimental groups "did not show any statistically significant difference in refractive status", but the children in the treatment group "subjectively ... felt relieved of eye strain and other symptoms." In conclusion these methods have been falsified and one should not attempt to use these methods as an alternative means of improving eyesight, especially sunning. 


Monday, April 23, 2012


There are several questions at issue when it comes to the concept of detox.  The first question is obviously, what is detoxing?  Secondly, can detoxing be helpful but more importantly, do humans need to detox?
The assumption that many people in our society have on this issue is that detoxing or cleansing of the body is removing waste or toxins from their body and making them a healthier individual. 
The information that I was able to see on this issue may suggest otherwise. Detoxing is actually a very broad term that can range from the removal of toxins in the body to create “homeostasis”, to removing an addiction from the body, to simply removing waste that is stuck in our bowels.  More importantly, detoxing falls under the category of “alternative medicine” meaning that there is no real evidence to suggest that detoxing is helpful.  This simple fact does not stop people from creating thousands of different means of “detoxing” or buying into these bogus “cleanses”. The fact of the matter is that there are no set standards of what a detox actually consist of.  In my search I found sites that claim all an individual needs to do is drink water with lemon for a week to “rid the toxins”; while another site claimed that famous singer BeyoncĂ© only had to drink water with maple syrup for three days in order to get her perfect body.  Never mind the fact that she has a personal trainer and chefs to make her meals.  The fact of the matter is that our bodies are naturally designed (kidneys, livers, and lungs) remove toxins from our bodies and do this job extremely well.  Detoxing is a made up science that too many of us are falling for.
In my opinion, I have always been a little skeptical when it comes to the world of detoxing and cleansing.  I strongly believe that our bodies were made to get rid of toxins on their own. The only reason that people are seeing these different results is due to the fact that they are starving themselves and the placebo effect.  Of course you will lose weight if you think hard enough about it and only drink water with lemon for a week straight.  There are proven and healthier ways for people to lose weight and remove toxins from their body. It’s called drink plenty of water and exercise.  There are no “quick fixes” in our world and people need to wake up to this fact.,,20410095,00.html

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I Want to Believe……

Concepts/definitions: Conspiracy Theory explains an event as being the result of an alleged plot by a covert group or organization or, more broadly, the idea that important political, social or economic events are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.
Originally a neutral term, since the mid-1960s it has acquired a somewhat derogatory meaning, implying a paranoid tendency to see the influence of some malign covert agency in events. The term is sometimes used to automatically dismiss claims that are deemed ridiculous, misconceived, paranoid, unfounded, outlandish or irrational.
v       "conspiracy theory" is used to indicate a narrative genre that includes a broad selection of arguments for the existence of grand conspiracies.
v    Used in popular culture to identify secret military, banking, or political actions aimed at "stealing" power, money, or freedom, from "the people".
v       Based on the notion that complex plots are put into motion by powerful hidden forces.
v    Uses folklore and urban legend and a variety of explanatory narratives which are constructed with methodological flaws or biases.
Well Known or Proven Conspiracy Theories:
œ The Death of Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe, one of the greatest legends of the 20th Century, is also the subject of one of the most mysterious deaths of our time. Her unexpected passing in 1962 had the world whispering about what may have really happened. Her death was a result of a massive dose of barbiturates, but whereas some say it was suicide, others argue the fatal drug was administered by someone trying to desperately prevent state-secrets emerging from her alleged affair with John F. Kennedy.
œ The Jews taking Over the World
œ The Loch Ness Monster
œ Eco-friendly Cars
œ The JFK Murder Mystery
œ Second- Hand Beatle
œ The Death of England’s Princess Rose
œ Area 51
œ Mickey Mouse Moon Landing
œ 9/11

œ Some scholars argue that conspiracy theories once limited to fringe audiences have become commonplace in mass media, contributing to conspiracies emerging as a cultural phenomenon in the United States of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and the possible replacement of democracy by conspiracy as the dominant paradigm of political action in the public mind. According to anthropologists Todd Sanders and Harry G. West, evidence suggests that a broad cross section of Americans today gives credence to at least some conspiracy theories. Belief in conspiracy theories has therefore become a topic of interest for sociologists, psychologists and experts in folklore.

œ Conclusion: Many believe in conspiracy theories, however; there are so many facts that prove against what they believe. It is hard to change someone’s mind once they start believing something, no matter how foolish or unrealistic it may seem. The ten examples that I gave here I find to be the most commonly believe conspiracy theories that many try to disprove every year, yet so many people still believe them. People will believe what they want to believe and this will always exist in our society.

Sites I Used:
œ  Transparency and conspiracy: ethnographies of suspicion in the new world order. Harry G. West, Todd Sanders. pp 207
œ American Heritage Dictionary, "Conspiracy theory

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Walking under Ladders

Question: Everyone knows the superstition of walking under a ladder; it's bad luck! - but what makes walking under a ladder bad luck?

Information: People are always skeptical to walk under a ladder because it's been thought to bring bad luck. People try to avoid it and others don't believe this superstition at all. Walking under ladders dates back to the medieval times where ladders were thought to resemble gallows. This was thought to believe that if someone walked under a ladder, they were guaranteeing their own death by gallows. It was also thought to resemble the Holy Trinity. The shape of a leaning ladder is a triangle and walking through the ladder was considered violating and insulting God.

Inferences: Some people believe the possibility of reversing the bad luck. Some ways thought to reverse it are: crossing your fingers until you see a dog; spitting on your show while continuously walking, and not looking at your shoe until the spit is dry; and walking backwards through the ladder while making a wish.

Point of View: Personally, I don't really believe this superstition is true. It just seems ridiculous to me. I could understand the gallows, but I don't believe about the possibilities of it being bad luck. Also, the ways to 'undo' the bad luck is absurd. It just seems like a joke.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Holistic Health: Pseudoscience?

Information: The definition of holistic health by the American Holistic Medical Association is as follows: "Holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person - body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and complementary therapies to promote optimal health, and prevent and treat disease by addressing contributing factors."

There are many point of views about holistic health, many of which include that it is only supported by quacks and that it does not work, one must take medication to be healthy, or stay healthy. Well, I am one of those who believes otherwise. I am a firm believer that when suffering from an illness, all aspects of your life must be evaluated for you to be healthy. Not all illness and disease is caused by a bug and can be cured by a pill. It is medically proven that stress and other life factors can effect your health.

The purpose of holistic health is to measure all aspects of your life and find out how they are effecting your health. "Disease is understood to be the result of physical, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental imbalance. (AHMA)" If so, then why do we only treat the physical issues? 

The question at issue is whether holistic healing is a real, productive practice, or a form of psuedoscience, with professional sounding language and selective testimonials. I think it's not.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Amazon River Dolphin: Legend and Superstitions

Information:  The Amazon River Dolphin is also known as the Boto or the Pink Dolphin.  This dolphin is one of the five river dolphins that exist in the order cetacea. Over the years many stories and superstitions have been told about the Boto.   It has been said that at night the boto changes into a man and goes onto the land.   If he finds a woman he will impregnate her.  Another version of the legend is that the man takes the woman back into the river and the woman will turn into a dolphin. 

Concepts: Many other superstitions go along with the legend of the boto dolphin.  It is bad luck to kill the boto and if a person to ever make eye contact with an Amazon River dolphin he or she will have lifelong nightmares.
Question: Are these superstitions true?  How did the myth originate?
Interpretation: It’s been interpreted that the myth arose partly because dolphin genitalia bear a resemblance to those of humans.  Others believe the myth served (and still serves) as a way of hiding the incestuous relations which are quite common in some small, isolated communities along the river.

Swearing Increases Pain Tolerance

If you, for example, break your arm from a fall, what is your first reaction to the events transpired?  You could scream ‘Ow!’ or curse and swear after the pain becomes noticeable and hard to bear.  It turns out swearing can have the purpose of increasing pain tolerance in people.
There are not that many assumptions about it.  However, it is assumed that the swearing triggers the fight or flight response in us.   It is also assumed that swearing also reduces pain.
There is information that swearing triggers emotional and physical responses.  It has been around for centuries and occurs in various cultures.    It is also known that:
Swearing taps into emotional brain centers and appears to arise in the right brain, whereas most language production occurs in the left cerebral hemisphere of the brain.”
A study, by Dr. Stephens, was done with 64 undergraduate volunteers.  The volunteers had to write down 5 words they use when in pain after running into a table and five words they would use to describe the table.  They then had to put their hands in a bucket of ice cold water for a prolonged period of time; they first could repeat any swear word of their choice, then switching to a word they used to describe the table.  Results showed that the volunteers could keep their hands submerged in the cold water for longer periods of time when they were repeating the swear word, showing a noticeable link between pain and increasing pain tolerance.
I could only find one study.  I first came across this from the TV show Mythbusters.  From my point of view, it would make sense that swearing reduces pain.  Whenever I injure myself by running into a wall or table, or even burn myself, I curse and swear like nobody’s business.  I guess, since I am so focused on cursing, I don’t really notice the pain after a few seconds.  I definitely believe more research should be done on this subject to truly confirm that swearing increases.

Hot Hands

It's a cool article.

Health in Mind

Does placing rocks on one's body in certain areas have an effect on their health? It is called Crystal healing and it's the practice that when certain elements are placed in specific parts of the body, they have some type of healing power on stress, illness or boosting of energy. The actual performing of this type of healing has been done as far back as the Egyptians when they saw jade as a precious stone which would help guide one's soul into the afterlife. It's also been known to be used in many native American cultures, notably the Hopi of Arizona. They felt that the laying of stones and other elements like gems or rubies on areas of the body would have healing powers which then could lift evil spirits from the body and mind and relieve the persons from illness.

In today's 'new age' medicine industry, it's focus is on relieving stress and boosting one's energy. The placement and the actual elements in the stones or gems are important to different healing scenarios. The stones may or may not have a, if any, effects on the body directly. I feel that if someone simply takes a moment to lie down for a period of time and attempts to clear their mind much like a form of meditation, they will most likely find some relief in some way or another. Having rocks thrown on you, for me, is just another way of controlling/restricting your movements. Everyone needs a break from life once in a while and should make time to relax with themselves. No evidence of healing chronic illnesses or ordinary sicknesses have been found using crystals. My suggestion to anyone experiencing a lack of motivation, energy or increase in stress may want to find a calm environment, forget the stones, close their eyes, take a deep breath and exhale. Sit for a half hour or more then stretch it out. I bet at least for a moment, they'll feel better.

Do the Stars play a part?

It's been posted about already but I would like to discuss a bit about astrology and why I find it interesting. Astrology is basically the belief that the stars are influential to our lives and the way we act in everyday life. The foundation is based upon when a person was born. Mostly when and where the stars or planets were aligned at the time of one's birth is essential in determining many factors of personality, actions, decisions and future events. For instance, I myself am classified as a Gemini. I was born May 21st 1988 at 8:05pm. Astrology also looks at a person's moon sign. This can also be a deciding link towards personality and views of the world. A prominent figure in the practice of Astrology is author Linda Goodman. According to some of her clarifications in astrology, my moon is Mercury which says I am sensitive and deeply curious about life. This is very true but it's a statement that can be applied to many others who are nowhere near my birth date.

It was only after meeting a close friend that I grew more intrigued about what can be said about different people by simply knowing when they were born. Through experience, I have found some things about certain 'signs' in the zodiac are quite specific to person's personalities and the connection one has between one another. Some signs just don't mesh well with others and people can butt heads. As a psychology major, I am always interested in why people act the way they do or see things from differing perspectives. Astrology does hold some validity in many cases but like any pseudoscience, and since we're a very individual specific species, people's characteristics differ immensely.

For the most part, it's not apparent that the stars are having much effect or influence for life on earth besides the obvious such as: orbital motions, gravity and the simple beauty of the night sky. It's open to interpretation. I have met some really great people whom according to astrologists would not ordinarily be compatible with one another. As Linda Goodman reiterates after many claims, not everyone is the same even though many times, you may find her words of the differences between sign's intellect and personalities are spot on. Do the stars play a part on our lives? I can honestly say no, but then again maybe the timing of our birth Is essential to how we view the world and people around us.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary!

Calling her name 3-14 times, in a dark room, in front of a mirror. That is what your supposed to do when you want to see Mary's reflection in the mirror. Queen Mary I is the beginning of the stories, which were based on the miscarries and deaths of all her kids. Starting in the 1600's, this folklore has many stories. A couple tell that she was a witch and had her child stolen so she committed suicide and was then sent to haunt the mirrors. Others say that when she was an orphan kid in a village in NH that kept running around yelling "gaze into the mirror and your fictional horrors will turn to truth", she was then accused of witchcraft, then one day they found her body with deep scratched and her eyes ripped out.

It is thought that you will have multiple things happen to you if you say her name. One concept is you will have your eyes ripped out of your head. Couple others are that you will have your face scratched into pieces and will be seriously injured. The worst that could happen is that you get your head cut off or that you are terribly haunted till you die a tragic death.  There was a rumor that if you found Bloody Mary, she was a summoner for the deceased.

Question at Issue:
The question at issue is does this really happen? Like if I stand in front of a mirror will I see her face and come to my death because she ripped out my eyes or cut of my head. Will you be haunted for the rest of your like because you said her name 3 times? 

Point of View:
 I have never tried to do this and I don't really care to. It is a cool story but I do not believe in it. I have talked to a lot of people who have done it and they say nothing happened. I believe in a lot of folklores and supernatural beings but this is one concept that I am not fond of.