Some Kind Of Wanderful

The AmWand

The AmWand

The dudes at VICE crack the crazy behind AmWand, a so-called Zero Point Energy healing device:

Three grown men recently gyrated their wands inches above my lower back while I laid facedown on a red couch. Every few minutes they asked me whether I was “feeling anything.” They were hoping that twirling stainless-steel tubes full of “granulated minerals” over my body would relieve an ailment that has caused me niggling yet constant nerve pain for years. It had no discernable effect on my discomfort, but hundreds of people across the world believe these wands contain a powerful healing energy.

My wanding experience took place inside a charming 100-year-old house in Mount Vernon, New York. The homeowner, 39-year-old Paul Saenz, had invited me there for a demonstration of the AMwand, one of the many wellness products manufactured by the multilevel marketing company Amega Global. Paul is a part-time musician, a father of two, and the founder of Resonance Technology Global, through which he sells products from Amega and other companies. He acquired his first AMwand (which retails for about $305) in mid-March and became an Amega distributor soon after.

Upon entering Paul’s house, I walked in on two men vigorously wanding a third in the living room. I watched and awkwardly asked a few questions about exactly what was going on before introducing myself. The first-time wandee was Mike Joyce, and the wanders were his older brother John (aka Juicecan) and his buddy Pers Van Kragg. When I asked Mike whether he sensed anything emanating from the wand, he claimed that he felt some “general tingliness” around his back and head. Mike interrupted him to explain that it was the “subatomic stimulation of cells.” This statement made me uneasy, and I casually drifted into the kitchen to meet the rest of the guests.

Paul and his wife, Cheryl, had gathered a small group of friends and acquaintances who had varying levels of interest in Amega and its products. Some already owned or had access to wands, which they unanimously praised. Of course, Paul was eager to demonstrate the wand’s myriad abilities. After a round of introductions, we moved to his backyard to conduct a wanded-wine taste test.

The wine, Paul told me, was the cheapest his wife could find, which supposedly would make the wand’s effects all the more apparent. He set two empty glasses on the patio table and filled them. Pers and Juicecan, both wand owners, claimed that wanding wine of any caliber enhances its flavor. Paul, who moments earlier was wanding a cigarette to remove impurities, chimed in and said that he wands just about every beverage: “I have tried it with wine, water, soda, and fruit juice. It kind of takes away that back-end bitter taste.” He then filled the two glasses with wine, pushed one to the opposite side of the table, and began twirling his wand in tight clockwise circles inches above the liquid inside the chosen glass. This lasted for about five minutes. After Paul was finished, I sampled the unwanded wine. It had the bouquet of poorly aged swill and coated my tongue with bitterness. I then drank from the wanded cup. It was subtle, but it did seem to be a tad less acidic. In hindsight the improved taste could have been due to the powers of persuasion (and the fact that the second sip of any wine will taste better after the alcohol dulls your taste buds), but I was intrigued all the same…

[continues at VICE]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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23 Comments on "Some Kind Of Wanderful"

  1. It's like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. It only works if you truly believe.


      • spiritualizedBiped | Jul 1, 2010 at 8:20 pm |

        err… uhh…
        so you are saying, what, exactly, happens when people spontaneously heal during clinical studies and they were given sugar pills instead of pharmaceuticals?

        • …that sugar pills heal people.

          I've heard it argued that if something produces a “placebo effect,” it therefore has an effect, and thus “works.”

          • spiritualizedBiped | Jul 2, 2010 at 12:06 am |

            That is not a strong argument. “It” has an effect. “It” is not what is being qualitatively tested. The placebo effect comes from a control group who is not receiving the treatment. In the case of this wand, if a controlled study were done and the “patients” were blind folded – half received a treatment with the want and half received the treatment with a pencil – those that received benefit from the pencil would be under the influence of the placebo.

            “It” is not the pencil, or sugar pills that heal, (or sugar pills would be touted as the greatest natural remedy in the history of the world) but the power of the mind and its beliefs that heal.

            It is worth considering how to get people to believe that the power of their mind can be as strong as any medicine, as the placebo effect often proves that it can. But the placebo effect is considered a medical fact and is accounted for in all controlled studies of treatment effectiveness. To argue against it is ludicrous.

          • “Medicine” is, by definition, much stronger than the placebo effect. If a drug being tested is not demonstrated to be stronger than the placebo, then it's not approved as a treatment for that condition. So, on the contrary, *any* FDA-approved medicine has a stronger effect than “the power of the mind.”

          • spiritualizedBiped | Jul 3, 2010 at 11:04 pm |

            Stricty, “by definition,” you are referring to FDA-approved medicine (and we have seen how damaging FDA-approved drugs can be). Otherwise “medicine” can be defined much more broadly; for instance as “the art or science of restoring or preserving health” from Herbs are medicine. Acupuncture is medicine. In Native American wisdome, dreams are sometimes called “good medicine.”

            I am not seriously attempting to dissuade the use of standard Western medicine. However, and by all accounts, the mind has the power to heal the body. This, to me, is the highest medicine, and it seems that we should be giving it more attention instead of relegating the phenomena to a mere measuring stick for the approval process of pharmaceuticals.

          • Mood, suggestion, physical human contact, relaxation and a positive attitude may facilitate recovery, or mitigate the perception of pain. Doctors do recognize that the mental condition of a patient does effect recovery. Alt med practices like reiki or acupuncture have effects, but when compared in studies side-by-side with controls, it turns out that there is no difference in effect between, say, a trained reiki master “manipulating energy” according to some esoteric technique, and an untrained person simply laying hands on the patient in a relaxing, therapeutic setting. The manipulation of “energy” has nothing do with it–what they give you is no different from what you might get from a massage or a candlelit bubble bath. None of these modalities, however, can cure a disease, or relieve pain to the same degree as a strong anesthetic.

            Many pharmaceuticals have been derived from herbs.The active ingredient in the plant is identified, and it is refined into a pill of known and consistent dosage. FDA-approved pharmaceuticals have side effects, and we hear about them because studies are conducted to find out what they are *before* the drug can be marketed.

            This is not true of dietary supplements and other “natural” remedies, which, in the US, do not go through the FDA approval processes. Nightshade and belladonna are herbs. Nature is full of things that can harm you. When these herbal remedies are sold, no studies have been done to ensure that they are safe–they are only recalled after the fact, once it has been shown that people are being harmed by them. I feel a lot safer using a pharmaceutical that has been tested for efficacy and side-effects, because then, at least, I can weigh the risks and benefits–with herbal medicine all you have is anecdote and marketing.

            So, I don't dispute with you that mental well-being promotes physical health and recovery, but I don't think they they are a substitute for what your doctor gives you. The real danger with alt med is when people who urgently need science-based treatment instead turn to a “natural” remedy, as for example cancer patients who put their hope into quack medicine and die because they didn't receive chemotherapy that might have saved their lives if administered at an earlier stage of the disease. Medical pseudoscience costs lives every day.

          • spiritualizedBiped | Jul 4, 2010 at 1:34 am |

            Well, I'm certainly not going to try and defend Reiki, nor this wand thing. But as an acupuncturist, I can say unequivocally that it works wonders for a number of disorders. More and more clinical studies are verifying this, but it is difficult to create a double-blind test studies (I'd say impossible), as the acupuncturists' subjective experience plays a significant role in the direction of the treatment. The “point prescription” formulas, such as this point is good for headaches, this point is good for back aches, is an extremely limited style of acupuncture.

            And you are completely wrong about acupuncture not being able to relieve pain as strongly as anesthetics. The history of acupuncture's popularity in America began with the reporting of James Reston's emergency appendectomy and subsequent reports of painless surgery using only acupuncture as anesthesia. A series of treatments with acupuncture for many, if not most, common pains often leads to a complete cessation of the pain. The same cannot be said for a series of steroid injections.

            Please don't put words in my mouth. I never said that herbs are harmless. I'm also a trained herbalist and I know better than most the dangers if misdiagnosis and treatment. And I would agree with legislation that placed their dispensation in the hands of trained professionals. The semi-recent use of ephedra for weight loss, for instance, goes completely against the training of a TCM herbalist. Ma huang has had a list of cautions and contraindications for hundreds of years, it would never have be prescribed like that.

            And I have to tell you that if I were to develop cancer, a Western treatment center is likely the last place I would go. Western doctors have not developed effect treatment for most cancers. What they have developed is better early detection techniques, and that is coming under more and more fire of scrutiny (read: mammograms). With the exception of a few cancers, I have seen studies that suggest the survival rate with chemotherapy or without it are about the same. There are a number of natural remedies whose success and promotion have been vehemently suppressed by the Western medical establishement. I would try every one of them first.

            Are you familiar with this article?… – Medical *science* costs lives every day. I'm pretty sure the number of reported deaths from acupuncture in the last decade can be counted on one hand.

            I think there is room for all medicine. There is certainly room for complimentary medicine. If I am in a car wreck and am bleeding with a head wound, don't send me to see my Rolfer. But for 90% of the other ailments that affect people, I would go seen an alt-medicine practitioner first. They are safer, cheaper, and they can be highly effective.

            I'm not saying there aren't quacks out there, but MDs are far from having all of the answers and alt-medicine is more than mental well-being and placebo.

          • Vet_med_tech | Jul 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm |

            Isn't the term for complimentary medicine that works medicine?

          • spiritualizedBiped | Jul 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm |

            Yes. I call acupuncture “medicine.”

          • There have been decades of study on various alt med modalities. The overall pattern revealed by meta-analysis is that small studies with less controls may demonstrate small effects, but more comprehensive, better-controlled experiments show no effect at all. The former studies, however, tend to make the rounds in the media in uncritical articles that often end with the provocative phrase “more research is needed.”

            In the last ten years the US go'vt has spent $2.5 billion studying alt med modalities through the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the only positive result they found was that ginger capsules may help chemotherapy nausea. The claim that these modalities, for one reason or another, cannot be tested by ordinary, empirical means strikes me as a form of special pleading.

            Progress is always being made on cancer treatment; some forms are more difficult than others. I'm highly skeptical of anything that claims to have been “vehemently suppressed by the Western establishment,” which is essentially the same reason that creationists give for why scientists do not agree with them that the world is less than 10,000 years old. If there were a miraculously effective cancer treatment, the health industry wouldn't be trying to suppress it, they'd be trying to get their hands on it for the fame and money it would afford; and, on a more human level, almost everyone, Western doctors included, have been affected in some way by cancer, so there is a shared, personal motive to cure it as well.

            My grandfather delayed treatment of prostate cancer in order to try some miracle cream, and had he not done so, he might be alive today.

            I recognize that there are serious problems with the health care system, and that medical science is limited in what it can accomplish, but it can demonstrate its efficacy, as well as its risks, with empirical evidence. Most of what describes itself as “alternative” or “complimentary” has failed to meet that standard, but wants to continue practicing. This is why that industry lobbied for the Dietary Supplement Health and Education act of 1994, for example, which exempted dietary supplements from the safety and efficacy testing which applies to drugs.

            I'm perfectly open to any alt/comp modalities if they can demonstrate their safety and efficacy to the standards of the scientific community, but most of what I've seen strikes me as rationalization for why it has so far failed to do so.

          • spiritualizedBiped | Jul 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm |

            There is more research in China than the U.S. And your response of “special pleading” in regards to acupuncture and clinical trials actually shows your ignorance of the subject, but that is to be understood, as most in the West are ignorant of the subject. As I mentioned before, those clinical trials almost invariably go the “point prescription” route in their studies, i.e. this point for this, this point for that. It is very similar to the way herbal studies are done in the west – isolating individual components to determine exact effects. However, Oriental medicine is an holistic medicine. Most acupuncturists I know would be loathe to tell someone unequivocally that any particular point is good for any particular disorder, and would instead prefer to go about a diagnosis on an individual basis. If I treat five different people for headaches, I am most likely going to give five different treatments. The same is true for Chinese herbalism. The material reductionism of Western science is problematic as a whole, to say the least, but especially when it comes to evaluating holistic medicine.

            Living in an alt-minded community like Austin, as I do, it is virtually impossible to find someone that doesn't know someone who has benefited from acupuncture. I continue to do my own research on a daily basis and I certainly don't need some third-party anomaly to tell my whether my treatments are effective or not. I know it is not placebo because I get people who have expectations about how well it will work and then are amazed when it works better than expected. They have often been to see a slew of Western docs whom they had placed much greater hope in than myself. Seeing their satisfaction of experiencing no pain for the first time in months or years is all of the empirical evidence I need.

            I, too, have lost relatives to cancer. And I agree that all healthcare providers have a strong motive to end the disease. However, I tend to be a bit too conspiracy-minded to believe that Big Pharma has a strong motive to provide a cure, and certainly not a cheap or free one. And if you think there hasn't been suppression for alternative cures by the establishment, you might want to search Dr. Gerson, Essiac tea, and Royal Rife, among others. Seriously… the AMA was created specifically to squash the competitors of allopathic medecine. The fact that they are considered the authority gives me significant pause anytime something is published regarding CAM in JAMA. It is like a hole in the ground for MDs to place their heads.

            Your strawman argument tying mine to creationism is ineffective.

            In summary, healthcare is an emotionally charged issue on all sides. I'm not going to defend all of alt-medicine, though I do feel that all of the major systems have their place, even those that tend to promise too much. (For the record, most acupuncturists, including myself, never promise cures, opting instead for a “let's see” approach). The debate is not going to be over soon, especially when the two sides seem to perpetually butt heads, as apparently yours and mine have.

            But above all, I find it imperative that humanity continue to have a choice, and we are perilously on the edge of medical fascism, with cases springing up of children being taken away from their families for not being given FDA-approved poisons, even when their alternative treatment plans are working. This is not a world I want to live in.

            The established medical profession, IMO, sees through too narrow a lense, and unless we keep a wide field of vision, we will be missing out on future remedies, as well as those of past that aren't seen through the establishment's filters.

          • Vet_med_tech | Jul 3, 2010 at 9:42 pm |

            Unfortunately you are referring to the old description of placebo effect as being the power of the mind.
            Research in the past few years has shown conclusively that placebo effect can bring about physiological changes in the human body.
            Read this study as an example:

          • spiritualizedBiped | Jul 3, 2010 at 10:49 pm |

            I never said that it was “only” in the mind. I concur wholeheartedly that there are physiological effects. My statement is that those effects are initiated within the mind by way of suggestion/ beliefs.

          • Vet_med_tech | Jul 4, 2010 at 12:36 pm |

            Absolutely…see your point.

      • Vet_med_tech | Jul 2, 2010 at 11:23 pm |

        The old understanding of placebo effect being “in the mind” is outdated.
        Studies have conclusively demonstrated real physiological changes in the human body as a result of placebo.
        In the study I reference subjects were given IV pain control that elicited real changes in their brain. However, the pain control substance was saline only.

  2. Namelesswon | Jul 2, 2010 at 3:58 am |

    substitute “wanding” with “wanking” and “wand” with “Cock”. damn stoopid rocks for brains con merchant mentalists.

  3. Vet_med_tech | Jul 2, 2010 at 11:19 pm |

    Zero Point Energy has NEVER been demonstrated is a single device…EVER.
    Therefore it can only be deduced that Amega is LYING.
    Now there's a surprise!

  4. Vet_med_tech | Jul 4, 2010 at 12:47 pm |

    With regard to the original post about the Amega wand.
    Amega claims to use Zero Point Energy as the basis for the wand's amazing “powers”.
    To date, there is no practical application of the Zero Point Energy theory.
    How is it possible to take Amega seriously when there is no answer to this fundamental dilemma?

  5. spiritualizedBiped | Jul 5, 2010 at 7:32 pm |

    Yes. I call acupuncture “medicine.”

  6. There is a first for everything including products infused with zero point field resonance. People are so sure that they know everything and call it crazy when they don’t understand it. Assumed science is proven wrong all the time, especially these days. Our thoughts, sounds, and bodies are energy…

  7. There is a first for everything including products infused with zero point field resonance. People are so sure that they know everything and call it crazy when they don’t understand it. Assumed science is proven wrong all the time, especially these days. Our thoughts, sounds, and bodies are energy…

Comments are closed.