Part of “Pseudoscience A to Z”, a series of brief articles in the OSSCI newsletter about topics that have not been subjected to much critical thinking by their promoters.
Alphabiotics. Whew, this one’s a poser. There is a semi-official website but it’s rather maddening. Rarely have I read so much and received so little. One of the first things you are hit with is the phrase “WHEN WE COME OUT OF AN INAPPROPRIATE STRESS STATE A DYNAMIC SHIFT HAPPENS”, and below we are presented with an animated stick figure which goes from erect (balanced), to looking as if it’s gone a few rounds with Lennox Lewis (unbalanced). We are then informed that “RE-BOOTING THE BRAIN IS MUCH LIKE RE-BOOTING A COMPUTER.” I would experiment with that, but I am afraid of getting a “hard boot” if I ask any ladies to show me their Control, Alt, and Delete buttons.
It does give us the name of the perpetrator, one Dr. V. B. Chrane, a former chiropractor who invented Alphabiotics in the 1920s.
Seriously, this site is worth reading if only for seeing how little information can be dished out in so many pages, while using as many New Age catch phrases as possible. Clicking on subject headings such as “What it is…” or “How it’s done…” reveal nothing but more ramblings about how wonderful the whole process is.
But not to worry. We are assured that it is helpful “…because the cold light of science has overwhelmingly confirmed its value.” Well, that’s better than the warm hands of a trained medical professional I guess.
Some aspects of the practice can be found in the contents of a lawsuit heard in the Washington State Court of Appeals involving a former chiropractor charged with unprofessional conduct. It seems that Alphabiotics is an outgrowth of chiropractic, but manipulates only the neck. A technique used is known as the condyle lift, and even to this non-physician the procedure sounds rather frightening. For the uninitiated, and those who took high school biology far too long ago, the condyle is the point at the base of the skull which articulates with the vertebral column. Imagine lifting the skull away from your patient’s neck, turning it sharply… on second thought, I would rather not imagine it.
Here is what the commission had to say; “The Commission finds that the Chrane condyle lift is a useful but potentially dangerous chiropractic adjustment, and that one of the significant risks of the Crane condyle lift is dissection of vertebral arteries and resulting stroke. . . .” There you have it folks, it’s dangerous, and is being done by people with little or no real medical training.
The commission also discovered that Alphabiotics is claimed as a religion by its adherents, as the “Alphabiotic New Life Church”, and they have claimed that this gives them the right to give treatment as part of the free exercise of religion. Patients were given forms to sign which seemed to be only a standard medical form, but was actually a church membership form. Significantly, the commission found that “Free exercise of religion includes both the freedom to believe and the freedom to act. While the former is absolute, the latter is not. An individual’s conduct is subject to regulation for society’s protection.…”
The core beliefs of Alphabiotics are still somewhat of a mystery however. I don’t know how many people have ever taken such training, but if there were many I would expect someone to spill the beans and write up a more informative diatribe than anything I have been able to turn up so far. The web seems singularly devoid of details. Maybe I should take a course myself just to find out, but my astrologer tells me that this isn’t a good time and my homeopath said it doesn’t work. There’s some expert advice for you!