Woo at work – Holistic Therapies
Do you have any woo at your place of work ?
Well last week was an interesting one at work for a number of reasons but the most intriguing thing came from our HR department. They publish a quarterly newsletter with all sorts of company goings on therein and in previous newsletters there has been a small mention of ‘holistic therapies’ provided by an external contractor. This time however this practitioner gets a full page. Now I’ll say up front that I don’t know who has written this page. It could be someone in HR or it could have been penned by the practitioner themselves and then passed on to the newletter compiler. I haven’t asked which of these it is yet. Now obviously that would seem like one of the first questions one should ask but I’ve held off because the actual article raised some important questions that I’d like some help in answering and I have some observations I’d like to share with you.
Below you can see a copy of the page with the names removed to protect the guilty.
The first thing involves the practitioner’s application of Therapeutic Touch or Reiki ‘energy work’. We know that Reiki and its variants has been thoroughly debunked by such luminaries as Emily Rosa. She was 11 years old when her study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and it still amazes me that people aren’t aware of this data. So this is something that needs to be challenged as it is being promoted as a respectable and effective therapeutic intervention.
I’m not going to link to his website yet but when you look at this chap’s site there is a fair bit of reasonably low level woo there. I’ll point out that most of the stuff he does is pretty straight forward massage which is a lovely thing to have done to you so no problems with that. And in the newsletter there are several sensible suggestions for reducing your stress levels which are entirely reasonable, obvious and involve no woo whatsoever. However these entirely reasonable practices are coupled to the woo of Reiki in a way that claims a causal relationship.
The problem I have with this one is how to tackle it. How to effectively challenge the seeming tacit company endorsement of outright woo ? I’d also like to come across as a reasonable person rather than a frothing loon out to spoil the fun for everyone. Especially as the practitioner is playing the very effective affable ignorance card along with the argument from authority gambit. Which means that he appears to be saying that he has no clue what this is or how it works is but seeing as he’s claiming to be a physicist you’d better trust him anyway. And I’d also quite like to avoid being sacked of course.
I think that the company are just unaware that this is woo and I get a reasonably strong impression that this chap is sincere and genuine but deluded. So is this even worth going into ?
Anyway, have a read and let me know your views and if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them. And if you’ve encountered any woo at work let us know.