Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Magic Wands for Pain Relief

By Peter Bowditch

Sometimes an easy solution to pain is one of those things that looks too good to be true. And is.

Peter Bowditch is a former President of Australian Skeptics Inc. (

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Current affairs shows have a long tradition of promoting “scientific” breakthroughs that owe little to science and a lot to the entrepreneurial spirit of inventors and promoters. They are where you go to hear about the latest gadget or additive to increase the mileage of your car or to save lots of money by reducing or even eliminating your electricity bill.

For respite from these perpetual motion machines we get medical devices that cause wondrous changes to the body and increase health and wellness. A recent example was the $60 rubber band that supposedly improved strength and balance.

The next fad seemed to be hand-held devices to rub on the body, at least three of which have recently been given extensive and uncritical advertising. Let’s look first at what these devices have in common before we consider their differences.

All of them are a little larger than a mobile phone. All claim to work by doing something to nerves or nerve cells. All are backed by many testimonials from satisfied customers. But none have any actual scientific research or even scientific plausibility. Two of them claimed to have listing as approved medical devices with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and the third was pending. All of them are promoted to professional healers who then charge patients for treatment. All of them are sold as safe and effective...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.