Update: Intro, and Book Review Part A, Fibromyalgia Mystery Still Unsolved, or The Debunking of the Fibromyalgia Relief Centers and Paul Whitcomb, DC

This post was originally published on 4/5/08. I was just responding to recent a comment to it and decided to check its links. I saw that there is at least one important dead link, so I'm updating the post and re-publishing it.

The Whitcomb series have been ever popular on my blog (check the sidebar for titles and links to all of them). I was just checking the stats for this particular post on statcounter.com, and I see that someone has visited it 212 times. That seems a little odd to me. Anyone have any ideas for me on that?

Anyway, on with the update. Any changes I've made are in green italics.


"Silence is fraud's best friend. Word of mouth is fraud's worst enemy. Pass the word!" Fraud Aid

Let me say this first and foremost: There is no cure for Fibromyalgia. If there were a cure for Fibromyalgia I would know about it.

There. Is. No. Cure.


Why, you might ask, am I doing this? I'm really tired of Dr. Whitcomb's holdings (book, website) coming up when I do a legitimate search on just about anything to do with Fibromyalgia. And now I'm actually getting email from well meaning friends and acquaintances, like this:

Subject: Fibromyalgia diag.&cure-really!

I stumbled upon the Dr. that figured out what fibromyalgia is and has learned to test for it and treat it and give folks their lives back. I got the testing which relieved me from virtually all my "phantom pain" and got up and walked around in a straight up position. Realized later as I watched others getting the test that I was also sitting up straight in my wheelchair. I sat about 3 feet away from the goings on and saw weary faces lie down and get up smiling and with some color in their faces and the tiredness was completely eased. This test helps temporarily. One needs to go in for 3 times a day 6 days a week for up to 8-10 weeks. The therapy is different than the test. I think you and I got jarred something fierce when that rope swing broke when we were swinging double. In other words, I think our necks got misaligned and we have suffered all these years, gradually getting worse, spending most of our time in bed. There is a lot of information your can look up on: stopfibro.com. Dr. Paul Whitcomb had it himself and knows what a debilitating disease this is. It has to do with choking off of the menegis that surround the nerves that go thru the neck making the nerves misfire, telling you that you hurt in places that you regular doctor tells you nothing is wrong with. I will try to get these treatments when I can, but I can tell you that just from the test I feel like I have a large portion of my life back. Let me know what you think when you read up on the at the above website.
I'm doing this blog post (the first in a series) so there will be some truth to the hype on the internet, available to anyone who takes the precaution of doing a search on the person (Paul Whitcomb, DC), book (Fibromyalgia: Finally Solving the mystery), or business (Fibromyalgia Relief Centers) in question. The email above, and the fact that now I'm reading about people who say they have been bankupted and/or made worse off physically than they were before they began "The Whictomb Method", inspired me to take this on.

I first became aware of Dr. Whitcomb through a co-worker on The Million Letter Campaign of 2005. She was sending Dr. Whitcomb’s info around, spreading the word that he would like to come to support group meetings around the country to speak about FM. I googled him and found his website for The Fibromyalgia Relief Centers. My big clue came as soon as I read that he had a "cure" for FM. (I notice he doesn't make that claim on his website anymore. Probably how he avoids being convicted of fraud. But more on that aspect later.) I would know if there was a cure. There was no cure then and there is no cure now. At this point in time I don't trust anyone who says there is. I told my co-worker about my doubts, and as I recall, she pooh-poohed them. She learned better later, but that's a whole different story. She was looking hard for a spokesperson for FM and I guess her hopes for Dr. W to be that person overshadowed her common sense.

Where to begin? Let me start with the book. The picture on the cover is really nice. One of the best pictures of fascia I've ever seen. (Aside: except for this one - look out, this picture is rather graphic!)

On the back of the book is a review by Ellen Tanner Marsh, "bestselling NY Times author."

The book review is also posted on Whitcomb’s website here. You should go there and read it now.
{The review is no longer posted on Whitcomb's site. Nor is he selling the book on his site, and Amazon has only copies sold by outside sellers. Anyone have any idea why the cheapest copy is $37.86??? I saved a copy of the review and you can now see it here.}


Isn't that special?

A cursory search on “New York Times best-selling author Ellen Tanner Marsh” reveals - she writes fiction!!! Her "NYT best-selling author"status comes from two paperback romance novels in the 80's. (Correction: she wrote more books than that. Go here if you want to see them.) And that's not even the best part. The best part is that she's employed by BookSurge (which is a vanity press now a subsidiary of amazon.com, for amateur writers who want to see their manuscripts in print; it's a relatively new service in the digital age, also called "books-on-demand" or "print-on-demand"). Ms. Tanner is paid by BookSurge to write reviews of the books they publish; BookSurge is paid $399.00 by the author of the book being reviewed by Ms. Tanner.

Ms. Tanner is said to be an especially prolific paid reviewer. And she is expert enough to write reviews for books on everything from The Last Voyage of the Cosmic Muffin to The Beer Drinkers "Diet". Ms. Tanner writes gushingly positive reviews of books for BookSurge…check these sites for details:

Ellen Tanner Marsh's Paid-For Blurbs Are Scintillating and Will Leave You Floored, in Gawker.com, and

Raves for Sale, by Bonnie Goldstein for Slate on 1/19/07.

For $399 Ellen Tanner Marsh will like your book


Pretty unbelieveable , huh? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I have so much more information on this topic that I'm going to give it a dedicated group of web pages called "Quackery", on TheICIExperience.org. And I'm going to open up the comments section of this blog post to anyone who wants to post a negative review of Whitcomb's book on Amazon. Because there's a funny thing that happens to negative reviews of this book on Amazon: they disappear. At the request of the author of the book. I've been watching this happen for literally years.

Today, April 5, I posted the message below on amazon.com under the "Create Your Own Review" section of the book "Fibromyalgia: Finally Solving the Mystery."

Subject: Post your negative reviews of this book/website/chiropractor on my blog
and I promise it will not "disappear."

Post your negative reviews to www dot theiciexperience dot blogger dot com//2008/03/fibromyalgia-mystery-still-unsolved-or.html

Read the first part of my review of this book at the same address, above.

Tags: Fibromyalgia: Finally Solving the Mystery, Dr. Paul E. Whitcomb, Dr. Paul Whitcomb, Paul E. Whitcomb DC, Paul Whitcomb DC, The Fibromyalgia Relief Centers, The Whitcomb Method

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to voice our opinions about Dr. Whitcomb and The Fibromyalgia Relief Center. I was at the clinic this time last year and have kept in touch with my fellow patients. Most of us did improve, but relapsed after returning home (myself included). This has been a heartbreaking experience for me and many others whom I come to know and can call friends. Not only did we spend a small fortune ($3,500 a month w/o room and board),but we lost the hope of being "cured".
    Originally, what convinced me to go to his clinic were the testimonials on his website. Little did I know that if those patients had given their testimonial 3 months after leaving it would have been a completely different story. Some of us have asked for our testimonials to be removed, but I know of many others who are still on the website and they are still very sick. Dr. Whitcomb is aware of this, yet he doesn't have a problem with this "false" advertising.
    I will forward this blog to my "fibro friends" from Lake Tahoe.
    Thanks again...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for outing someone who is stretching truth. I removed from my blog several months ago a mention of the method when Robin asked me to. We all need to be very careful not to mislead or maybe even state facts in such a way that could cause harm. Thanks for the reminder. I do, however, totally believe in healing and wellness!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hmmm. Not sure what you mean by "We all need to be very careful not to mislead or maybe even state facts in such a way that could cause harm.", Robin, but thanks for the comment. I'm also wondering who is the Robin you refer to? The Robin in the previous comment, or is that name coincidentally the same as the one you refer to?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oops, sorry - that last comment was for Deb. Nothing like confusing the names even more...

    I also meant to say to Deb and everyone that I don't think Whitcomb is "stretching the truth." I think he has gone beyond stretching and right into breaking. I think that's a much more accurate description; he has broken the truth.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi sherril,
    I have a blog, and I posted a testimonial given by "robin" in a youtube video. She seemed real and sincere in her advocacy of Whitcomb as a fibro client of his. She asked me to remove the video with no explanation and no way for me to contact her, but I did anyway, assuming again she was the same robin, and a real client, who was changing her mind over time about the method. I even contacted the whitcomb people through their youtube profile with an inquiry and was given the run around. I am not sure whether it's the same robin above or not, could be a coincidence. Anyway, your post really was a good reminder that I need to be cautious about posting something, anything, as "truth" because of how open to fraud the internet can be. Opinion is fine, posting information is fine, but labeling it as fact or absolute might not be wise on my part! I strive not to do that, and I hope the whitcomb video of robin I posted did not cause anyone harm. That's the long version of what I was trying to say above! So I'm glad I stopped by your blog today! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks very much for the clarification.

    I am hearing that many people have asked Whitcomb to remove their video testimonials from his website after they got home and whatever good effects they might have felt at the end of the treatment wore off. I'd bet that your temporary posting of the video by Robin didn't do any harm. But looking at the many testimonials on the FM Relief Centers' website does plenty of damage in reeling new people in to the center.

    Thanks again for your comments!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was confused by Deb's comment as well, but thanks for clarifying!
    Yes, I did ask to have my testimonial removed from a website so I guess I am the same Robin! Sorry - I thought I left my e-mail address. I agree that one testimonial wouldn't be too convincing, but all the testimonials on www.stopfibro.com certainly are! They reeled me in!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Here's a quote from the FDA on how to spot health fraud:

    How To Spot Health Fraud, http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/1999/699_fraud.html

    "Personal testimonies can tip you off to health fraud because they are difficult to prove. Often, says Reynaldo Rodriguez, a compliance officer and health fraud coordinator for FDA's Dallas district office, testimonials are personal case histories that have been passed on from person to person. Or, the testimony can be completely made up. "This is the weakest form of scientific validity," Rodriguez says. "It's just compounded hearsay." Some patients' favorable experiences with a fraudulent product may be due more to a remission in their disease or from earlier or concurrent use of approved medical treatments, rather than use of the fraudulent product itself."

    Compounded hearsay. That sums it up pretty well. As of 4/9/08 there were 172 videotaped personal testimonies on the Whitcomb's site. This is the only form of validation of Whitcomb or his method that I could find, and as the FDA says, this is the weakest form of scientific validity.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Most of my group has relapsed. I had recovery for only 4 weeks once I returned home and following all of Dr. Whitcomb's instructions. $$$ signs are his priority, don't waste your time money, it's not worth the risk. I am worse now then I was before going out to see him. Ask yourselves this question...Where are the testimonials of patients post treatment at 3mo.,6mo.,or even a year?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Excellent observation about the testimonials. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am a former patient of Dr. Whitcombs and believe in his methods unlike many of you. I do have the good fotune to get follow up treatment if needed but the brunt of my symptoms have been gone since my treatment ended almost a year ago. My life has been improved consierably. In my time there and since (follow up treatment) I have seen absolute miracles! His treatments have never been guaranteed and it does not work for everyone. I just like many other people, have been told that it's a chance I take and IT is worth the risk. I have definately seen patients that did not fully recover and some who's lives have been changed. Follow up treatment and adjustments are a must. Lifestyle changes are a must.
    He was and is a caring compassionate man and only wants to help people, he is not out for the money. He struggles just like the rest of us. It is not an act and he wants nothing more than to cure people, but at the least, improve their lives.
    It makes me very sad when I hear that someone has not been helped, and I do have my set backs depending on what I have done. I had all bad days before FMRC and now my good days out weight my bad ones by far and I know many others who feel the same.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Unfortunately, you are one of the very few.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was in a car accident, received neck surgery, nerve damage and ongoing chronic pain. Since then, my condition has worsened. Prior to this, I was healthy, happy, fishing in our boat etc. Now I have Fibromyalsia (it is NOT in my head, it is all over my body) there are days I don't know that I will make it. With the chronic pain and the FM, I feel at times that I can't go on. ANY one who feels this disease is without merit, or “in our head” should read more information. Most times, it is caused by a precipitating event, an injury etc. For doctors like this and Dr. Dr. Scherger their explanations are infuriating to me, I can't sleep, cry myself to sleep and suffer from pain that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Please, physicians, if you are going to treat those of us suffering with this illness, please take the time to educate yourself...we have and we're the patients suffering.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You're a better person than I. I wish my pain on several people who prefer to discount the fact than I'm really sick. I've given up on Dr. Scherger. He's incorrigible.

    Thank you for commenting, and I hope you are able to find some relief.

    ReplyDelete
  15. There should be a special place in a future existance to put people who prey on the folks who live with chronic pain. No need for us to wish for/against. Karma or whatever always seems
    to see that these things eventually balance out.
    I have dealt with all sorts of fiends over the past umpteen years I have had fibro and been told I was "hysterical" all the way to "you will die in 6 weeks" (that was 25+ yrs ago). Yet I am still here and I still have this disease. Fredia
    Kalo said it best " burn my body when I die so I will not have to lie in this Judas body for eternity!" amen sister. There had better be something special for those of us who have borne
    the pain w/o escape.

    ReplyDelete
  16. my wife nearly fell for the miracle cure we live in the uk and there is no miracle cure over here in england, i got curious as to why there was only one doctor on the whole of the internet claiming to be able to cure fibromyalgia, and started searching up on my curiosity, i am so glad we found your site and it stopped us having false hope thanks Andy wales UK

    ReplyDelete
  17. Andy,

    You're welcome. People like you make worthwhile all the time I spend researching Whitcomb and connecting the dots.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I fell for it, I wanted to feel better so bad. I was so sick. I just felt iminent doom if I did not do something. He claimed that he had Fibro and he seemed fine, he would always talk about lifting weights and I kept asking him if we would end up being able to do everything he was able to do. He would never answer me. Then
    I found out durring my treatment (if you can call it that) that Dr. Whitcomb and one of his patient reps had a procedure done call Atlas Profilax. And that is why his answer when you ask him how he got "cured" he will tell you a cockamamie story about having some other people work on him and he just eventually got better. He is all about money. If he was only concerned about helping people but had to make a living, he could charge a one time fee instead of charging you until you are so broke you can't afford to get home. There is a special place for people like him. It's called HELL!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm sorry you had to go through that in addition to being ill.

    My guess about Whitcomb having FM is that he doesn't and never has. He probably decided to copy doctors like Tietelbaum and Pelligrino, hoping it would help him to boost sales.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You have a very interesting and informative site. Great job on doing a well presented and detailed post. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Sherril!! I have awarded you The Permio Dardos award, stop by and pick it up!!!!!! You deserve it and every other award out there in my opinion. Keep up your hard work!!!

    Shauna <3

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you so much, Shauna and Pia. And thank you for the award, Shauna. I'll pick it up asap.

    ReplyDelete

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