Sunday, April 27, 2008

Please - help keep any more people with FM from being conned into bankruptcy or worse

"Fraud is deliberate misrepresentation. Quackery, as we define it, involves the promotion of unsubstantiated methods that lack a scientifically plausible rationale."

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Board Chairman, Quackwatch, Inc.

I am writing this series of blog posts on chiropractic and quackery because it is inconceivable to me that Paul Whitcomb continues to be allowed to be paid to practice chiropractic medicine on people with Fibromyalgia while his patients/victims are becoming bankrupt, their families are falling apart, and their health is no better, and in many cases it is worse than it was before they laid their life savings out for “the cure” to Fibromyalgia, a.k.a. "The Whitcomb Method."

This can be stopped. We can stop it. All it takes is awareness. While it may be obvious to you and I that The Whitcomb Method is a scam, to others it sounds like the cure they’ve been hoping and praying for. I hope you will help me create the simple awareness it will take to stop this guy, by mentioning this series to your own readers if you have a blog or website or by doing your own research and writing your own blog post or article, or by telling everyone you know with Fibromyalgia about it, before Whitcomb makes enough money to retire comfortably and does so.

Worried about retaliation? Check out these Tips for Activists on Fighting Quackery.

I've been studying up on how it can be that Whitcomb remains in business as the years continue to pass, and I think I'm beginning to have a some clues.

What's in this post:

  • Explanation of why I'm taking this mission upon myself
  • Overview of how Whitcomb stays in business
  • What the Better Business Bureau says about it
  • What the National Fibromyalgia Association says about it
  • What immunesupport.com says about it

Explanation of why I'm taking this mission upon myself

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. This has been happening for several years now. It seems unbelievable, but currently you have to look really hard to find anything negative online about Whitcomb. (More on why that could be, later.) I'm doing this 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), the book (Fibromyalgia: Finally Solving the mystery), or the business (Fibromyalgia Relief Centers) in question.

I got motivated to take this on now by an email I received last month from a friend of my mom's who also has FM. This is what the mail said:

"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."

Shades of snake oil salesmen* from the past!

When I first read this email I thought it was one that was making the rounds and that the friend was just forwarding it to me. Then I got to looking at it a little closer I began to wonder if she had actually written it in the first person. I asked her if she had and this was her response:
"I saw {to protect the friend I have removed all info that could be used to track this person's identity). They said Dr. Whitcomb would be at an address on {location and time} that day. So I went. He "tested" about twenty people. I was number 4. I am still enjoying relief from my "phantom" pains. I don't have that tired look in my eyes anymore, I sit up straight again and walk up straight again. I can bend my knees to pick up stuff now when I used to do it straight legged. I can walk a lot farther than I have in years, however, if I walk too much my bone on bone in the knees and some arthritis kicks in. My lower back pain is all but gone. And this was only from the "test". They say the treatments are 3 a day 6 days a week for about 8 - 10 weeks. There were two ladies that he had treated that came along to give their testimonies and they are both bouncing right straight up and down. Both were more incapacitated than I. So far what I was helped with hasn't returned but they said the symptoms would most likely return. If I don't pursue the treatments, I am still allowed the freedom from most of my pain and I can function decidedly better. I plan to go to {location} next month."
The sentence in red is what anyone who is knowledgeable in legitimate chiropractic care would refer to as "excessive chiropractic care." The better to take you for all you have in the fastest way possible. More on that later.

Overview of how Whitcomb stays in business

  • The chiropractic boards that investigate complaints about chiropractors almost never interfere with the chiropractic practices in question.
  • Sleight of hand tricks like being an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau when the BBB does not ever handle complaints involving professional services conducted by health care professionals. They leave that to the government agency with specific expertise in chiropractic. Yeah, that would be the state chiropractic board. The one that almost never interferes (see above).
  • He leans heavily on personal testimonial as proof of the efficacy of the treatment, which is difficult to prove.
I'll go into details on all of the above and more in future posts. For now:

What does the Better Business Bureau say about Whitcomb and the FM Relief Centers?

Reno BBB Reliability Report for Fibromyalgia Relief Center

Yes, Whitcomb's Fibromyalgia Relief Center is accredited with the BBB and has been since 2/2007. Here's what they have to say about him:
BBB Accreditation Status
This company has been a BBB Accredited business since February 2007. This means it supports the BBB's services to the public and meets our BBB Accreditation standards.

Program Participation
This company participates in the BBB Accreditation Identification Program and has agreed to use special procedures including arbitration, if necessary, to resolve disputes.

Customer Experience
Based on BBB files, this company has a satisfactory record with the BBB.
A satisfactory record means a company has been in business for at least 12 months, and properly addressed matters referred by the BBB. The company does not have an unusual volume of complaints, or any government actions involving its marketplace conduct. The BBB understands and has no concerns about the company's products, services and type of business.
The BBB processed a total of 0 complaints about this company in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period.

Report as of April 21, 2008
Copyright© 2008 BBB®, Inc.
That sounds all good, right? It does until you read the fine print in the BBB Complaint Acceptance Guidelines.

Complaint Acceptance Guidelines

  • BBB will not process anonymous complaints.
  • Complaints must include a company name and sufficient information to forward the complaint to the company.
  • The complaint must involve a consumer-to-business or business-to-business transaction that relates to the advertisement or sale of a product or service.
  • Some types of complaints are more effectively handled by government agencies with specific expertise, or the legal system. Therefore, BBB generally does not handle complaints involving:
    • employment practices
    • allegations of discrimination or violation of statutory/constitutional rights
    • the professional services or procedures conducted by health care professionals, lawyers, etc. However BBB DOES handle complaints concerning billing practices for services or procedures
    • a request that BBB engage in debt collection activities
    • matters which are or have previously been in litigation

In English that means they don't take complaints about the services of doctors, chiropractic or otherwise. But they will nonetheless accredit them. If you have a complaint about billing, by all means report it to the BBB.

To file a complaint with the Reno BBB click here.

What the National Fibromyalgia Association Says About The Whitcomb Method:

'C' (as in "cure", not "cancer") Word Raises Red Flags: National Fibromyalgia Association Founder Says She's Heard About 'Cures' Before

By Gregory Crofton
Tahoe Daily Tribune

Paul Whitcomb, a South Lake Tahoe chiropractor, believes he has found a cure for fibromyalgia, a disease that hypersensitizes the nervous system and causes debilitating pain in millions of Americans, most of whom are women. He says his repeated neck adjustments realign the top vertebra of the spine and allow 95 percent of his fibromyalgia patients to get well. Experts on the illness and its leading researcher in the country are skeptical of this claim. They did not dismiss it altogether, but say controlled studies would be needed to prove it.

"When I hear this red flags go up all over the place," said Lynne Matallana, president of the National Fibromyalgia Association. "You start using the 'c' word and I get very nervous. As far as we know there isn't a cure yet."
Excerpted from Source: http://www.tahoedailytribune.com. © Copyright 2005 tahoedailytribune.com

What immunesupport.com says about it:

Letters From Our Readers - Diagnosis and Treatment Issues 01-10-2007

Dr. Whitcomb’s Treatment Protocol

I've recently been looking into a program for curing or helping Fibromyalgia, which is done in Lake Tahoe by Dr. Paul Whitcomb. I'm sure you have heard about it because you had an article in 2005 talking about it. There seems to be a lot of people who are getting better. Have you heard something negative about this program/procedure that you do not mention it as a possible solution to Fibromyalgia? - Judy

Note: First, it is always wise to question any treatment that claims to ‘cure’ Fibromyalgia. While some treatments may help a number of people, no treatment has yet been proven beneficial for all FM patients. Dr. Whitcomb’s treatment seems to focus on treating upper cervical spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal column), which has several symptoms similar to Fibromyalgia. If an FM patient has upper cervical spinal stenosis, this treatment may very well be helpful. However, before considering this expensive and time-consuming treatment, it is important to make sure you have this particular problem. Your doctor can determine whether you have upper cervical spinal stenosis through a combination of medical history, a physical exam and one or more tests, such as: X-ray, MRI, CAT scan, myelogram, or bone scan.

The Bottom Line

Remember that in matters of health there should be no tolerance for deception. Your effort in opposing quackery may save many people from being hurt—and may even save a life!

Dr. Stephen Barrett
Quackwatch Founder
Quackwatch is a website that was created by Stephen Barrett, M.D., a retired psychiatrist who now serves as Vice President of the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), a private nonprofit, voluntary health agency that focuses upon health misinformation, fraud, and quackery as public health problems.

Other posts on this topic:

Intro to The ICIE Blog Series on Paul Whitcomb, D.C. and the Fibromyalgia Relief Centers, and Book Review Part 1

*definition of snake oil salesman, from wikipedia - The snake oil peddler became a stock character in Western movies: a travelling "doctor" with dubious credentials, selling some medicine (such as snake oil) with boisterous marketing hype, often supported by pseudo-scientific evidence, typically bogus. To enhance sales, an accomplice in the crowd (a "shill") would often "attest" the value of the product in an effort to provoke buying enthusiasm. The "doctor" would prudently leave town before his customers realized that they had been cheated. This practice is also called "grifting" and its practitioners "grifters".

The practice of selling dubious remedies for real (or imagined) ailments still occurs today, albeit with some updated marketing techniques. Claims of cures for chronic diseases for which there are reputedly only symptomatic treatments available from mainstream medicine, are especially common. The term snake oil peddling is used as a derogatory term to describe such practices.

To be continued.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Paul Whitcomb on Google

I've been googling Whitcomb regularly since I decided to write about him. (P. Whitcomb the D.C., not to be confused with the Paul Whitcomb who writes about Catholicism.) I keep seeing this item on the first Google page:

Amazon.com: dr paul whitcomb
A community about dr paul whitcomb. Tag and discover new products. Share your images and discuss your questions with dr paul whitcomb experts.
www.amazon.com/tag/dr%20paul%20whitcomb - 155k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this
More results from www.amazon.com »

So I would go there and there would be nothing but four books, three of which were on FM but not by Whitcomb. So today I started a discussion in this Whitcomb community/forum, put my whole Part A book review in as a discussion post, and voted to remove the other three books because they have nothing to do with Whitcomb. More smoke screen from his followers would be my guess.

So we'll see what happens on that. At least it got an item with the truth in it into the first page of Google.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My View on "The View" and Elisabeth Hasselbeck on ABC

I just submitted this comment to ABC RE: The View and Elisabeth Hasselbeck:
I am finding Elizabeth so annoying and rude that I have to mute the TV while she is "sharing" her views. More like she's stuffing them down everyone's throat. The way she walks all over others who do not share her opinion is just downright rude. She interrupts and tries to talk louder than others as if that will make her point. I would really like to be able to watch all of these ladies having respectful discourse. Elizabeth is just ruining the whole experience for me. Can someone not tell her to put a sock in it?

Thank you.

On the website her bio says "In November 2003, Elisabeth Hasselbeck was selected out of hundreds of contenders to permanently fill a vacant co-host chair on ABC's The View. Unafraid to express her candid and conservative views, Mrs. Hasselbeck has proven herself as a woman who will not let her voice be compromised."

Unafraid and uncompromised. What a nice way to say she's a verbal bully. She didn't used to be like that. The whole thing with Rosie O'Donnell seems to have changed her permanently. And not in a good way. Conservative is not necessarily synonymous with obnoxious.

I'm not the only one who feels this way. I swear when Nancy Pelosi was on she cringed at Elisabeth's first words. All of the co-hosts seem aggravated when she walks on their efforts to share their views. Except for Barbara. She doesn't do it to Barbara.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Big Changes

I've grown weary of trying to figure out how to fit pictures into my blog's layout. So I changed it. This one is called "Simple II". Don't know what Simple I was, but this should work for me. All the stuff that was in the sidebar is at the very end now.

Speaking of pictures, I've been looking for a way to do mosaics for awhile now, and finally found it at fd's (as in flagrant disregard's) flickr toys. Too cool.

I am in the process of transferring most of my links from here to The ICIExperience.org website. The result should be a much better organized, easier to navigate internet experience while visiting me & my pages.

Thanks for your patience!


Verbal Abuse Update

The post I did on verbal abuse for Blog Catalog's Blogging Against Abuse challenge last September is still getting regular hits, so I thought I
would post an update to some of what's going on in the relatively new field of the study of verbal abuse.

There's this tiny link on the verbalabuse.com home page, to this fantastic essay from the St. Petersburg Times called "Life: The lies that bind."

Oh. My. God. Bad enough to have been raised by a verbally abusive father who can get under your skin and does so knowingly. I had this epiphany when I was in my early thirties, I think. Can you imagine having it when you were seven? And this father takes it a step further... by ramming it home to his little girl in no uncertain terms in the middle of the night, along with the crystal clear message that he thinks she is stupid and worthless. Seven years old. Oh My God. I pray for the children. I pray for the inner child in all of us, even the abusers.

I haven't mentioned The Zero before. It's Andrew Vachss' website. He's a lawyer and author. He's also a leader and a warrior in the anti child abuse movement. He's awesome. The website's 10th anniversary was in 2006.

"I am an unrealistically optimistic person, so I surprise myself by closing on a sad note. Amid all of this self-congratulation for The Zero, I know that so far we have failed. Kids are still not safe. When more people care about cruelty against animals than cruelty toward kids, we have failed. When the National Rifle Association has more money and more members than PROTECT, we have failed. When the most dangerous place for children is their own homes, we have failed. I am glad The Zero exists, but I love it less for what it is than for what it will be."

The Zero to Me: 10 Years Down and a Lifetime to Go
Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP

Mr. Vachss' opinion of CASA:

Nutley, NJ: How effective do you feel CASA programs are and why would its existence be unwelcome in any particular County. I'm interested in helping to establish this program in Passaic County. Your comments are welcome!

Andrew Vachss: CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, evokes two separate feelings in me. When CASA volunteers are used as ADJUNCTS in the representation of a child, I couldn't be more supportive. However, in jurisdictions where CASAs are used INSTEAD OF legal representation for a child, I think this is a pernicious denial of due process for children. The idea that a warm, caring volunteer could "represent" a child who has putatively been abused by adults, who are themselves going to be represented by actual attorneys is, to me, a replication of the child's situation in his or her own home. That is, not a fair fight.

Pain Management: Andrew Vachss
Chat Transcript
Online chat at USATODAY.com, October 4, 2001



The Official Website of Andrew Vachss

Here are some excerpts from Patricia Evans' latest e-newsletter. I don't see a direct link to the newsletter on her site so I'm reproducing it here, along with the link to sign up for it yourself at the end:

INMATES BECOME AWARE! And UpcomingWorkshop.

This is our 8th Newsletter. Please feel free to forward it to your friends.

I hope you find this newsletter most interesting, because, besides the workshop reminder, I have taken excerpts from letters from one California Prison, where men are waking up to what they've done and what's gone wrong.

Information about my spring workshop/retreat Clarity '08 is at this URL http://www.patriciaevans.com/workshop.html

If you can come, it would be great! :):) I am there the whole time talking a lot. You will meet the coolest women who also share a lot, (but no one has to talk unless they want to). It's an opportunity that only comes once a year-to be in a room with women who are just like you-conscious, smart, capable and wanting to see the world awaken to its better potential. I'll be bringing you new healing techniques and insights. Networking opportunities and a networking table will also be available. Please call me at 925 934 5972 with any questions or thoughts.

Please NOTE: Starting this year, all Clarity '08 information will only be sent via e-mail newsletters and via my websites VerbalAbuse.com and PatriciaEvans.com Please feel free to send this on to your mailing lists and to anyone you think would be interested.

It seems to me that people can become aware of what is true and what is not, of their own purpose and value by understanding what has happened to them and why it has happened, and, most importantly, why, no matter what they say or do, they cannot always gain love and acceptance from certain others.

Usually people who have grown up in a world where people have attempted to control them by defining them or threatening them, or using them, or abusing them, need to understand what is wrong with the controlling person or persons around them. They need this before they can love and accept themselves.

Seldom has this point been made more clearly than by the words of some young men in a California prison. I heard from two of them recently, while they told me of others with whom they were sharing their enlightenment. These young men had possessed intelligence and gifts that gave promise to themselves and to the world. But this promise had not been realized because they had not realized what had happened to them, nor of the malignant influences around them, and so they found themselves seeking relief by self-medicating- i.e. using drugs that led them to their incarceration.

I will not use their names although they said I could. One of them reached me by phone. He told me he had sent a letter and that he and five other inmates were reading "Controlling People" and becoming aware, inspired and motivated.

Here is what he told me, stating, "I-hereby authorize and sanction this letter to be publicized if Patricia Evans wishes to do so." and so he signed it.

Referring to the disconnection, I describe in the book, and the identity that is built backwards from the outside in, the first young man wrote, in beautifully uniform print, this excerpt:

"These confinements are plagued with amoral people who have been built backwards. All of whom seem to be content with their "disconnectedness." Thanks to your doctrine (book) I am now able to recognize the undercurrent of "control" as it subtly and relentlessly permeates these institutions; possessing many inmates to execute heartless actions that are unfathamable to the common folk. Patricia, your concepts are totally therapeutic. I have read and reread your book "Controlling People" and each time I study it, I become more and more enlightened- oftentimes I find myself pondering over your teachings and the end result is I have remedied my distorted views and purged my dysfunctional train of thought and outrageous expectations. I have introduced your doctrine to my associate and together we have set out to effect betterment amongst the inmates so we can hopefully achieve our ultimate goal which is to facilitate peace and harmony throughout the penal system. Advancement demands change! We are diligently advocating your doctrine and actively promoting your book far and wide. I feel indebted to you for opening my eyes to a better reality."

He went on to say, that as a 26 yr old he did not make a conscious decision to lead a lawless life and walk a socially unacceptable path, rather he said "I was naïve and unable to recognize the deceptive welcoming into this lifestyle for what it was."

There was more to his letter, but now an excerpt from another inmate who has studied my book along with others at the prison.

He stated: "I authorize you to publish any portion of this letter if you want" and so he signed it.

"-I'm a 36 year old intellectual who has read many self help books. I've also done work with- Nothing I've read or studied has opened my mind and broadened my perspective of my life. Your book has reconnected me to myself. I have a totally new way of thinking. I'm indebted to you. I am now connected to my compelling force. Your book has made me realize I was in a totally discombobulated state of mind."

I also want to note that I received another letter at the same time from another young man. He was not in prison nor ever had been in one, but his words again exemplified the impact of understanding the concepts in "Controlling People." He wrote a long and eloquent letter, here is some of it:

"You have shown me how to break the spell for myself.-Thank you for showing me how to use these tools which have allowed me to save myself. The anxiety, which had plagued me for so many years, a physical manifestation of my inner confusion and fear is gone. I feel stronger with each day and can honestly say that I feel happy, despite whatever events may occur in the outer world. I'm happy inside, because I am at peace. I can feel who I am. Those deep questions, that probing of others for answers, which only I can provide, are resolved. I wake up, and my smile shines from the inside. Please, do keep writing."

With warm regards,

Patricia Evans
EICI, Inc.
email: evansbooks@aol.com
web: http://www.VerbalAbuse.com
So. Maybe there is hope for the abusers.

Sign up to receive Patricia Evans' newsletter here.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Chronic Saturday: Reaction of a "SiCKO" to the movie "SiCKO"

I just recently watched the movie SiCKO. It really hit home with me, and not in a good way. My first reaction was disgust in and embarrassment over our health care system in America. I mean, I was so upset I had to turn the movie off and wait a day to finish watching it. Then my reaction was desperation: "I've got to move. Canada's closer, but France (could I tolerate their rudeness to Americans?)... whoa, their health care system is awesome." Desperation because I'm one of the millions in America who are unable to work and waiting for our request for SSDI to be approved while our health continues to deteriorate. Realistically speaking, I'm not going anywhere. I did end on a more positive note, by resolving to get involved and help in the work to improve our American health care system.

This might be a good place to start:

"Acclaimed filmmaker Michael Moore's new documentary sets out to investigate the American healthcare system. Michael wants YouTube members to share your Healthcare Horror Stories and tell us about an experience you had with your healthcare insurance company. This is the group where you can post your videos to share with Michael, who will be screening them and sharing them with Congress."

Visit the YouTube SiCKO group at http://www.youtube.com/group/SiCKOthemovie to learn more and upload your story!

Check the Facts

Ending on a lighter note - "The Health Insurance Song" by funnyjones

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My Opinion Again: Stop the Spying - Reject Telecom Immunity - Watch Ordinary Americans Weighing In

Some lawmakers are still threatening to pass a bill giving immunity to lawbreaking phone companies...

When Mark Klein, then an AT&T technician in San Francisco, stumbled on a secret room apparently reserved for the National Security Agency inside an AT&T switching center, he hardly expected to be caught up in a national debate over the proper balance between American civil liberties and national security.

But four years later, Mr. Klein's discovery has led to a spate of class-action lawsuits against the nation's largest telephone companies. The threat posed to the telecommunications industry by those suits has prompted the Bush administration to push Congress to grant companies legal immunity for their secret cooperation in the N.S.A.'s program of eavesdropping without warrants. With many Democrats in Congress seemingly willing to grant the legal protection, Mr. Klein has come to Washington to fight back.

New York Times, 11/7/07

The Case Against Retroactive Amnesty for Telecoms


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