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What I most recently want to believe: Electrodermal testing

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Qest4 Bioenergetic Testing System.

There are many things I want to believe beyond what I see as the limits of science. I want to believe in the power of crystals beyond the ability of a piece of quartz and a coil of copper wire to magically transmute radio to audio waves in a set of headphones. No batteries needed. Fortunately, that capability is not beyond the power of crystals at all and can be scientifically explained—it’s called a crystal radio.

Various other putative characteristics of crystals and minerals, however, give me pause:

1. Sodalite: Helps to clear up both mental and emotional confusion which can prevent concentration.

2. Carnelian: It helps us to focus on the present, and our current needs.

3. Angelite: This crystal helps us to be in touch with angels and animal guides, as well as assisting in distant communication with other humans.

4. Citrine: It helps you to manifest your ideas so that you can act on them.

5. Turquoise: It helps you to clarify ideas and to express them creatively — and to enroll others in helping to make them come true.

6. Clear quartz: Called the mirror of the soul, it helps us to see who we truly are, free of limiting ideas and beliefs.

7. Rose quartz: This is the stone for self-love, meaning appreciation of yourself, regardless of what you consider to be your shortcomings.

8. Amazonite: For courage of personal expression.

9. Danburite: Helps us to witness what happens in our lives from the soul perspective and have a feeling of calmness and serenity even when life seems very difficult.

10. Smoky quartz: Of all the grounding stones, it establishes the most gentle and loving connection with the body.

The list of crystals goes on and on, and frankly I don’t recognize most of them. Crystals seem to occupy a disproportionately large sector of new-age woo. For excellent examples of new-age woo, spend some time at the New-Age Bullshit Generator—fun for all ages. Or simply get a load of this handy-dandy infographic:

quackery infographic

A scroll down my list of past posts shows that I want to believe in all kinds of things: aliens, spiritual ascension, paranormal abilities and phenomena, Bernie Sanders. Most recently, I want to believe in electrodermal testing, which really hasn’t fared well among the medical techniques endorsed by mainstream science.

Listen for a second to what you can learn about your body from this electrodermal test instrument, called the Qest4.

A friend introduced me to the Qest4, which cost more than my first car. A predecessor of Qest4 was the Asyra. The readouts of these devices are very similar; beyond that, for advocates, the readouts are somehow dispositive proof that the devices work. Hey, if they didn’t work, why would they show all those readings? About everything: bones to blood to muscle to nerves to metabolism to every major organ system.

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Readout from Asyra device.

Here’s the thing: The Qest4 (and other similar devices, I presume) conducts this extensive testing through the simple expediency of the subject/patient holding two metal rods in his or her hands. That’s it. You hold the rods, the machine does it’s thing and tells you when it’s done. I’m not sure if there are any bells and whistles, but there could be.

My question is quite simple: Show me one scientific study, one peer-reviewed published paper, that correlates my skin conductance (or whatever else can be measured on the surface of my hand or by my grip) with the level of iron in my blood. Or the presence or absence of Lyme disease. Or any one of the hundreds of physiologic characteristics that these devices purport to detect/diagnose. Just one paper!

Oh, and another thing! The Qest4 treats some of these conditions and/or dysfunctions. It detects them and, presto-remedio, somehow makes them disappear. And for those conditions it cannot treat at the moment, it suggests remedies. Homeopathic remedies.

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Why do I want to believe in something many people wouldn’t waste their time thinking about? Because humans have capabilities beyond what science is currently capable of measuring, and perhaps the designers of these devices intuited information I can’t know, and for which no present tests exist.

And many good people swear by them. And where tons of anecdotal evidence exist, truth and fact and science sometimes follow. Not always. But enough to make me want to believe.

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