New Medicine Based on an 88-Year Old [sic] Theory by Albert Einstein Can Help Almost Everyone Who Is Sick or Injured!
Ah yes, the exclamation point, the appeal to an unquestionable scientific authority, the overclaim of helping everyone, combined with a few stock photos and an editorial-mimicking layout. Was quackery afoot?
The ad copy that follows did not disappoint. It seems that there's an actual doctor, named Larry Lytle, who thinks putting a flashlight against your skin will heal you of every injury and illness because "if your cells don't receive enough energy, they will weaken and the body will become sick."
Hooboy. Here are some highlights:
- Guess which type of doctor has been quickest to adopt the flashlight (oops, excuse me, the low-level QLaser System) technology? You guessed it -- sports medicine doctors, the biggest placebo promoters of all.
- The asterisk footnote at the end of the text says "The QLaser System is indicated for providing temporary relief of pain associated with osteoarthritis of the hand.... No other medical treatment claims are made or implied." But the ad clearly makes claims, such as "It Works So Well on So Many Different Problems, It Seems Like It Couldn't Possibly Be True / But it is true!"
- More often, though, the ad uses hedging language, which to my mind is the same as "implied," but I'm not a lawyer. Examples of hedging include "it is quite possibly more effective than drugs or surgery," "might help relieve you of any disease," "might possibly save your life," "for some people," "could truly guide them to a miracle!"
- The ad uses the classic science fiction technique of tossing out pseudo-scientific terminology, such as "increase cell permeability" and "correct faulty DNA" (oh, right, what a howler).
For many people who know about it, it is the "medicine" they use now.Yes, putting a word between quotation marks like this usually implies the thing in quotes isn't real. So thanks for confirming that, copywriters.
The ad doesn't ask for any money, because it's not selling the QLaser System; instead, it's giving away a free booklet that explains the system. I imagine this is a way of placating state attorneys general who might be annoyed with all of the unproven medical claims.
I wonder what the follow-up contact is like for those who request the free booklet, but I'm not curious enough to call and find out. My hypothesis is that the ad is actually a ploy to generate a mailing list of the most gullible people in America, and that's a list I don't want to be on.
My friends at Science-Based Medicine wrote about the QLaser in August 2012. I must have been on vacation that week. Mark Crislip points out that Lytle is a doctor of.... dentistry. As Crislip puts it, "and when I think of universal disease treatments, I think dentist."