I stopped by my local natural food store last night to get a couple loaves of a particularly delicious whole grain bread I like. It also sells questionable products such as homeopathic medicine and all manner of dietary supplements, as well, but it is the closest place to find the bread so I ignore most everything else they sell.
At the check-out, I noticed an advertisement for an upcoming event: Live Nutritional Blood Screening (a.k.a. Live Cell Analysis)
I asked the clerk about it and was told that a doctor analyzes a drop of your blood to tell you if you have any hidden illnesses or vitamin deficiencies. She told me I should look up the doctor online to get more details and so I did.
First off, the "doctor" isn't a medical doctor but she has a Ph.D in Naturopathic medicine. She's also a reflexologist, a reiki master and offers shamanic energy work. In short, she is well-versed in various practices of woo. (She is also an ordained minister who does weddings so she really has a diverse range of services.)
I looked into the blood screening she offers. Here's how it works: The "doctor" takes a drop of your blood and puts it on a slide which is placed under a dark field microscope that is hooked up to a television monitor so the patient can see what the doctor sees. A dark field is a microscope where the slide is lit up from a light source on the side instead of from underneath like the usual microscope. It is rather dark and hard to see the details that one would see under a bright field microscope but this doesn't seem to matter. The practitioner will point out various things he or she sees - abnormally shaped cells, perhaps or anything out of the ordinary.
This particular dark field microscopy is supposed to screen for vitamin or mineral deficiencies, tendencies toward allergic reaction, liver problems, digestive issues or arteriosclerosis. The problem is that the practitioner isn't generally qualified to examine a blood sample. Even if he or she were a trained medical professional, this is not an effective way to diagnose health issues. The writer of this article, a physician, states that there are no credible studies proving this is effective in diagnosing any conditions.
In short, it doesn't work. Still, the practitioner that provides this service in my local area charges $55.00 for this diagnosis and I'm sure she will be happy to recommend various dietary supplements to patients that are conveniently sold in the store where she does her presentation. Sounds a bit shady to me.
Needless to say, I won't be participating in this particular screening. In addition, I think I'm going to be looking into finding another source for my favorite bread. I'm getting even more uncomfortable about spending my money in this particular establishment.
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