Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What is a Biomat?

I've become aware of a new product - or one that is new to me - called the Biomat.

Some reiki/therapeutic massage providers in my area also offer Biomat sessions.  These session run around $20 for 30 minutes and $40 for an hour in my area.

I hadn't heard of the biomat before seeing these sessions advertised but here is what I've found out.

What is it? The Biomat is an electric pad that one is supposed to lay on.  There are also pillows.

What does it do? The company's website explains that it "promotes cellular communication leading to DNA repair and total body wellness". It's supposed to relieve stress,  reduce inflammation, minimize migraines, alleviate allergies, improve memory skills, and strengthen your colon, kidneys and liver in addition to other claims.

How does it work? Apparently there are 3 different elements at work with this pad: Negative ions, amethyst crystals and infrared heat.  Let's discuss each of them individually.

Negative ions: This seems to be quite a popular healing agent.  There are bracelets, filters and even hair dryers that are supposed to produce them to benefit us. They are claimed to help with asthma, depression and stress relief. The problem is that there don't seem to be a lot of studies that prove any health benefits and this is odd as the first studies came out in the 1930s.  The fact that all these "new age" products seem to point to the same studies makes me wonder if there really is a benefit. I'm going to reserve judgement, however, as I can't find enough evidence to determine anything.

Amethyst crystals: The claim here seems to be that amethyst increases the production of hormones and strengthens the "healing organs".  It doesn't say how, though, and I have my doubts.  Crystals are pretty and make lovely jewelry but there is no evidence that they provide any healing power nor do they channel magical energy or any such nonsense.  In short, they are wasted by encasing them in these pads because we can't see them to enjoy them.

Far Infrared heat:  Aha!  Now here is something that we know can help relax muscles, sooth and help us to relax!  I have a heated mattress pad on my bed that we use in the winter to keep warm.  It does that but it also helps me to relax so I am familiar with the soothing properties of heat. Physical therapists will often suggest the use of heating pads to help with soreness.  Note:  Even though "far infrared" sounds out of the ordinary, it is simply a fancy word for heat.

What do they cost?  I suggest you sit down as these are pricey "gadgets"! A massage-table size is $1,450 + $60 shipping and handling. A king-size pad runs $3,840 + $160 s&h.  For comparison, a king size heated mattress pad costs $126 at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Conclusion:  It seems like these are high-priced heating pads that provide no additional benefits except to empty your pockets quickly. There is no credible evidence that there are effective healing properties associated with amethyst or negative ions. I suggest you purchase a regular heating pad or even a heating mattress pad to provide the same benefits at a more reasonable cost.

Image found here

Information for this post was found at the following pages:
The Varsitarian
The Skeptics Dictionary
Wonky Water Weirdness and Quackery

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