Note: this article was written over the last few weeks, but today Radio New Zealand featured a story by Susan Strongman that gave a great deal of publicity to this. https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/in-depth/422241/vitamin-dosing-via-bluetooth-physicist-warns-don-t-waste-your-money-on-healy
At the risk of it appearing as if there’s only one person who concerns NZ Skeptics, we’ve yet another item of concern from that erstwhile bank manager, turned psychic medium and now health guru. Yes, Jeanette Wilson is at it again.
Wilson seems to be really turning up the heat on her online workshops. Back in May of this year some of our skeptical operatives attended an online session run in a Zoom meeting where Wilson made some astounding health claims, including ones about COVID-19. The story was picked up by Toby Manhire of The Spinoff and showcased a bunch of the outlandish claims being made.
On the heels of that online workshop we became aware of another one. This time, promoting an electronic device by the name of Healy. This does now seem to be her new focus.
I attended the video conference – this time a Facebook Live video session to take a look at what was being promoted.
The session was attended by around 30 people, though there were people coming and going all the time. Wilson’s new approach seems to be to set up a new private Facebook group which you must then apply to join. I applied in my own name and was allowed in. (This surprised me as Wilson definitely has mentioned me by name before so would have been aware of me, although, she does seem to have some assistants so perhaps it wasn’t Wilson personally that allowed me to join.)
Unlike a Zoom conference call, there is only limited opportunity for interaction with the hosts – just by comments in the feed. Most of the participants’ comments were supportive of the device, with some having already purchased it.
I inserted some skeptical comments which lasted for some time, but alas (and perhaps predictably) I was blocked, and no longer able to comment. I’ve since been denied access to the group.
The session was run in Wilson’s video studio that we saw in the previous Zoom session. It’s a conference table with TV monitors behind it. This session was hosted by Wilson and 3 other people. The setup is relatively sophisticated – each person has their own inconspicuous mic attached to their head, and there are multiple cameras and sound mixing, so somebody technical is operating things behind the cameras. (It turns out, through some further reveals from Wilson, that it’s her partner and business partner Andrew Carter.)
The hosts of the video were Wilson plus a guy from South Africa, who claims to be a healer and Reiki Master. There was also a husband and wife team who were, it seemed, intent on pushing the business side of things.
The Healy device
The device, according to Wilson, is a wearable bio-resonance device that measures your body’s frequency and then sends you the frequencies you need for cell health, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.
The Healy device is developed and marked by a company based in Germany. The basis of the product is a small electronic device that is worn on the person, and some electrodes which connect to it, allowing it to put electric current through the body. The electrodes are typically connected to each ear. It is claimed to be an “energy device”, with 144,000 frequencies programmed into it. The device connects to a smart phone app using Bluetooth. The app then gives the user the ability to monitor various aspects of their wellbeing, and then select the appropriate “frequency programme” that will cure what ails them.
There are various versions of the device with different features and prices. I’m skeptical, though, that the device actually has different versions – it’s likely that it’s the same device with various options enabled in the app depending on how much you pay.
This is an expensive device – the presentation showed the entry-level device and accompanying app – at 416 Euros, which converts to about 720 NZD. I’ve found that the device can be ordered online, and the prices are quoted in Singapore dollars (which are currently about $1.10 NZD). The various versions are:
|Version||Cost – SGD||NZD|
|Healy Holistic Health||$1,435||$1,564|
|Healy Holistic Health Plus||$2,150||$2,343|
Those prices are for the device alone. It is recommended that you also subscribe to the app, at a cost of $50 NZD/month. There is also a nutrition option (called the DNA – digital nutrition analysis) at $160 NZD a month. I’d say these are staggering prices, but can you put a price on your health and wellbeing?
Many claims were made for the device, but any talk of curing brought out the standard “nudge-nudge, wink-wink” line of “we can’t legally say it cures anything”, but the impression that one would take away from their presentation was that it was great for a whole bunch of ailments.
They also made the claim that it was FDA approved (as in the Food and Drug Administration in the USA), also claiming that you don’t get FDA approval without a device working. This is patently false (no pun intended). In reality, the device has FDA clearance, which is completely different from approval. All that is required for FDA clearance is to show that the device is similar to another device that has been previously approved or cleared by the FDA. This does not mean that the device actually works. They can piggy-back off a more legitimate product.
There’s also a watch form of the device, which they claim is much better than an Apple Watch. It’s claimed that it can give you an ECG graph that you could take along to your doctor for diagnosis that “contains only 4% less data than a doctor’s ECG would have”. Quite astounding really!
The nutrition aspect of the device was sold as giving advice on what you should be eating for optimum health. Claims of weight loss were part of the features that the device offered.
Rounding out the benefits, there’s also a Traditional Chinese Medicine Zodiac body organ calendar. This was quite fascinating. Apparently there are only twelve organs in the body and, depending on the time of day, you’re meant to concentrate on that particular organ. So, maybe between 11pm and 1pm you should be concentrating on helping out your kidneys. Another time during the day was for the lungs, etc.
Typical scientific-sounding claims were made about how the device interacted with the body. It’s claimed that the electrodes normalise the voltages in the your body’s cells. They claim that young, healthy cells have a potential of negative 70mV across them, and as they age that decreases down to zero. By using the device these voltages can be restored to health levels.
The device is the invention of a Marcus Schmieke. To quote from his website (https://timewaver.com/en/marcus-schmieke):
“In the course of his studies of physics and philosophy in Heidelberg and Hanover, he developed the vision of exploring the interaction between matter and consciousness…
Among other things, he has also studied Vedic philosophy and architecture during his stays in various Indian monasteries.”
There are typical claims of quantum “woo”:
“…the basis of matter is not only energy but information.”
“Every body, every person has an “Information field” and each quantum system has a specific resonance frequency and if you find the right frequencies, you can change the energetic and material state.”
Also involved in the development is an alternative medicine practitioner from Portugal by the name of Nuno Nina. He has a clinic that provides alternative therapies in the form of electrical current, and it is his “research” that has developed the 144,000 “gold” frequency programmes that are built into the Healy device.
The Healy device is a commoditisation of a former product – the TimeWaver. The TimeWaver operated on similar principles but was designed as a system for use by specialised alternative medical practitioners.
The business aspects of Healy
From what I could assess in the video conference there are several business aspects to this.
Firstly, the device being targeted at scientifically and medically illiterate people that have the money to plonk down on a product that makes grand claims for improved health and well-being. Claims for being able to provide relief for chronic pain are being made and it seems likely that there are people desperate enough to purchase the device on the basis of hyped up claims. Placebo effects and expectation will likely play a part in the success of the device.
Healy is also set up as a Multi-level Marketing company. The idea is that you purchase the device and then sell the concept and business to your friends and associates, who then sell the device and concept to their friends and associates. Along the way, you earn commission from your downline sales.
Thirdly, Wilson is promoting the device to alternative medical practitioners would buy the device then use it to diagnose and heal clients remotely – basically a gimmick to sell their time to gullible rubes.
From the perspective of an MLM there are review websites. Even these sites have negative recommendations of the Healy MLM business, citing the price of the device being a barrier to sales. But some entrepreneurs are thinking that this business will be the next big thing. I even found a printing company that has dedicated themselves (or at least a website) to providing merchandise for Healy dealers. Healyprints.com has a range of Healy-related products including business cards, t-shirts, padded sports bras, and flip-flops!
The Healy company predictably has disclaimers on their website:
“While scientific research underlies Healy technology, its connection to health and wellness has not been extensively explored or demonstrated. The Healy is not intended to cure, treat, mitigate, diagnose or prevent disease, but rather to support energetic balance and enhance recovery, vitality and wellbeing.”
Of concern with any MLM company are the representatives that go out and often make claims about the products that go well beyond the features of the product. Unfortunately, with so many distributors, it’s all but impossible to counter these claims. Of course, the Healy company has a disclaimer to cover this too:
“Healy World, with the advice of its advisory board, allows its affiliates to only make claims that are contained in company materials meant for public distribution. Please contact the company concerning any claims about which you have questions.”
Wilson released a video that demonstrates how to use the device, and the app that accompanies it. It is particularly laughable.
Wilson tries to present an explanation of how the device works. She shows a diagram she clearly has no understanding of. Confusing microvolts with millivolts, then amperes with milliamperes. She clearly has no understanding of this, but then her likely audience doesn’t either and will be impressed by the science-y sounding words and explanations.
In the app you can enter the details of the client you are working with – such as their name, photo and date of birth. This is uploaded into the Healy Cloud. Incidentally, in the online workshop a big deal was made of the fact that Healy had their own “cloud” and that it wasn’t Google or Microsoft or Amazon. So, client details are likely held on a less secure server than big commercial offerings would provide for!
In the video she demonstrates the app on her partner – waving her right index finger over the screen so that the app can then somehow sense his needs and deficiencies. It is unclear how the Healy device is involved in this. Is the device somehow remotely sensing the client? Her partner was in the same room, operating the cameras and other technical equipment, but the implication is that this can be done remotely over the internet – the client themselves not having to possess a Healy device.
Once the diagnosis is complete, the app can then remotely send the frequencies to the client – it’s not clear how this actually happens, but the app shows some pretty, moving graphs which supposedly show the transmission taking place. Each “diagnosis” in the app also comes with some text that the user is meant to read out which somehow makes the therapy effective:
“With the power of my divine consciousness I now transfer all selected qualities and information into the field of the client. May they work for the highest well-being of the whole until an optimal balance for the client has been achieved (thank you!)”
So, with some special incantations this all works, magically!
As a software developer myself I’m astounded at what must have been going through the minds of the developer or developers who wrote the app. They really must have been aware of the scammy, pseudo-scientific nature of this. There really is no plausible mechanism that this can possibly work. From what I can see in the app, it will be making use of random number generators rather than actually communicating with the Healy device and reading the “quantum sensor”.
From a business perspective the device seems to be being used as a “dongle” – a device that must be present to allow the app to work. At least in the mode of remote treatment, it has no possible mechanism by which it could work.
There’s little money to be made these days in sales of apps unless you have millions of downloads, but charging for a physical device that makes an app work is probably a good way to make money.
In this new world we live in in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic it appears that alternative medical practitioners are moving to remote working from home that the Healy device will give them new opportunities to exploit this.
What is being promoted though is an expensive product, both in its initial outlay, and ongoing costs, that has little plausibility. Its marketing appears to be a cynical attempt to prey on the ignorance and fears of consumers. My assessment of Wilson is that she’s a bit of a dimbulb and gullible participant in this, but quite happy to take her followers along for the ride.