Blog Post

The Life Vessel

We recently received a question from someone with a seriously ill relative who has begun to use the Life Vessel as part of his treatment. She's worried that this might be some kind of New Age scam. After some research, we can confirm that this device is not backed by sound science.

Photo by Jim Reardon, Reardon Photography.

The Life Vessel has been described by some as a "disco coffin" because it looks like a cross between a tanning bed and a coffin that sports light bulbs painted in various colors.

According to the Life Vessel website, it was invented by Barry McNew in 1998. He openly admits he's not a physician and his only claim to some kind of medical background is talking with a lot of  doctors since inventing the machine 12 years ago. He claims he had to invent a whole new language in order to convince the doctors that his ideas have merit.

Here is his explanation of what the Life Vessel is: "THE LIFE VESSEL is a patented non-invasive technology and technique by which Frequency, Vibration, Sound and Light Waves are applied to the human body in a resonate frequency, resulting in the body being able to perform its innate Natural Ability to Heal Itself."

It claims to use "energy in the form of light energy and sound energy in order to create harmony, balance, peace and well-being within the body.”

After reading this description, I found it much easier to understand why none of those doctors signed on to the project. There is not a shred of scientific evidence that any of these claims are true. The only "evidence" he offers is purely anecdotal.

But the more you delve into his website, the more expansive his claims become.

For instance, he states that "clients within the balanced environment [of the Life Vessel] frequently report feelings of destressing, wellness, inspiration and creativity. Sometimes they also report enhanced perceptions. It is frequently observed that toxins, such as heavy metals and anesethetics, begin to spontaneously eject from the individual’s body exposed to the Life Vessel environment as observed by concurrent vapor odor and subsequent urinalysis. A common aftereffect of the exposure of the individual of the balanced environment of music and sound of the Life Vessel appears to be restoration of an innate ability of the individual to heal the self, regardless of the nature of the affliction."

Purveyors of the Life Vessel claim it can be used to treat conditions such as high cholesterol, dementia, Parkinson's disease, acne, poor eyesight, sleep apnea, even heavy metal poisoning, migraines and autism - and that's in addition to cancer and diabetes.

They like to say the Life Vessel is "FDA cleared" - but what they don't say is that it is only cleared for use as an infrared light to be used as a muscle relaxant.

The rather large red disclaimer about the "statements made or services provided through this website or by the Company are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease" is there because the FDA will shut them down if they're caught advertising this contraption as a cure for anything.

In this article appearing on The James Randi Educational Foundation website, Karen Stollznow reports that there are 16 machines in the country, which allegedly cost $100,000 a piece. A single 45-60 minute session with the Life Vessel is charged at $125, while the recommended series of four sessions over three days costs $500.

In spite of the fact that the FDA approved it for its infrared light, Stollznow reports that the company has actually removed the heating lamp and replaced it with painted light bulbs, "so the device doesn’t even do what it’s certified to do," she writes. "Without the heating lamp it is simply a box with colored lights that plays music."

Anyone interested in using this device should be aware that it does not have scientific backing. Whether it will in the future remains to be seen.