Blog Post

Why You Should Be Wary of SCENAR Devices

BJ writes: “I was wondering if the Scenar machine is considered a ‘New Age’ medical device. It was recommend to my husband for his chronic health problems. Of course, we feel very uneasy and would never want to jeopardize the use of a medical device that could harm our personal journey with our Lord. Could you shed some light on this question?”

The SCENAR machine is not New Age, but that’s about the best thing that can be said about it. For the most part, it’s bogus science that at least one state Attorney General has reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for further handling.

SCENAR is an acronym for self-controlled energo-neuro adaptive regulator. Supposedly, it is a “reflex biofeedback device” that can be used to alleviate acute and chronic pain. The device looks like a TV remote control which a therapist applies to the skin at the site of the pain. The device is brushed across the skin during a treatment and allegedly stimulates the nerves with a constantly varying signal that “causes it to instruct the brain to generate neuropeptides, the key biochemical needed by your body to heal itself,” this site explains.

It goes on to say that a change is expected to happen during the first treatment that can be for the worse in some people.

“In some cases you will feel worse after the treatment. Please do not be alarmed – it is good sign! It indicates that your body is responding quickly and a change is occurring. This is what we are looking for after your first consultation.”

How encouraging! For just $99, you can walk away feeling worse than when you got there!  But the price does go down to just $80 for subsequent treatments and you can get them even cheaper if you buy five session for $300 or up to ten for $600. If that doesn’t fit your budget, you can always buy an at-home version and do-it-yourself for as little as $890.

If you’re wondering who dreamed up this device, it is said to have come from a group of Russian scientists, doctors, engineers and physicians who were trying to find an energy efficient portable “regulator of body functions” that could accompany cosmonauts into space. In recent years, it was modified and became more widely available with the fall of the Soviet Union.

The problem is that the device doesn’t work and is considered to be one of many unproven and dangerous medical devices that are currently being sold and used in the U.S. market.

This letter to the FDA, written by former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, lists the SCENAR machine along with a long list of other bogus devices such as the MORA, Bodyscan, Rife, Biomeridian and VEGA machines.

“This list is not exhaustive, and there are even more devices on the market,” McKenna states in his letter. “The sale and use of untested medical devices is a national problem. States can chip away at it through actions under their consumer protection and medical licensing statutes, but the FDA is the most effective regulator in this area. We encourage you to ban the manufacture, distribution and use of these dangerous devices, to step up enforcement against those who are taking consumers' money and risking their health, and to generalize your approach to include more than just one device. We pledge to work with you in this endeavor and are happy to share our thoughts, research and the testimony of the experts we have consulted.”

However, this letter was written in 2007 and there has been more research done on SCENAR devices since that time. This research has led to the approval of two devices that can be used as adjunctive treatment in the management of post-surgical and post-traumatic pain.

Does this mean that SCENAR devices are now okay to use? Well, not so fast. According to Dr. Edzard Ernst, MD, Ph.D., whose long list of qualifications includes serving as the Chair in Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter and founding two medical journals, the "science" behind the SCENAR is still seriously lacking.  In fact, in this article, published in March of 2019, he was only to find three relevant studies about the efficacy of SCENAR devices.

"While the quantity of the ‘studies’ is lamentable, their quality seems quite simply unacceptable," he determined.

Although the FDA  has approved two devices, there is a wide variety of scam devices on the market today.  For this reason, the use of any SCENAR device should only be considered after consultation with a medical doctor.

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