JW writes: “I have a Migun Jade Thermal Massage Bed. The heat that is generated from the helium heated bulbs will penetrate deep into the muscular levels of the body and relieves tension, etc. I am wondering if this is another form of New Age. I definitely have seen benefits from this massage.”
This bed does indeed base its healing abilities on qi, an alleged energy force which is referred to in the Pontifical document “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life” as the “New Age god.”
For those who have never heard about this bed, it is a type of mattress that uses jade massage rollers and heat generated by light bulbs inside the rollers (as described in the FDA filing) to effect massage.
Not surprisingly, the manufacturer has a lot more to say about how the product works:
“According to Chinese history, jade is known as a mysterious stone that contains healing power inside. Jade contains calcium, magnesium, and iron, which are 3 essential components of our body. Jade effects alpha rays of brain, enhancing concentration, and decision making ability. Jade is a substance that makes people pleasant, and joyful. It also brings comfort to those who wear jade.” (http://www.migunworld.com/products.php)
There is absolutely no scientific support for any of these claims.
It goes on to say: “Jade is known to be worn by royal families in Chinese history for its miraculous effect on human body. It slows the process of cell-aging, and has excellent ability to strengthen the body’s natural defenses and healing power. Since Migun uses far-infrared rays, it is also extremely important to use Jade as it is the best known natural transmitter of far infrared rays.”
There are hundreds of products that claim to produce far infrared rays on the market these days – and all of them are scams. All bodies at temperatures above absolute zero emit far-infrared rays which is just another way of saying “heat.” Any claims beyond this are considered to be pseudoscientific.
“Jade is also known to help circulate Qi inside our bodies. Qi in oriental medicine, is the power, the essence of everything. When the level of Qi drops, our bodies’ resistance to disease drops as well.”
The “qi” referred to in this statement does not exist (See What You Should Know About Energy Medicine).
Migun beds and mats rely on what they refer to as the “Five Migun Principles”: chiropractic, far infrared, acupuncture, acupressure, and massage.
The site contains not a single reference to any scientific evidence or clinical testing in support of the claims made in these statements. The only evidence they offer is in the form of testimonials, which mean nothing, especially if you understand the power of placebo.
The only thing I did find was this disclaimer:
“For documents available from this server, Migun USA Corp. does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed.”
Not a good sign, especially not for a product which can sell for more than $3,000. Consumers deserve a little more factual information before being asked to shell out this kind of money.
Migun beds do have a 510(k) approval from the FDA, but that’s not saying much. A 510(k) simply means that a device is substantially similar to some other product which means a manufacturer doesn’t have to apply for approval for a completely new device. It also means that there is nothing unique about Migun products. Apparently, there are other devices out there that are similar enough to satisfy the FDA.
It’s also important to note that the FDA has only approved it as a massage device to be used for relaxation, to relieve stiffness and achy muscles. However, here is what the device manufacturer lists as the “possible benefits” from its Mignun mat:
– Help remove cholesterol, toxins, and lipids; boost the immune system (FIR)
– Expand arteries and veins; revitalize circulation (FIR)
– Help increase metabolism and will eventually propagate cell regeneration (FIR/Negative Ions)
– Successful treatment for arthritis, rheumatism and muscle spasms (FIR)
– Cells become very active; nutrition is more efficiently absorbed in cells; and the waste is effectively discharged (Negative Ions)
– Allow you to achieve quality deep sleep cycles (Negative Ions)
Perhaps this is why Quackwatch lists the Migun Thermal Massage Bed on its Questionable Device Index, which lists devices that are either bogus or being used to treat conditions other than the usage for which they received FDA approval.
The Migun bed definitely relies on principles that are not compatible with Christianity (qi, healing power of jade, etc.). Whatever benefits one experiences from it are purely from the heat and massage mechanism because none of the other claims are valid.
Send your New Age question to email@example.com