Bio-Meridian Scanners

MC asks: “What’s the scoop on these things [biomeridian scanners] and where can I find it?”

The best advice I can give to anyone about bio-meridian scanners is to stay as far away from these fraudulent devices as possible.

According to practitioners, bio-meridian scanners represent a “new” technology that tests 62 points on the hands and feet that correspond to “time-tested” acupuncture meridians. This testing does not involve needles but uses a stylus that sends a small electrical current (not a shock) through each point which is then recorded and analyzed by a computer.

“As you move toward or away from health, the scanner can sense the conditoin of any particular organ or system along the meridians at representative points,” proponents claim. “The result is a highly sensitive measurement and detailed report on what specifically is needed for recovery of the health of each system.” These measurements are then used to determine what kinds of homeopathic, herbal or dietary treatments a person may need.” (

First of all, the technology isn’t new. The first “electrodiagnostic” devices were developed by Reinhold Voll, a West German physician and acupuncturist in the 1950s.

Second of all, acupuncture points are indeed “time tested” and have been found by the most advanced science of our day to be nothing more than placebo. The Oxford-based Cochrane Collaboration which conducts the most rigorous evaluation of scientific studies on the face of the earth has published several systematic reviews of acupuncture that found no beneficial impact from the treatment in dozens of conditions for which people are normally treated with acupuncturethese days. After examining scores of clinical trials they found that most of the perceived benefit from acupuncture is merely a placebo effect, except in the cases of some types of pain and nausea, even though Cochrane did not consider the quality of these tests or the evidence they produced to be fully convincing. (Ernst, Ezard, MD, Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine, W. W. Norton & Co., London, 2008).   

Now, getting back to the bio-meridian scanners, proponents of these devices claim they can measure disturbances in the body’s flow of “electro-magnetic energy” along “acupuncture meridians.”  However, they have been found to be little more than galvanometers that measure electrical resistance of the patient’s skin when touched by a probe.

According to Quackwatch, the devices emit a tiny direct electric current that flows through a wire that the operator touches to acupuncture points on the hand or foot. This completes a low-voltage circuit and the device registers the flow of current, which is then relayed through the wire to a machine (nowadays it’s a computer) that produces a numerical readout on a scale from 0 to 100.

According to Voll’s beliefs, readings from 45 to 55 are normal (“balanced”); readings above 55 indicate inflammation of the organ “associated” with the “meridian” being tested; and readings below 45 suggest “organ stagnation and degeneration.”

But as Quackwatch points out, if the moisture of the skin remains constant—as it usually does—the only thing that influences the size of the number is how hard the probe is pressed against the patient’s skin.

There is no scientific validity to any of this. The machines have never produced any plausible results in a laboratory setting and are considered to be without scientific basis.

Even more important, the use of these machines as a diagnostic tool is considered dangerous and is the reason why the FDA does not permit them to be legally marketed in the U.S. A few companies have gotten around this rule by telling the FDA their machines are being used for biofeedback or to measure skin resistance, which doesn’t entitle them to use it for any of the myriad of conditions operators claim the machines can diagnose.

For this reason, devices such as these should be reported to authorities such as the state attorney general or any relevant licensing board, the FDA, and any insurance company to which an operator may be submitting claims that involve the device.

To read more about these machines, the dangers they pose to the public, and what steps to take if you come across one, please visit

See also Bio-meridian testing  

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