Pull the plug, please
Imagine a therapy that could treat you from a million miles away. A therapy that, by dowsing a piece of your excrement on a pendulum and plugging the results into an electronic box, can figure out your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, as well as your risk of getting HIV, diabetes and cancer. Imagine a therapy that could even reduce your risk of developing these diseases by twiddling the knobs on the electronic box. Imagine... radionics.
In a sane world, radionics would stay safely consigned to the imagination. But such is the ability of the human brain to abandon rational thought, it's up and thriving in the UK. Indeed, if you send a small piece of your bodily substance and a completed health questionnaire to a clinic near me, your treatment can start immediately.
A strand of hair is the preferred connecting link or "witness" between patient, practitioner and machine, but a spot of blood, a piece of nose dirt or a chunk of you-know-what would do just as well.
Once it's been analysed and treatment commenced, you can fly to the moon, safe in the knowledge that the flow of energy in your body need never again be unbalanced. Sounds too good to miss, doesn't it?
We're back in placebo territory here the power of belief, suggestion and expectation over the human mind and certainly radionics is a clever way of maximising it. So what's it like to believe?
Imogen plugged her wrists into the Automated Computer Treatment System, which "conducts a two-way flow of bio-energetic information between the patient's body and a database of over 260,000 different energy treatments". She loved it.
"After two minutes, I was aware of a large circular globe of energy from about my navel to about my forehead, which gradually contracted down and focused very strongly on my throat. After a while, the energy slid up to my third eye and circled round in an anti-clockwise direction. I've never experienced anything like that; very impressive."
I couldn't wait for my turn but, alas, I felt nothing. My third eye refused to be energised. Gordon, my therapist, was unsurprised. "It seems to have more of an effect on women."
You can rent an "every therapy" computer programme for pound;3,000 over five years. In return, you get any energy treatment you need acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal remedies, gem therapy just by connecting yourself up to your computer. No pain, no side effects and so unbelievably ridiculous I'm not going to tell you where you can get it.
Phil Hammond is a GP, writer and broadcaster